Cooperative extension and the information technology era: An assessment of current competencies and future training needs of County Extension Agents
Brenda Brooks Albright, Texas A&M University, United States
Doctor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University . Awarded
The exponential growth of information technology and its impact on organizations has caused leadership in 21st Century organizations to re-examine the necessary workforce skills in a global society. Preparing a workforce that can successfully maneuver the rapid changes in today's workplace is a challenge for any organization. This study examines how successful organizations are making the transition from passive engagement to agility and responsiveness. It also examines knowledge management and organizational learning in the new millenium. The extensive literature review also addresses learning characteristics of adults by generational classifications, particularly as these attributes are related to technology.
The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate, establish, and validate current computer skills of County Extension Agents in the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and to identify technology training needs of next generation employees. Two groups of County Extension Agents (CEAs) were surveyed via an online questionnaire to determine technology training needs for agents who are frequent users of technology and agents who use technology less frequently. The two groups representing different usage patterns were important because a “one size fits all” training program is no longer effective or appropriate. Responses (418) from CEAs were analyzed using descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and Pearson's correlation coefficient.
This study presents a process to determine organizational training needs based on the Borich (1980) Model as further utilized by the Barrick, Ladewig, and Hedges (1983) Study which ranks the training need using weighted scores. This study also establishes and validates a literature-based model that incorporates best technology training practices for adults, focusing on technology training issues.
Results from this study demonstrate a need to strengthen computer technology skills of CEAs and the study provides recommendations for training. This study also indicated that the age of adults is an important factor in technology skill ability and learning preferences. Recommendations from this study combine the best practices of adult learning with appropriate technology training design.
Albright, B.B. Cooperative extension and the information technology era: An assessment of current competencies and future training needs of County Extension Agents. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Texas A&M University. Retrieved March 25, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/p/116166/.
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