OPTIMIZING KNOWLEDGE TESTS FOR INFERRING LEARNING ACQUISITION LEVELS IN SINGLE GROUP TRAINING EVALUATION DESIGNS: THE INTERNAL REFERENCING STRATEGY

Authors


  • This research was funded in part by an SSHRC research grant to the first author. Thanks are extended to I. Goldstein, G. Latham, R. Noe, M. Robert, S. Tannenbaum, and A. Tziner for their helpful comments.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert R. Haccoun, Université de Montréal, Département de Psychologie, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre We, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3C 357.

Abstract

Training evaluation is a process designed to measure the degree of trainee changes (on learning as well as on other dimensions) that training programs cause. Whereas many experimental and correlational designs permitting such inferences exist, they are rarely used, principally for practical reasons. This paper evaluates an operationally simple procedure for estimating effectiveness of training in improving trainee knowledge–the Internal Referencing Strategy (IRS). It identifies and tests the implicit training evaluation notion that training-relevant content should show more change (pre-post) than training-irrelevant content. An empirical evaluation study conducted with 66 managers enrolled in a training course compares the inferences produced by the IRS versus a more traditional experimental evaluation. The results indicate that the IRS approach may permit inferences that mirror those obtained by the more complex design. The paper closes with a discussion of the limits and possible uses of this design.

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