Developing Self-Efficacy through a Massive Open Online Course on Study Skills

Brenda Cecilia Padilla Rodriguez, Alejandro Armellini


Self-efficacy is a strong predictor of academic performance, and an area of interest for higher education institutions. This paper reports on a massive open online course (MOOC) on study skills, aimed at increasing self-efficacy. Participants (n=32) were from Mexico and Colombia, with ages ranging from 21 to 45 years. At the beginning and the end of the MOOC, learners answered a survey that included the General Self-Efficacy Scale, items on specific study skills, and space for optional comments. Findings show statistically significant increases in general self-efficacy after completing the MOOC, as well as in the perceived self-efficacy related to five out of six study skills. Comments suggest that participants are aware of and value their own improvement. For students, MOOCs can represent low-risk, formative opportunities to widen their knowledge and increase their self-efficacy. For academic institutions, well-designed MOOCs on study skills provide a means to support students.


Self-efficacy; study skills; massive open online courses; MOOCs; online learning

Full Text:



Anderson, T. (2013). Promise and/or Peril: MOOCs and Open and Distance Education. Vancouver: COL. Retrieved from

Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior (ANUIES) (2000). La Educación Superior en el Siglo XXI. Líneas estratégicas de desarrollo. Una propuesta de la ANUIES. México. Retrieved from

Aurah, C. (2013). The Effects of Self-efficacy Beliefs and Metacognition on Academic Performance: A Mixed Method Study. American Journal of Educational Research, 1(8), 334–343.

Baessler, J., & Schwarzer, R. (1996). Evaluación de la autoeficacia: Adaptación española de la escala de Autoeficacia General. Ansiedad y Estrés, 2(1), 1–8.

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.). Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71–81). New York: Academic Press.

Bandura, A. (2002). Growing Primacy of Human Agency in Adaptation and Change in the Electronic Era. European Psychologist, 7(1), 2–16.

Bartimote-Aufflick, B., Bridgeman, A., Walker, R., Sharma, M., & Smith, L. (2015). The study, evaluation, and improvement of university student self-efficacy. Studies in Higher Education, 41(11), 1918–1942.

Bayeck, R. Y. (2016). Exploratory study of MOOC learners’ demographics and motivation: The case of students involved in groups. Open Praxis, 8(3), 223–233.

Blaschke, L. (2012). Heutagogy and lifelong learning: A review of heutagogical practice and self-determined learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 56–71.

Bruff, D. O., Fisher, D. H., McEwen, K. E. & Smith, B. E. (2013). Wrapping a MOOC: Student Perceptions of an Experiment in Blended Learning. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), 187–199. Retrieved from

Devonport, T. J., & Lane, A. M. (2006). Relationships between self-efficacy, coping and student retention. Social Behavior and Personality, 34(2), 127–138.

Dominguez Perez, D., Sandoval Caraveo, M. C., Cruz Cruz, F., & Pulido Tellez, A. R. (2013). Problemas relacionados con la eficiencia terminal desde la perspectiva de estudiantes universitarios [Problems related to terminal efficiency from the perspective of university students]. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 12(1), 25–34. Retrieved from

Gargallo, B., Campos, C., & Almerich, G. (2016). Learning to learn at university. The effects of an instrumental subject on learning strategies and academic achievement. Culture and Education, 28(4), 1–19.

Hodges, C. (2016). The Development of Learner Self-Efficacy in MOOCs. In Proceedings of Global Learn 2016 (pp. 517–522). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Hood N., Littlejohn A. & Milligan C. (2015). Context Counts: how learners’ contexts influence learning in a MOOC. Computers & Education, 91, 83–91.

Jordan, K. (2015). MOOC Completion Rate: The Data. Retrieved from

Komarraju, M. & Nadler, D. (2013). Self-efficacy and academic achievement: Why do implicit beliefs, goals, and effort regulation matter? Learning and Individual Differences, 25, 67–72.

McGee, P. & Reis, A. (2012). Blended course design: A synthesis of best practices. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(4), 7–22. Retrieved from

México Digital (2015, October 17). Cursos gratuitos en línea en la plataforma MéxicoX [blog post]. Retrieved from

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2010). How many students drop out of tertiary education? Highlights from Education at a Glance 2010. OECD Publishing.

Padilla, J., Acosta, B., Gómez, J., Guevara, M., & González, A. (2006). Propiedades psicométricas de la versión española de la escala de autoeficacia general aplicada en México y España [Psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the general self-efficacy scale applied in Mexico and Spain]. Revista Mexicana de Psicología, 23(2), 245–252.

Padilla Rodriguez, B. C., Estrada Rocha, F. J., & Rodriguez Nieto, M. C. (2017). Razones para estudiar un curso en línea masivo y abierto (MOOC) de habilidades de estudio [Reasons to study a massive open online course (MOOC) of study skills]. In C. Delgado

Kloos, C. Alario-Hoyos & R. Hernández Rizzardini (eds.). Actas de la Jornada de MOOCs en español en EMOOCs 2017 (EMOOCs-ES) (pp. 54–61).

Putwain, D., Sander, P., & Larkin, D. (2013). Academic self-efficacy in study-related skills and behaviours: Relations with learning-related emotions and academic success. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(4), 633–650.

Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities: the key to active online learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing Inc.

Sharples, M., Adams, A., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., McAndrew, P., Rienties, B., Weller, M., & Whitelock, D. (2014). Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Open University Innovation Report 3. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Shier, R. (2004). Statistics: 2.2 The Wilcoxon signed rank sum test. Mathematics Learning Support Centre. Retrieved from

Stewart, B. (2013). Massiveness + Openness = New Literacies of Participation? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2). Retrieved from

Street, H. (2010). Factors Influencing a Learner’s Decision to Drop-Out or Persist in Higher Education Distance Learning. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13(4). Retrieved from

Torres Balcázar, E., Osuna Lever, C., & Sida Vargas, P. C. (2011). Reprobación en las carreras del área de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, México [Failing in degrees of the field of health sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico]. Educación y Humanismo, 13(21), 34–50.

Verzat, C., Jore, M., Toutain, O., & Silberzahn, P. (2015). What do participants learn in a MOOC on effectuation? Impact study on self-efficacy and self-directed learning in entrepreneurial education (summary). Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 35(5). Retrieved from

Wang, Y. & Baker, R. (2015). Content or platform: Why do students complete MOOCs? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 11(1), 17–30. Retrieved from

Wäschle, K., Allgaier, A., Lachner, A., Fink, S., & Nückles, M. (2014). Procrastination and self-efficacy: Tracing vicious and virtuous circles in self-regulated learning. Learning and Instruction, 29, 103–114.

Wernersbach, B., Crowley, S., Bates, S., & Rosenthal, C. (2014). Study Skills Course Impact on Academic Self-Efficacy. Developmental Education, 37(3), 14–33. Retrieved from

Youell, A. (2011). What is a course or programme or route or pathway or learning Opportunity…? London, UK: JISC, Higher Education Statistics Agency.



  • There are currently no refbacks.