The effects of software disruption on goal commitment, task self-efficacy, computer self-efficacy, and test performance in a computer-based instructional task
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The societal value placed on the acquisition of computing skills is reflected by the increasing prevalence of computing technology in educational settings. Computers have purpose and value because they enable humans to accomplish valued tasks more efficiently. Since the computer decreased the amount of time to produce documents, management's expectations in terms of product output increased. The value of task outcomes and the time to complete tasks has remained constant, but external expectations and the rate of output has increased, resulting in both physical and psychological ramifications to the user. The stress placed on those dealing with technology on a daily basis is heightened when something goes wrong with the technology. The trend in higher education is leading towards more computer-based instructional environments. However, the effects of technology-related problems experienced by learners are generally unknown. Cognized goals within the context of Social Cognitive Theory are one of the most important cognitive motivators in learning. However, there is little research regarding learner goal commitment within the context of instructional design. Further there is little research on the effects of software disruptions on self-efficacy, goal commitment or performance in computer-based instruction. This study considered the effects of software disruptions on goal-directed behavior, computer self-efficacy, task self-efficacy and performance. The results of one-way multivariate analysis of variance failed to find statistically significant differences between the treatment groups with regard to the dependent variables of task self-efficacy, computer self-efficacy, goal commitment and test performance as a result of the software disruptions. Results indicate that participants were unaffected by the software disruptions. Supplemental one-way analysis of variance conducted on subscale measures of satisfaction, anxiety and frustration also failed to find significant differences between the treatment groups. While not statistically significant, there appeared to be differences in test performance between treatment group one and treatment groups two and three in that group one made more test performance gains on the second trial of the software program. Additionally, post-test goal commitment means for treatment group three, which experienced the longest disruption, dropped. Post-test goal commitment means for treatment groups one and two rose. Further research recommended includes studies to ascertain the effects of software disruptions adding time constraints and multiple disruption events to treatment conditions.
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