I Think I Can; I Know I Can: Self-efficacy as an Indicator of Learner Self-satisfaction with the Learning Experience in an Online Master of Social Work Program
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The purpose of this predictive non-experimental quantitative research was to determine if self-efficacy as a Master-of-Social-Work (MSW) student and/or self-efficacy as an online learner impacts learner self-satisfaction in an exclusively online MSW program. The study also examined characteristics associated with social work or online learner self-efficacy and learner self-satisfaction. Social Cognitive Theory was used as the theoretical perspective. The research was conducted at a small liberal arts college with a well-established online MSW program. A non-probability convenience sample of 43 incoming online MSW students was used as the study population. The findings suggest that there is not a significant relationship between Social Work Self-Efficacy and Self-Satisfaction or Online Learning Self-Efficacy and Self-Satisfaction. This study found that while students may be highly efficacious as MSW Students and Online Learners, they were not necessarily self-satisfied with their online learning experience. The study also found that students had an increase in their Social Work Self-Efficacy and persisted onto course completion. This persistence indicates that self-efficacy alone, and not self-satisfaction, may be a more accurate factor leading to student attrition. The findings indicate that the track foundation for students with a bachelors in an unrelated field or advanced for students with a bachelors in social work enrolled and social work experience are good predictors of Social Work Self-Efficacy and experience with online learning as being a good predictor of Online Learning Self-Efficacy. The findings of this research are relevant to institutions of higher learning seeking to establish or improve upon their online Master-of-Social-Work program. Implications for practice and recommendations for future research surrounding variables that predict or create high self-efficacy are suggested.