USING COMPUTERS TO DELIVER TRAINING: WHICH EMPLOYEES LEARN AND WHY?

Authors


  • The author thanks Kevin Ford, Steve Kozlowski, Ray Noe, Ann Marie Ryan, Frank Schmidt, Amy Kristof-Brown, Mick Mount, Sara Rynes, Jason Colquitt, and the three anonymous reviewers for their assistance at various stages of this research. The author is also grateful to the owners and managers of Strategic Interactive (now a Provant Operating Unit), Wendy Golden, Ann Howell, Ray Marx, and the host organization (which elected to remain anonymous) for the opportunity to conduct this research.

  • This paper is based on the author's doctoral dissertation, conducted under the guidence of J. Kevin Ford.

  • An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, GA.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Ken Brown, Department of Management and Organizations, Henry B. Tippie College of Business, 108 Pappajohn Business Building, Iowa City, IA, 52242; kenneth-g-brown@uiowa.edu.

Abstract

Compared to traditional instructor-led training, computer-delivered training typically offers learners more control over their instruction. In learner-controlled environments, learner choices regarding practice level, time on task, and attention are expected to be critical determinants of training effectiveness. To examine the effect of learner choices in computer-based training, a study was conducted with 78 employees taking an Intranet-delivered training course. Learner choices were assessed and predicted with goal orientation (mastery and performance) and learning self-efficacy, as well as age, education, and computer experience. Results indicate considerable variability among trainees in practice level and time on task, which both predict knowledge gain. Performance orientation interacted with learning self-efficacy to determine practice level, and mastery orientation had an unexpected negative effect. Implications for the use of computers to deliver training and for future research are discussed.

Ancillary