Using Perceived Self-Efficacy to Measure Outcomes: Evaluation of a Two-Day Course

Eric D. Peterson, Armine Lulejian, Suzanne Laussucq


Introduction: Perceived self-efficacy comprises the beliefs held by an individual about his or her ability to organize and execute the tasks required to achieve a desired result. Self-efficacy beliefs have been shown to predict subsequent work-related performance and may be transformed through experiences that convey a realistic sense of what is required to be successful in a given domain of functioning (mastery experiences). Many continuing medical education (CME) activities may be considered mastery experiences, and therefore, changes in perceived self-efficacy are viable measures of educational outcomes. Changes in perceived self-efficacy can be measured fairly easily.

Method: We evaluated changes in self-efficacy beliefs by administering a survey of 17 items related to dementia care to members of the primary-care track of a CME activity focused on dementia. Participants were assessed before and 30 days after participating in the activity. We added clinical vignettes to the post-activity assessment to evaluate clinical behavior. We also administered the efficacy items and the vignettes to a demographically-matched group of nonparticipants.

Results: Few demographic differences were found among the 3 groups (baseline, post, nonparticipants). We were able measure increases in perceived self-efficacy among participants in all items, with statistically significant differences measured in 11 out of 17 items. Participants were more likely than nonparticipants to make correct management decisions in the clinical vignettes, with significant differences measured in 3 out of 9 items. Nonparticipants performed significantly better than participants on 1 item, which may reflect participation bias.

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