Observational learning use and self-efficacy beliefs in adult sport novices


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Abstract

Objectives:The purposes of this study were to investigate adult sport novices’ use of the functions of observational learning and to examine its relationship to their self-efficacy beliefs to learn sport-related skills and strategies, and to regulate mental states during the learning process.Method:Adults enrolled in beginner level sport classes completed the Functions of Observational Learning Questionnaire (FOLQ; Cumming, J., Clark, S.E., Ste-Marie, D.M., McCullagh, P., & Hall, C. (2005). The functions of observational learning questionnaire (FOLQ). Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 6, 517–537.) as well as a self-efficacy questionnaire. Internal consistencies were acceptable for all subscales and a factor analysis confirmed that this instrument can be used with sport novices.Results:Athletes’ use of observational learning and their self-efficacy beliefs differed according to sport type. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that for adults learning an independent sport, more frequent use of the skill function of observational learning predicted higher self-efficacy to learn skills and self-efficacy to learn strategies. For adults learning an interactive sport, more frequent use of the performance function predicted higher self-efficacy to regulate mental states during the learning process.Conclusions:Results suggest that factors related to specific sport types, such as sport demands and model availability, may differentially influence learners’ use of observational learning as well as its impact on their self-efficacy for learning technical sport components and self-efficacy for controlling their mental state during learning. This has implications for sport instructors and coaches regarding optimal methods for structuring observational learning experiences to enhance learners’ self-efficacy beliefs.

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