Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Self-Efficacy and Use of Electronic Information as Predictors of Academic Performance

Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship has a nice article up by Adeyinka Tella, Adedeji Tella, C. O. Ayeni, and R. O. Ogie. The article is titled Self-Efficacy and Use of Electronic Information as Predictors of Academic Performance.

The abstract notes, "Students’ ability to find and retrieve information effectively is a transferable skill useful for their future life as well as enabling the positive and successful use of the electronic resources while at school. It is a known fact in this digital era that any student at the higher level who intends to better achieve and go further in academics should have the ability to explore the digital environment. Students are increasingly expected to use electronic information resources while at the university. Research was undertaken to determine the level of influence of self-efficacy and the use of electronic information resources on students’ academic performance. This study examined self-efficacy and the use of electronic information as predictors of academic performance. Its participants were comprised of 700 students (undergraduate and postgraduate) randomly drawn from seven departments in the faculty of education, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Data on the study was collected through the Morgan-Jinks (1999) academic self-efficacy scale and the use of the electronic information scale (UEIS) with r = 0.75. Three research questions were raised to guide the study. The results indicate that self-efficacy and the use of electronic information jointly predict and contribute to academic performance; that respondents with high self-efficacy make better use of electronic information and have better academic performance; that a correlation exists among self-efficacy, use of electronic information and academic performance; and that the use of electronic information influenced respondents' performance in General Education subjects more than other subjects. Finally, the results reveal that the Internet is the electronic information source students access for information most often. Implications of these results and recommendations are discussed."

Not surprisingly, students in Nigeria are using electronic resources (including the Web) more than they are using print resources. While not a shocking finding, I am still surprised that this is happening in Africa already. Sit at a Reference Desk in the USA and you will find just how dependent college students are on the Web and how much is necessary to teach the students to evaluate the stuff they find online. There is some good information resources online (both library purchased and free) but there is a lot of questionable material that looks good to students as well. African educators will have to deal with this too as Web access gets more universal there.

The authors end with a few suggestion dealing with that. They write, "In the light of the issues outlined surrounding personality variable of self-efficacy and the use of electronic information (the Internet in particular) it would be helpful to finish by making some recommendations that may help to improve the use that both staff and students make of the Internet and other electronic information sources. Academic staff and students should be made aware that the information available on the Internet is beneficial and of interest. Training and guidance in making use of electronic information sources (including the Internet) should be offered to both academic staff and students. It would be beneficial if new skills were integrated into the curriculum so that students could be taught how to conduct effective searches. This would enable them to be able to discriminate between good and bad articles and reference material. Electronic information resources should be available for use at any time. Information literacy as a course should be made compulsory for all students irrespective of their discipline. This will go a long way in increasing the knowledge level of the learners regarding the use of electronic information."

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