Alfred Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory

The Self-Efficacy Theory developed by an American social psychologist Alfred Bandura is a pivotal contribution to the theoretical framework of educational psychology. The theory is defined as “peoples’ beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives” (Bandura, 1994). These beliefs predetermine how people think, feel, act, and motivate themselves; therefore, they involve such basic processes as cognition, motivation, selection. The fundamental argument of the theory is that a person’s belief that they can do something based on their efforts is the most important determinant of success in any activity (Maddux, 2011). This theory might be used effectively to enhance curricular shaping for better academic outcomes at educational institutions.

Indeed, since the theory of self-efficacy involves the ability of a person to integrate their capacity for goal achievement, it might enhance students’ learning success. People with a high level of confidence in their abilities use their cognitive skills more effectively (Maddux, 2011). The application of the theory to curricula might be based on the four sources of self-efficacy, introduced by Bandura (1994). Firstly, students’ educational activities should be planned in a way that guarantees mastery experiences such as repetitive practice that enhances confidence. Secondly, students will build self-efficacy more productively if they are provided with vicarious experiences based on social models, such as examples of other students’ works or teachers’ demonstrations. Thirdly, self-efficacy might be reinforced in students by means of social persuasion and encouragement (Bandura, 1994). Fourthly, the elimination of negative emotional and somatic attributes might enhance learners’ self-efficacy and improve their academic performance.

Thus, the self-efficacy theory is a fundamental asset of educational psychology. It postulates that people’s beliefs that they are capable of accomplishing a task increase their productivity and effectiveness in performance. Therefore, when shaped with four sources of self-efficacy, including mastery experience, social models, social persuasion, and negative emotions elimination, the curricula will help increase students’ confidence in their capabilities and improve their learning outcomes.


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

Maddux, J. E. (2011). Self-efficacy: The power of believing you can. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 335-345). Oxford University Press.

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PsychologyWriting. "Alfred Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory." August 14, 2023.