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Building Self Efficacy In Robotics Education

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Mobile Robotics in Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.336.1 - 12.336.11



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Paper Authors


David Ahlgren Trinity College

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David Ahlgren, Trinity College
David J. Ahlgren is Karl W. Hallden Professor of Engineering at Trinity College and is Director and Host of the Trinity College Fire-Fighting Home Robot Contest. His scholarly interests lie in robotics, modeling and simulation, and broadband communications amplifiers. He received the B.S. in Engineering from Trinity College, the M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University, and the Ph.D. in E.E. from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

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Igor M Verner Technion--Israel Institute of Technology

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Igor Verner, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
Igor M. Verner is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education in Technology & Science, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. His research interests are in science, mathematics, and engineering education with emphasis on technological learning environments, physical models, experiential learning, robot design and operation, spatial imagery, mechanical aptitude, mathematical learning in the context of engineering and architecture.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Building Self-Efficacy in Robotics Education


While the cognitive and attitudinal aspects of robotics education have been actively discussed in literature, little attention has been paid to the analysis of student beliefs that underlie their learning behavior, self-evaluation, and orientation. This paper reports an educational experiment designed by the authors to promote and evaluate self-efficacy beliefs among members of the Trinity College Robotics Study Team (RST). This team of engineering undergraduates designs autonomous robots for the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition and Trinity College Fire- Fighting Robot Contest. In this experiment we focus the instruction on helping students to develop their sense of self-efficacy. RST students’ self-efficacy beliefs are studied through pre- course and post-course surveys, observations, interviews, and project assessment. In the paper we report the results of this experiment and, based on those results, propose recommendations for fostering self-efficacy in robotics education.


Recent research has emphasized the role of affect in constructivist learning and revised the traditional tendency to explore cognitive processes of science and engineering education in isolation from affective functions. Picard et al. [1] call for "redressing the imbalance between affect and cognition" and "constructing a science of affective learning". This study focuses on developing learning technologies, systems, and environments that incorporate affect.

DeBellis and Goldin [2] in their study of affect in problem-based mathematical learning partition the affective domain into four sub-domains: emotions, attitudes, values, and beliefs. Emotions describe changes in states of feeling experienced by the learner; attitudes describe orientations toward certain emotional feelings in learning situations; values refer to personal commitments that underlie priorities and choices; beliefs are convictions of the truth of specific statements and the reality of certain phenomena based on some evidence.

The learner's mind involves different types of beliefs: foundational, epistemological, and self- beliefs. Foundational believes relate to perception of the context (the world), epistemological beliefs are about the nature, organization, and sources of knowledge, and self-beliefs concern the learner’s identity and self-perception [4]. A central role in the study of self-beliefs in learning has the concept of perceived self-efficacy [5]. Accordingly, self-efficacy beliefs are evaluations of the personal capability to successfully complete a task based on validation experience.

Studies in science and engineering education have indicated the following features of students' epistemological and self-efficacy beliefs [6-9]: • The beliefs can serve as predictors of academic outcomes; • To learn successfully, students need the goal orientation and the sense of efficacy to use these abilities and skills well and to regulate their learning; • The students develop (strengthen, diminish or change) their beliefs during the learning process.

Ahlgren, D., & Verner, I. M. (2007, June), Building Self Efficacy In Robotics Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2264

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