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DOES HYPERTEXT PROMOTE SELF-EFFICACY?

A STUDY OF HYPERTEXT IN SYLLABUS DESIGN

by

Jeri Stickney Phillips


Abstract

Retention rates and student performance compelled this research-to-practice investigation of whether hypertext embedded in a syllabus developed from research-based best practices would change self-efficacy for secondary students. Self-efficacy, rooted in social cognitive theory, is an individual’s perceived capability to perform specific tasks. Self-efficacy is found to be correlated to increased student effort, perseverance, and resilience, which may increase student retention and performance. A sample of 229 high school students in grades 9 through 12 was randomly assigned to two treatments in which they read or scanned an online syllabus for specific information while completing a syllabus activity developed for this study. One treatment used an online syllabus embedded with hypertext and the other treatment used an online syllabus with no hypertext. Pretest and posttest self-efficacy instruments also developed for this study were used to examine students’ levels of self-efficacy to perform specific online learning tasks. Self-efficacy increased for all students in both treatments, but students who used the hypertext syllabus had a greater increase in self-efficacy than students who used the syllabus without hypertext. Further, there was no difference in self-efficacy for students in grades 9 and 10 versus students in grades 11 and 12. There was also no difference in self-efficacy for male and female students. Of note is the finding that the Syllabus Activity independently affected self-efficacy regardless of hypertext.

 

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