A Study on Epistemological Beliefs of Community College Students and Their Self-Efficacy Beliefs regarding Educational Use of the Internet

By Akturk, Ahmet Oguz | Education, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

A Study on Epistemological Beliefs of Community College Students and Their Self-Efficacy Beliefs regarding Educational Use of the Internet


Akturk, Ahmet Oguz, Education


Introduction

When we consider the effects of technology on education in today's conditions, where technology is rapidly developing, those that come to mind first are computer and Internet technologies. It is inevitable that computer and Internet technologies, which are so widely used in all aspects of our daily lives, will influence education (Sahin, Erdogan, & Akturk, 2007). The reason why computer and Internet technologies affect education to such an extent is that far more comprehensive benefits are expected of these technologies regarding "learning and teaching" (Karhan, 2007). The Internet, in particular, offers a wide variety of opportunities to access huge amounts of information rapidly and share this information with other people effectively (Braten, Stromso, & Samuelstuen, 2005). The benefits provided by the Internet have begun to appeal to the educators in recent years and are being adopted by more and more decision-makers who attach importance to global competition and information economy (Braten & Stramso, 2006; Dillon & Gabbard, 1998; Leu, 2000). With the rising popularity of the Internet as a means of education, students are required to use hypermedia materials more frequently to access information and learn important concepts (Hartley & Bendixen, 2003). It is believed that the opportunity to access thousands of sources about school subjects via the Internet allows this multimedia tool to offer a flexible and interactive structure and bring along some educational benefits (Stromso & Braten, 2010). The fact that the Internet offers unique opportunities to expand the diversity of educational activities such as distant, cooperative and research-based learning is among the most prominent of these advantages (Tsai & Chuang, 2005). However, Internet technologies also bring along some challenges for students. For example, the fact that Internet-based sources require critical assessment may lead to difficulties in comprehension. Anyone can publish anything on global information networks and the difficult task of checking the significance and accuracy of information, which is undertaken by editors in traditional media, lies with the students themselves. This task can be especially hard for students because they usually have a profound and blind confidence in the textbooks they use in classes (Braten, Stromso, & Samuelstuen, 2005; Leu, 2000; Paxton, 1999; Spires & Estes, 2002). On the other hand, students' perceived self-efficacies appear as an important variable for a successful learning via hypermedia or Internet technologies (Braten, Stromso, & Samuelstuen, 2005) and students' perception of themselves as efficient in using the Internet for educational purposes is important in terms of the widespread use of these technologies for educational purposes (Sahin, 2009). Therefore, the perception of self-efficacy is an important feature of education that needs to be emphasized (Askar & Umay, 2001).

According to Bandura (1997), self-efficacy is individuals' confidence in themselves to organize activities to perform a specific task and fulfil it successfully. Self-efficacy is individuals' judgments about themselves regarding their ability to execute a particular task (Zimmerman, 1995). According to Askar and Umay, "individuals who have a high level of self-efficacy concerning a situation exert great efforts to achieve a task and do not easily give up when they encounter difficulties; instead, they are persistent and patient" (Askar & Umay, 2001, p. 7). In general, studies dealing with the role of self-efficacy in computerized environments indicate that individuals with high self-efficacy exhibit positive attitudes regarding computer technology and its use (Akkoyunlu & Kurbanoglu, 2003; Askar & Umay, 2001; Bates & Khasawneh, 2007; Braten, Stromso, & Samuelstuen, 2005). For example, Barbeite and Weiss (2004) argue that computer-self-efficacy, which is described as individuals' confidence in their ability to use computers (Compeau & Higgins, 1995), is positively correlated with both the amount of computer and Internet use and the level of ease in using computers and the Internet. …

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