OSU study links confidence to success in online learning

Lower self-efficacy results in lower scores, the study says.

"Computers" by Valley Library (Oregon State University), licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Fredrik Finney-Jordet/The Broadside

With the pandemic moving the vast majority of classes across the state and at COCC online, students who prefer to learn in-person are getting accustomed to a style of learning they may not be as confident in.

In a recent study from Oregon State University found, those students may have a more challenging time passing classes. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want and It Hurts: Learning During the Pandemic” surveyed 649 students throughout an Intro to Psychology course on their study behavior, the value of psychological science, their development of specific skills, their achievement of learning outcomes and their attitude toward online classes.


A significant correlation was found between students’ ‘self-efficacy’– the belief that they could accomplish the class well –and their grades. In the study it states,

“students who believed they did not perform well in online classes scored lower on final exams, on all measures of perceived learning in the class, and also reported the biggest changes in their learning behaviors during the pandemic.”

According to the study author, Regan Gurung,

“if one believes they can do it…they approach the task differently and are more likely to succeed. If you do not believe you can do it, getting help immediately is key.”

However for those less confident in online classes, it’s not hopeless. Dr. Gurung says that colleges can improve their online learning models with explicit instructions, more organized design and information on good study habits.

“The key here is to provide students with study techniques to do well and training on how to use them. Many courses focus on WHAT to learn instead of HOW to learn it.”

For COCC students, utilizing resources such as their advisors, personal counseling, and College Success classes may help get accustomed to a learning environment that seems here to stay.


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