The Importance of Self: Developing Students’ Self Efficacy Through Work Integrated Learning
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Studies have found that the use of professionals and industry representatives can enhance students' confidence and their self-belief (Subramaniam & Freudenberg, 2007). Self-efficacy is an important measure of an individual's capacity to cope with learning and performing, whether at university or in the workplace. Bandura's social cognitive theory defines self-efficacy as 'beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments' (Bandura, 1997, p.3). The importance of a person's efficacy cannot be underestimated as it can influence the courses of action they choose to pursue as well as how much effort they will expend in given situations. Prior studies have found that a student's self-efficacy is correlated with various outcomes including self-regulatory behaviour (such as awareness of learning approach used and time taken), motivation constructs, and academic performance (Collins, 1982; Zimmermann, et al., 1992; Pajares, 1994; Keef and Roush,1997; Christensen, Fogarty and Wallace, 2002). In terms of improving and developing self-efficacy, studies indicate that self-efficacy can be enhanced in various ways, which includes work integrated learning (WIL) (Tucker & McCarthy, 2001; Subramaniam & Freudenberg, 2007). This paper reports how a Professional Development Program (PDP) with WIL characteristics was developed and integrated into an undergraduate degree to allow for the development of students' self-efficacy through mastery experiences, modelling, social persuasion and physiological states. This paper details the procedures that have been developed, and provides preliminary evidence on the impact of the PDP in the 1st year of delivery and compares this with a control group from another campus without this program. We argue that the WIL program in an undergraduate degree in partnership with industry has assisted students in gaining a greater understanding of 'self' and improved their self-efficacy.
The International Journal of Learning
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Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy