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greater success obtained by more self-efficacious learners has been due to
greater attempt being expended by self-efficacious learners than by their less
self-efficacious counterparts (Bandura 1989; Bong 2001; Schunk 1991). Their
success has also been attributed to higher levels of motivation amongst more
self-efficacious learners (Bandura 1986, 1993) and to self-efficacious learners
setting higher goals for themselves (e.g. Bong 2001; PratSala and Redford 2010;
Yashima, Zenuk-Nishide and Shimizu 2004), as well as using more strategies and
using strategies more effectively (Bandura 1993; Pajares 2003; Zimmerman,
Bandura and Martinez- Pons 1992). Decreased self-efficacy may lead to learners
changing their courses, majors (Daly and Shamo 1978; Gungle and Taylor 1989) or
even future careers (Hyland 1998). As Bandura (1993) states, the more
self-efficacious a learner is, the more different career paths they consider.
Pajares and Johnson (1994: 327) argue that ‘students who lack confidence in the
skills they possess, are not likely to engage in tasks where those skills are
required; they will more quickly give up in the face of difficulty’. Both Eysenck
(1979) and Scharzer (1986) state that learners with less self-efficacy may be
distracted from the task at hand, focusing instead on their perceived lack of
ability, the possibility of failure and others’ potential opinions about their
work, thus increasing the cognitive load and the amount of effort required to
complete the task. Therefore, even when low self-efficacy does not impair
performance, the greater effort required by these learners can be seen as a
disadvantage. Others have argued that lower states of self-efficacy can cause
students being preoccupied (Martinez, Kock and Cass 2011), avoid the class
(Saito and Samimy 1996), not delivering homework (Martinez, Kock and Cass 2011)
and even cheating (Finn and Frone 2004). As argued by Bandura (1986), along
with high levels of confidence goes a belief in one’s ability to overcome
difficulties, and this may be crucial for maintaining momentum in the learning
process.