Comparing antecedents for Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish youths’ agentic beliefs in informal online learning

Eyvind Elstad, Thomas Arnesen, Knut Andreas Christophersen


Technology has become an ever-present factor in virtually every contemporary situation, and digital media has gained a significant role in the lives of young people. This article explores and compares the antecedents for agentic beliefs in informal online learning amongst young people in Norway, Sweden and Finland. The promotion of such agentic beliefs in informal online learning is an important task for school systems that seek to prepare young people for responsible citizenship, capable of directing their own lives and supporting others. A sample of 3045 urban Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian students in general study programs (15–17-year-olds) participated in a cross-sectional questionnaire. Structural equation modelling was used for analysis. We discovered that the patterns in some of these relations were astonishingly similar in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. In each of these countries, online culture, defined in terms of free choice and self-actualisation by using internet, is positively associated with agentic beliefs and with time online. A duality in school and internet orientation demonstrates that the educational systems in these three countries face challenges to build bridges between the attitudes of youth and the emphasis on knowledge found in traditional educational subjects. Furthermore, the agentic beliefs of youngsters in these three countries differ depending on the degree to which youths value education.


agentic beliefs; informal online learning; Finland; Sweden; Norway

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Copyright (c) 2018 Eyvind Elstad, Thomas Arnesen, Knut Andreas Christophersen

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