Activity 1: Theoretical Frameworks

For my research paper there are two theoretical frameworks that interest me and that I think could help guide me in answering my research question. First, the question that I seek to answer is: In what ways might blended or hybrid continuing education courses for adults in secondary school be designed to contribute to self-efficacy and student satisfaction?

The theoretical frameworks that I would like to explore further are adult learning theory and self-efficacy theory. These theories tackle the two aspects of my question with adult learning theory describing how adult learners learn differently from child learners (Knowles, 1973) and self-efficacy theory which notes the significance of self-confidence with regards to the completion of tasks (Bandura, 1994).

Adult learning theory has been very familiar for me in my work surrounding adult learners. Knowles (1984) made five assumptions for adult learners: 1) more self-directed, 2) coming from a place of experience, 3) more willing to learn once relevance has been determined, 4) learn better by “doing”, and 5) more intrinsically motivated to learn. Starting from these points, I could start an inquiry on what can be appropriate design for adult learners in a blended learning environment.

Self-efficacy theory is a bit more newer to me, but a theory that I find important as I feel that for students to do well, their own self-perception or confidence can have a major impact on outcomes. Bandura (1994) notes that these beliefs on one’s ability can affect cognitive, motivational, affective and selection processes which will invariably alter the learning experience.

Ideally I’d like to incorporate both these theories into my research, but I’m still contemplating the proper mix or if I can just utilize certain elements as a conceptual framework. Reading through Grant and Osanloo (2014), I think I have an idea of what the difference between a theoretical framework vs. a conceptual framework is, but breaking down a real example is a bit more difficult…

Any thoughts/comments would be greatly appreciated.



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

Grant, C., and Osanloo, A. (2014). Understanding, selecting, and integrating a theoretical framework in dissertation research: Creating the blueprint for you ‘house’Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research. DOI: 10.5929/2014.4.2.9. 

Knowles, M. S. (1973). The adult learner: A neglected species. Houston, TX: Gulf.

Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action: Applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

2 thoughts on “Activity 1: Theoretical Frameworks

  1. Hi George,
    Thank you for the insightful post!
    I am considering the same theoretical framework, which is adult learning theory, and my assumption based on the readings was that self-efficacy theory is part of adult learning theory, but I could be wrong. Based on our discussions in previous courses, I think you picked a great topic for your research and focusing on self-efficacy is definitely a great fit for your topic which involved blended learning. As we previously discussed, a big part of success for blended learners is to be able to be self-efficient. Good luck!

  2. Hi George,

    Are your learners those who are attempting to prepare to do the GED test in a blended context? At first glance, I can see both of these theories as being very applicable. The degree of confidence in skills as well as the fact that I can assume these types of learners are intrinsically motivated by potential career advancement are both primary elements to consider when creating optimal learning environments for which they will learn. There has been some discussion around not spending too much time learning new frameworks at this stage, but as mentioned above, these both seem very relevant and useful to what information you seek.

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