Learning is neither a transmissive nor a submissive process. Rather learning is willful, intentional, active, conscious, constructive practice that includes reciprocal intention – action – reflection activities. Humans are different from primates in their abilities to articulate an intention and then to willfully plan to act on it. Actions are integrations of perceptions and conscious thinking. (Jonassen & Land, 2000, p. v)
Learning is for Jonassen and Land a process of meaning making. This process comprises balancing individual perceptions with perceptions of what others know, the responses from the environment, and experiences that lead to action. In other words, an action feeds itself from consciousness and perception. Meaning making also occurs within a social context, and knowledge is shared among the participants within that context.
Knowledge resides in discourse and communication among individuals and their relationships. These relationships also influence how individuals see themselves, perceive their social circle, and assume how their social circle sees them. Social negotiation becomes knowledge negotiation, through which individuals engage in the meaning-making process. This theory shift leads to a focus on the development of student-centered learning theories with special attention to social-mediated communication (Jonassen & Land, 2000). Social interrelationship influences learning and self-perception, also defined as self-efficacy (Ashford & LeCroy, 2010).
Self-efficacy beliefs are domain-specific personal interpretations of capabilities to perform a task or reach a goal (Bandura, 2002; Bruning et al., 2004; Goddard, LoGerfo, & Hoy, 2004; Ormrod, 2006). Confronted by a specific task, individuals would, consciously or unconsciously, evaluate their skills to achieve the domain expectations, leading to how they will approach the task at hand. Bandura (2002) argued that self-efficacy is also modifiable under favorable conditions. According to Bandura (1989a), self-efficacy is influenced by triadic reciprocal determinism (presented in Figure 1), which is the interaction between three factors of causation: (1) behavior, (2) environment, and (3) personal cognitive factors. According to Bandura:
Triadic reciprocal determinism
Human behavior has often been explained in terms of one-sided determinism. In such modes of unidirectional causation, behavior is depicted as being shaped and controlled either by environmental influences or by internal dispositions. Social cognitive theory favors a model of causation involving triadic reciprocal determinism. In this model of reciprocal causation, behavior, cognition and other personal factors, and environmental influences all operate as interacting determinants that influence each other bidirectionally. (p. 2)
According to Bandura, “because of the bidirectionality of influence between behavior and environmental circumstances, people are both products and producers of their environment” (p. 4), and “seen from the social cognitive perspective, human nature is characterized by a vast potentiality that can be fashioned by direct and vicarious experience into a variety of forms within biological limits” (p. 74). People influence their environments as their environments influence them. People select, create, and perceive their environment according to the interactions between the factors of causation, and they do this while simultaneously creating or perceiving an image of themselves within the specific environment.