Trainee reactions to learner control: an important link in the e-learning equation

Authors

  • Sandra L. Fisher,

    Corresponding author
    1. Clarkson University School of Business, USA
      Sandra L. Fisher, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, PO Box 5790, Potsdam, NY 13676-5790, USA. Email: sfisher@clarkson.edu. Michael E. Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, Potsdam, NY 13699-5790, USA. Email: mwasserm@clarkson.edu. Karin A. Orvis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA. Email: korvis@odu.edu
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  • Michael E. Wasserman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Clarkson University School of Business, USA
      Sandra L. Fisher, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, PO Box 5790, Potsdam, NY 13676-5790, USA. Email: sfisher@clarkson.edu. Michael E. Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, Potsdam, NY 13699-5790, USA. Email: mwasserm@clarkson.edu. Karin A. Orvis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA. Email: korvis@odu.edu
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  • Karin A. Orvis

    Corresponding author
    1. Old Dominion University, USA
      Sandra L. Fisher, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, PO Box 5790, Potsdam, NY 13676-5790, USA. Email: sfisher@clarkson.edu. Michael E. Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, Potsdam, NY 13699-5790, USA. Email: mwasserm@clarkson.edu. Karin A. Orvis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA. Email: korvis@odu.edu
    Search for more papers by this author

Sandra L. Fisher, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, PO Box 5790, Potsdam, NY 13676-5790, USA. Email: sfisher@clarkson.edu. Michael E. Wasserman, Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies, Clarkson University School of Business, Potsdam, NY 13699-5790, USA. Email: mwasserm@clarkson.edu. Karin A. Orvis, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA. Email: korvis@odu.edu

Abstract

This paper examines the benefits and limitations of learner control functionality in the e-learning environment. A quasi-experiment with 237 learners was conducted to examine the role of high-level learner control (i.e. enabling trainee ‘choice’ to complete an e-learning program with or without interactive learner control features versus completion of the program without consideration of personal preference) in trainee reactions and learning in an e-learning environment. Results suggest that high-level learner control positively influences affective and utility-based reactions to these features, which in turn influence overall satisfaction with the e-learning program. Moreover, trainees' overall satisfaction was found to influence actual learning of the instructional content. Practical and future research implications for providing trainees with high-level learner control, as well as other state-of-the-art learner control features, are discussed.

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