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Science, Media, and Efficacy: Social Cognitive Theory, Educational Media, and Science Self-Efficacy During Early Childhood


This dissertation examined the relations of self-efficacy, vicarious perceptions, and learning outcomes during early childhood. In two studies, 3- to 6–year-old children watched videos of characters solving physical science problems, and following, were asked to solve analogically similar problems. Participants who applied the solution from the videos to the novel problems were acknowledged as having displayed analogical transfer and learned the intended content from the videos. Participants were interviewed about their self-efficacy for solving problems and their vicarious perceptions of the characters in the videos. Study 1 indicated strong positive relations between children’s vicarious perceptions and mastery experiences with self-efficacy during early childhood. Study 2 revealed key differences in children’s self-efficacy and vicarious perceptions by whether they displayed convergent or divergent learning from the video stimuli. Overall, this dissertation supports that self-efficacy can be studied during early childhood, and that both self-efficacy and vicarious perceptions are important for children’s learning from media.

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