Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Internet Self-Efficacy and Preferences toward Constructivist Internet-Based Learning Environments: A Study of Pre-School Teachers in Taiwan

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Internet Self-Efficacy and Preferences toward Constructivist Internet-Based Learning Environments: A Study of Pre-School Teachers in Taiwan

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to explore the relationship between Internet self- efficacy and preferences toward constructivist Internet-based learning environments. The sample included 365 college students in Taiwan who all majored in early childhood care and pre-school education. Some of them were preservice pre-school teachers (n=185), and the rest of them were inservice pre-school teachers who pursued a degree for childhood care (n=180). Through analyzing student questionnaire responses, the findings revealed that general Internet self-efficacy might foster the preferences of constructivist Internet-based learning environments. In other words, when widely implementing constructivist Internet-based learning environments, a prerequisite may be the condition that the learners should have adequate general Internet self- efficacy. By using structural equation model (SEM), this study further investigated the causal relations among the variables considered in this study. The SEM analysis showed that students with higher general Internet self-efficacy clearly showed more preferences toward Internet learning environments where they can use with ease, explore real-life problems, display multiple sources of information, conduct open-ended inquiry learning activities, and elaborate the nature of knowledge. However, students with higher communicative Internet self-efficacy tended to display relatively less preferences for inquiry learning on the Internet.

Keywords

Internet self-efficacy; preferences toward constructivist Internet-based learning environments; pre-school teachers

Introduction

The concept of "self-efficacy" refers to an individual learner's beliefs, expectations and perceived confidence in his/her capability to perform a task (Bandura, 1993, 1996). These beliefs pertain to optimistic attitudes about being able to cope with a variety of challenging situations or tasks (Schwarzer, Mueller, & Greenglass, 1999). Self-efficacy affects students' choices of processing learning activities, how much effort they will devote, and how long they will sustain effort in dealing with difficult situations (Bong & Clark, 1999; Klassen, 2002). Research has revealed that students' self-efficacy toward computers is related to their usages and performance in computer-assisted learning environments (Hill, Smith, & Mann, 1987; Kinzie, Delcourt, & Powers, 1994; Johnson, 2005; Olivier & Shapiro, 1993). Currently, students may have growing opportunities to learn by utilizing the Internet in Web-based instruction; therefore, their self-efficacy regarding the Internet (called Internet self-efficacy in this study), which may have considerable impacts on their views, usages and learning outcomes in Internet-based instruction, should become an important research topic for educators (Hill & Hannafin, 1997; Joo, Bong & Choi, 2000; Tsai & Tsai, 2003; Yi & Hwang, 2003). For example, the study by Joo, Bong and Choi (2000) has revealed that students' Internet self-efficacy was related to their search outcomes on the web. Tsai and Tsai (2003) have concluded that Internet self-efficacy can foster better information searching strategies and learning outcomes in Internet-based environments. Hill and Hannafin (1997) have shown a similar finding that self- efficacy influences the strategies utilized in web-based learning.

Moreover, for successfully implementing Internet-based learning environments, educators, first, should study more about students' or teachers' preferences toward these environments (Lee & Tsai, 2005; Tsai, 2005). Researchers have pointed out that an appropriate use of Internet-based instruction concurs with the constructivist pedagogy (e.g., Passerini & Granger, 2000; Relan, & Gillani, 1997). Constructivists have asserted that learning is actively constructed by individual learner and the construction process is highly influenced by the learner's prior knowledge, student negotiation and the cognitive apprenticeships provided by instructors or advanced peers (Brooks & Brooks, 1993; Fosnot, 1996; Tsai, 2001a). …

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