Impact of Different Levels of Epistemic Beliefs on Learning Processes and Outcomes in Vocational Education and Training

Florian Berding, Katharina Rolf-Wittlake, Janes Buschenlange


Epistemic beliefs are individuals’ beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Modelling them is currently based on two
central assumptions. First, epistemic beliefs are conceptualized as a multi-level construct, i.e. they exist on a general,
academic, domain-specific and/or topic-specific level. Second, research assumes that their more concrete levels
predict learning processes and outcomes more strongly than their more general levels. However, studies directly
investigating these assumptions are still missing. 975 prospective retailers, wholesalers, bank assistants, and
industrial assistants reported their grades and learning motivation in accounting and marketing as well as their
epistemic beliefs in an effort to prove both assumptions within the context of Vocational Education and Training.
Second-order confirmatory factor analysis confirms the multi-level conceptualization of epistemic beliefs. The
findings here indicate a superiority of domain- and topic-specific epistemic beliefs compared to general epistemic
beliefs for predicting motivation and achievement in marketing and accounting. The study concludes that domainand
topic-specific epistemic beliefs explain different facets of learning phenomena. In addition, further research
should concentrate more on both the domain- and topic-specific levels.

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Copyright (c) 2017 World Journal of Education


World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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