The impact of self-efficacy beliefs on learning strategies: towards learning Human Anatomy at College of Medicine


Lackson Harrison Tembo, Flemmings Fishani Ngwira

Objective: The study was designed first, to find out from the medical students if their perceived self-efficacy is related to their use of cognitive learning strategies; second, to asses if, in terms of gender and parent education, differences do exist in their levels of self-efficacy and their use of the cognitive strategies. Method: This was a cross section study which employed a pre-tested questionnaire, Motivated Strategies for Leaning Questionnaire (MSLQ), scored on a Likert Scale. The study population was made up of first year medical students after consenting to take part in the study. There was an 86% response rate. Results: Self-efficacy positively predicted both learning strategies of shallow [β = 0.47] and deep [β = 0.42]. There were no significant differences between male and female students on both shallow and deep learning strategies, and self-efficacy beliefs (p < 0.05). First generation students had higher levels of cognitive learning strategies in both shallow (p < 0.05) and deep (p < 0.01) learning strategies. Conclusion: Self efficacy is therefore important for adoption of study habits in medical students with respect to the learning of Anatomy. It is therefore imperative to employ methods that will yield high self-efficacy in students.