The Social Cognitive Theory on Education

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The article on Social Cognitive Theory on Education finding was review from the literature, which had six motivational that constructed a study in a traditional environment to online education and identified methods of ensuring students to succeed in online courses. The six motivational are self-efficacy, locus control, attributions, goal orientation, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation and self-regulation. These six motivational were investigated in a traditional face to face classroom, which had a wide variety of education disciplines. There were very few studies, but had explored the point of the construct in the online environment.

The reason for this article was to discuss the area of the online education academic motivation and the suggestion methods the ensure students can be successful in the online environment and the finding was based upon the literature review. (Miltiadou & Savenye)

The six motivational constructs were divide into three general families that was according to the type of cognitive structures they were influenced.

Online education is known as of the most dynamic forms of learning that exist today and is a subcategory for distance learning. It has been defined of a formal delivery of an instructed and in time was a geographic location that separated students and instructors according to (Holmberg, 1989; Melsaac & Gunawardena, 1996; Verduin & Clark, 1991). Online education overcame time and had placed constraints which restrict access to the instruction of a traditional educational setting and the cost is very low and gave the availability of computers technologies which increased the pressure that related to employment, financial and family responsibilities.

Online education offers alternative routes and it provides life long opportunity to student who traditional setting doesn't work. Online education is offered around the world, whether at an elementary, secondary or higher level, it offers a large range of online courses.


According to the literature review there are four types of interaction online distance education course. Morris (1989) identified three which are learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner interaction and the fourth type were by Hillman, Willis, and Gunawardena (1994), on that was the learner-interface interaction.

Learner-context interaction was described of an intellectual interaction that was between the learner and the topic which was the study of (Moore, 1989) and according to Moore, the learner content interaction was one of the important concept of the online environment, due to the change between the learner's behavior that was toward on their educational goal.

Learner-instructor interaction was between the instructor and the learners, which the instructor or the team of the subject expert who prepared the course materials. The instructor are responsible to stimulate and continue to maintain the learners interest in the topic that motivates the student to learn, their progress and provide them the support and encourage them. (Moore, 1989).

Learner-learner interactions are done among the students on the online environment and it is done with or without the real time presence of the instructor. This type of learner-learner interaction represent the communication between one student with another student or with groups of students, whether it is trough discuss question, chat, or electronic email or messages on the posting board.

The final type of interaction was the learner interface interaction which was identified "as the process of using tools to accomplish the learner task or assignments" (Hillman et al., p. 34). The learner must use these tools to communicate with the instructor, peers and the course content. Students that don't use these tools won't be able to be successful and the student would be force to drop out of the online courses.

Researchers whom investigated interaction, distance education environment considered that it is an important factor that can influence success or failure of the course (Kearsley, 1995; Keegan, 1988, Moore, 1989, Ross, 1996; Tsui & Ki, 1996; Vrasidas & McIsaac, 1999).

According to Kearsley (1995) a higher level of interaction would positively influence the effectiveness any distance learning course. Keegan (1988) had also viewed that interaction was the key to effective learning and the information is exchangeable. Moore (1989) considered that interaction is the key of being a very important of the design of distance education. Ross (1996) said that students who do not have the necessary skills to interact with their peers and the instructor using computers are more aware of technology than of the content of communication. Tsui and Ki (1996) noticed that students interact more frequently over the course of the semester, when they become more comfortable using the technology. Vrasidas and McIsaac (1999) noticed the structure, class size, feedback, and students before the experience with CMC are the four major factors that influence students to interact, they consider that interaction plays a important role to ensure the students success in an online course. Research would provide practical suggestion for increasing interaction in order to help students to persist in an online course.

Motivation is an important part of the process of learning in any education environment (Maehr, 1984). According to Maehr, (1984) these questions are usually asked of students, why students engage in, why do they pursue and accomplish certain goals or tasks or why they avoid others, this was the subject of scholarly inquiry since the writing of 5th, century BC Greek philosopher such as Plato and Aristotle. (Miltiadou, Mario & Savenye C. Wilhelmina, 1996)

According to Bandura (1977) "if people action were determined solely by external rewards and punishment, he or she would behave like weathervanes and constantly shifting in a different directions conform to the momentary influences impinging up them. They would act corruptly with unprincipled individuals and honorable with righteous ones, and liberally with libertarians and dogmatically with authoritarians" (Olson & Hergenhanh 2007, p. 338).

Bandura believes the human behaviors are largely from a self-regulated behavior and among what human's learn are from direct or vicarious experience. Once people learn their performance standards they become the basis of self-evaluation and if the performance meets or exceeds their standards the evaluation would be positive and if they don't and fall short their evaluation would become negative.

Students with direct experience and use reinforcement with a high value of behaviors would bring them praise from the relevant individuals in their life, such as their parents. A student who has personal standards can develop vicariously by observing others behaviors that has been reinforced.


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