Self efficacy plays an important role in motivation and how well individuals take on new projects and tasks, VR has now been shown to help develop this important set of beliefs and further adds to the volume of research showcasing how VR can improve workplace effectiveness.

We help teams develop their self-efficacy using the latest vr technology in our vr team building services.

What Is Self Efficacy?

Self-efficacy can be defined as a person’s unique set of beliefs that determine how well they can complete a task or achieve a goal. According to Bandura (1977), there are thought to be four key sources of self-efficacy: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion and emotional and physiological states. Mastery Experiences and past performance outcomes provide the most authentic evidence for success for individuals, with success building a robust belief of their personal efficacy. The second source of self-efficacy is through vicarious experiences, which can be provided by observing people similar to oneself succeed in tasks. Furthering this, social persuasion through the use of positive verbal feedback while undertaking a complex task aids in self-efficacy as it persuades the individual that they are capable enough to succeed. The fourth important state for self-efficiency are the individuals emotional and physiological states, which can influence how they feel about their abilities in regard to a situation. Bandura (1977) also suggested that it is not just the intensity of these emotions and physical reactions, but how they are perceived and interpreted. Learning how to effectively manage mood and physical factors when experiencing challenging situations may improve their self-efficacy. Expanding upon Banduras four key sources of self-efficacy, Maddux (1995) suggested fifth route to self-efficacy, which was imaginal experiences, which involves the individual visualizing themselves as being successful in the task at hand.

How does VR help develop self-efficacy?

It has been illustrated that Virtual Reality (VR) can improve a person’s self-efficacy by enhancing knowledge and the persons creativity (Ding et al., 2020; Nissim & Weissblueth, 2017), which can be due to offering people more readily available opportunities to practice and expand their own knowledge within a virtual environment. Virtual environments allow for people to experiment freely without real-life consequences, therefore individuals are able to trial which strategies are most effective for them. Furthering this, (Ding et al., 2020) illustrated the effectiveness of a VR negotiation training system in enhancing knowledge in negotiation skills and increasing self-efficacy, which was further improved by self-motivational statements included in the VR environment. If these negotiation skills can be increased so significantly, it would be appropriate to speculate that teamwork and team-building skills could be developed further through the use of a specific VR training environment, as these positive effects stemming from the negotiation skills VR remained for multiple weeks.
Suprisingly, horror games have their place

In relation to VR video games, horror games in particular have been seen to increase self-efficacy, which may be due to their extremely emotional and physical challenging nature. This can be related to the working world as self-efficacy has been thought to involve determination and perseverance, which can allow for the development of innate abilities to achieve goals and improve cognition (Kolbe, 2009). Horror games can facilitate the four key sources of self-efficacy, as mentioned above, by stimulating prototypical fear scenarios of uncertainty and danger, which in turn can challenge the individuals to adapt, assess and negotiate the situation. It is thought that when the players engage within these fear-provoking challenges, it expands their emotional and behavioural knowledge and relates to mastery experiences when these challenges are overcome and achieved (Kjeldgaard-Christiansen & Clasen, 2019). Additionally, VR horror games have been seen to have a three-way interaction among horror self-efficacy, physiological arousal and enjoyment through fear (Lin et al., 2018). On the other hand, VR horror games do not cause enjoyment through fear for everyone, therefore it may not be appropriate to include horror games in the attempts to facilitate an increase in self-efficacy for all individuals.

Implications for VR training and VR Team Building

It can be deduced that VR provides an exciting opportunity to improve individual’s self-efficacy through the use of specifically designed training systems. Although it has been identified that provoking the emotion of fear through the use of VR horror games is extremely effective in improving a person’s self-efficacy and emotional knowledge, it may not be appropriate to include this form of stimuli to this extent within team building exercises. Here at VRE we specifically implement VR training platforms for VR team building and teamwork exercises, which in turn will increase a person’s self-efficacy in a professional team working environment. This in turn could lead to increased productivity and overall quality of the work of the individuals, as well as employee’s happiness from feeling able to achieve and thus then achieving their goals.




Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215.

Ding, D., Brinkman, W. P., & Neerincx, M. A. (2020). Simulated thoughts in virtual reality for negotiation training enhance self-efficacy and knowledge. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 139.

Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, J., & Clasen, M. (2019). Threat simulation in virtual limbo: An evolutionary approach to horror video games. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 11(2), 119–138.

Kolbe, K. (2009). Conation. Wisdom of the Ages.

Lin, J. H. T., Wu, D. Y., & Tao, C. C. (2018). So scary, yet so fun: The role of self-efficacy in enjoyment of a virtual reality horror game. New Media and Society, 20(9), 3223–3242.

Maddux, J. E. (1995). Self-Efficacy Theory. In Theory, Research and Application (1st ed.).

Nissim, Y., & Weissblueth, E. (2017). Virtual Reality (VR) as a Source for Self-Efficacy in Teacher Training. International Education Studies, 10(8), 52.