Self-Efficacy In The Office – eLearning Trade
Promotion of self-efficacy through eLearning
Google is a technology powerhouse known for its positive work culture and recently won the Comparably Best Corporate Culture award in 2020. You can immediately believe that Google’s generous paid vacation time and pet-friendly office environments made them the top spot (though I’m sure those perks certainly didn’t hurt). However, it is no coincidence that Google also made it onto Comparably’s list of 20 Best Professional Development Companies in 2020. Google has a work environment that invests in its people by offering plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development. How can companies use these learning programs to improve their work culture?
Research has shown that a positive workplace culture can be fostered when employees find meaning and inspiration in their work and feel supported by their organization (Cameron et al., 2020). Google’s strong belief in the continued learning and development of its employees is excellent evidence of how investing in employee self-efficacy can support a positive work environment.
What is self-efficacy?
Self-efficacy is the perceived belief in the ability to perform tasks competently. Self-efficacy influences people’s thinking and behavior. It adds to their confidence and motivation, and how individuals engage in and participate in activities. Employees with a higher degree of self-efficacy can demonstrate a variety of positive traits and behaviors. In the workplace, they are more likely to:
- Produce higher efforts because they believe in their own competence and abilities
- Show perseverance and resilience when faced with a difficult task or a setback
- Demonstrate self-help thinking patterns and attribute your success to your own efforts and actions – not luck, bad luck, or circumstance
- Set high professional goals because you are intrinsically motivated
- Respond positively to constructive feedback
However, individuals who are less self-effective exhibit the opposite of these traits and behaviors. They often linger on their perceived mistakes or setbacks, give up quickly in adverse situations, make less effort and have less confidence in their ability to complete tasks with competence. Lower self-efficacy can lead to stress and anxiety in people, which can have a negative impact on their physical and psychological well-being.
The correlation between self-efficacy and stress can also have systemic effects on organizations. Grokker Innovation Labs recently conducted a report on the state of stress of working Americans, which found that 76% of Americans identified themselves as stressed. Workplace stress can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health, and it can affect employee performance and loyalty. These employee and organizational health effects are a real call to action regarding how organizations use professional learning to support employee self-efficacy.
This is how you promote self-efficacy in the workplace
Some companies may still deny that developing employees’ self-efficacy is not their responsibility. These companies may feel that if they recruit and hire candidates who demonstrate these characteristics as part of the hiring process, these individuals can thrive within their organization. However, developing self-efficacy is an ongoing process that can be positively or negatively influenced by a variety of factors that employers should not overlook. Albert Bandura, a well-known figure in the field of self-efficacy, noted that this self-efficacy can be promoted through the following sources:
- Past experiences: past successes and failures
- Representative experiences: Observing how others who are similar to themselves fare with success or failure
- Oral persuasion: the use of words for feedback purposes
- Physiological clues: the body’s physical reaction to a scenario (relaxed posture, racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, etc.)
Recommendations for eLearning design to improve self-efficacy
Instructional designers of training and development programs should use these sources when they create learning opportunities that support self-effective thinking and behavior among employees. How should instructional designers approach this task? Instructional designers should first examine the sources of self-efficacy and how they can be used to create their own design framework. Self-efficacy should be considered as part of the instructional design process, as should culture and inclusivity. There are a variety of effective instructional design models, learning strategies, and implementation practices that can be used to promote self-efficacy in online learning environments. Below are some recommendations to keep in mind.
1. Examine the strengths and career goals of the employees
Use a needs assessment not only to identify knowledge and skills gaps, but also to examine the professional strengths and goals of the employees who will be taking training. This information will help find ways to make the training more relevant by building on their previous skills and connecting with their short- and long-term career goals.
2. Design instruction that includes possibilities for modeling, guided mastery and feedback
Education and training is essential to learn new skills and knowledge. However, these programs can also be a great way to motivate employees and develop their confidence. Because of this, it is important to create training materials that are relevant and engaging to employees.
Imagine an instructional design model that offers modeling, guided mastery (opportunity to practice new skills), and feedback. John Keller’s ARCS Model and M. David Merrill’s First Teaching Principles are two examples.
- Keller’s ARCS model Emphasizes the use of motivational strategies that support learner attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction.
- Merrill’s First Principles of Teaching promotes problem-based learning. This model provides an opportunity for learners to activate previous skills and knowledge, view demonstrations of new information through relevant modeling, apply new skills through practice, and incorporate new knowledge into their own work.
3. Select eLearning technology based on how it fulfills the learning tasks you have designed
Training programs should be developed on the basis of classroom needs and not on the basis of “breakthrough” or “innovative” eLearning technology. Integrate technology with offerings that meet the educational needs of the professional development course. Ask the following: Does this technology have any benefits that support modeling and demonstration capabilities, guided exercises and problem solving, and constructive feedback? Use this question as a means of selecting and integrating technologies that will be beneficial to the classroom.
4. Work with leaders to develop brainstorming methods that support employee self-efficacy before and after training
While training and professional development are great tools for engaging employees in learning opportunities that improve self-efficacy, they should not be used in isolation. Work with managers, supervisors, or other executives who regularly interact with employees to develop a plan to support self-efficacy. Some examples could be:
- Encourage leadership to discuss how attending training can be helpful for employee professional development before participating in professional development.
- Work with supervisors to develop a plan that will provide ongoing feedback on newly imparted skills and knowledge that will be addressed in professional development.
The world is overwhelmed with current events that are taking place outside the walls of the office. So let’s make a positive work culture a priority. Everyone could benefit from a little less stress, a little more confidence, and the motivation to be our best selves at work. So let’s get some advice from Google and give self-efficacy development a chance. When organizations incorporate initiatives that have a positive impact on self-efficacy in learning development programs, everyone wins.