As a follow-up to my post on measuring the impact of serious games (see “8 Tips For Measuring the Impact of Serious Games”), let me give you a little quiz. Let’s say you made a serious game to increase the engagement of seniors in regular physical activity at a gym.One of the “research goals” of your game was to increase player’s self-efficacy to engage in regular physical activity. You also designed a study in which you measure self-efficacy before and after seniors play your serious game (compared to a control group of seniors that doesn’t play your game). Developing your own measure should be the last resort shouldn’t it?I was fortunate enough to be able to take a class from Al Bandura on self efficacy in the 1990’s.
We want to learn and we want to be able to explain things.
Self-efficacy refers to an individual's belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997).
Self-efficacy reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behavior, and social environment.
The good news is that there are good published guidelines for creating self-efficacy scales that you can use and cite when you write-up your research for publication. Bandura published a helpful guide for constructing self-efficacy scales that gives very specific guidelines for creating a good self-efficacy scale. Just get an objective assessment of actual engagement in regular exercise (e.g., pedometer, frequency of attending a gym).
Chapter 2 in his book, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Self-Control contains a discussion of conceptual and methodological issues involved in developing self-efficacy scales. Objective measures are always better than self-report! This is another tricky one because really, who really cares if the game increased self-efficacy as long as people who play your game are engaging in more regular physical activity?