The Effects of Situation-Outcome-Expectancies and of ARCS-Strategies on Self-Regulated Learning with Web-Lectures

By Astleitner, Hermann; Hufnagl, Manuela | Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

The Effects of Situation-Outcome-Expectancies and of ARCS-Strategies on Self-Regulated Learning with Web-Lectures


Astleitner, Hermann, Hufnagl, Manuela, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a prototype of a motivationally designed web-lecture-based learning environment on motivation and learning. The foundation for motivational design was provided by the Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction (ARCS)-approach. This approach included instructional strategies to enhance attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. Results showed that the ARCS-strategies led to higher perceived success estimates, higher general motivation and better knowledge acquisition, but only for students with motivationally advantageous expectancies (i.e., low situation-outcome-expectancies). Students with motivationally disadvantageous expectations did not profit from ARCS-strategies. Finally, implications for further research and instructional design are discussed.

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Self-regulated learning remains active when the learner expects that activities will change the result of a learning process (e.g., Astleitner & Keller, 1995). Rheinberg, Vollmeyer, and Rollet (2000) postulated a model of selfregulated learning in which three different types of expectancies were considered. Whereas action-outcome-expectancies (AOE, i.e., the probability that one's action will lead to the desired outcome [probability of success]) and outcome-consequence-expectancies (OCE, i.e., the probability that an outcome will have the desired consequences [instrumentality]) are comprehensively investigated in psychological theory and research, situation-outcome-expectancies (SOE) are usually neglected by educational psychologists (e.g., Heckhausen, 1991). SOE represents the "(subjective) assumption that the just given situation will lead to the desired outcome on its own, without the need to take any action" (Rheinberg, Vollmeyer, & Rollet, 2000, p. 510). These expectancies correspond with the occurrence of certain thoughts. The following examples of such thoughts correlate with a high motivation to act: "I have good skills, there is no problem for mastering the tasks presented today" could stand, for example, for high AOE. "If I can finish the task, the computer will certainly register and report all my progress," stands, for example, for high OCE. "If I do not do at least five other tasks, I will not be able to finish my final examination" represents an example for low SOE.

Generally, it is assumed that, when SOE are low, then there is a significant motivation to undertake goal-orientated activities in self-regulated learning. Bolles (1972) postulated that SOE are relevant for learning, because they can more easily be influenced by instructional contexts than other expectancies (e.g., AOE). However, Mellgren and Olson (1980) and also Schwarze and Rubeling (1985) found that SOE, although expected, did not change during learning and had no significant influence on successful learning. One reason for these findings can be that SOE are less changeable during learning and represent a stable personality characteristic in a sense of generalized and personalized patterns of expectancies. Based on this assumption, SOE should be considered as aptitude- or trait-variable in corresponding research activities. A second reason for these findings might be that SOE relate to learning in a complex way. Duval, Duval, and Mulilis (1992) found that outcome expectancies and their potential to increase task efforts are dependent on levels of self-focus, of self-standard-discrepancy, and of the rate of progress toward discrepancy reduction. Gendolla (1997) found that outcome valence and importance had effects on expectancy formation, on expectancy-disconfirmation, and on emotions related to learning in achievement situations. These findings indicate that SOE can be made useful for learning, especially when instructional interventions trigger different cognitive processes relevant for expectancy formation and evaluation of learning outcomes and processes intensively.

The Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction (ARCS)-approach from Keller (1983, 1997, 1999) represents an instructional model, which can influence such processes in a comprehensive and effective way. …

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