The influence of vicarious experience provided through mobile technology on self-efficacy when learning new tasks

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    Background: A high level of self-efficacy is a major contributor to the effectiveness of physical activity interventions. However, it is insufficiently known whether techniques that are used to influence self-efficacy in face-to-face or printed text interventions can also be successfully incorporated in modern-day, mobile technology-supported interventions. We performed an experiment to investigate whether self-efficacy regarding a specific task can be influenced through vicarious experience provided through mobile technology. Method: 36 subjects were asked to walk from A to B in exactly 14, 16, or 18 s, wearing scuba fins and a blindfold. The task guaranteed equal level of task experience at the start of the experiment. Before every trial, subjects in group 1 viewed a video on a smartphone of a subject successfully performing the task, subjects in group 2 did not view a video. Results and conclusion: Although subjects found the video helpful for successful performance of the task and reported high perceived similarity, subjects’ level of self-efficacy regarding the task, as well as task performance did not differ significantly between the two groups. However, a secondary outcome parameter did indicate a possible difference between how subjects walked forward while wearing the scuba fins (either shuffling forward, or raising their knees high up). Future studies should investigate whether such instructional videos can contribute to higher levels of self-efficacy in mobile, technology-supported interventions in more ecologically valid settings.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)327-332
    Number of pages6
    JournalComputers in human behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


    • mobile technology
    • vicarious experience
    • EWI-27816
    • Coaching
    • Tailoring
    • IR-104302
    • Behavior change
    • Self-efficacy

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