The relationship between training design and trainee differences on training outcomes: An experimental investigation of the treatment of socialization and training content in the e-learning environment
Regina Yanson, State University of New York at Albany, United States
State University of New York at Albany . Awarded
For e-learning initiatives to succeed, they must be designed to support a variety of trainees, methods, and content. Two important considerations in the design of any learning environment are the complexity of the tasks being learned and the socialization and connections of the trainees. Therefore, the goal of this research was to investigate how different levels of complexity and trainee socialization affect training outcomes in an e-learning environment. Given the importance of additional trainee and environment factors, a model of e-learning effectiveness was proposed in which the mediating roles of engagement, social presence, and motivation to learn are considered. To examine the model, a training experiment utilizing a 4 X 2 between group factorial design was conducted. A total of 252 undergraduate students participated in the study. Although the results did not support the complete model, there were several interesting findings. First, socialization was found to have a significant negative, relationship with trainee performance. Second, increased training complexity was related to poorer training performance. Third, although neither complexity nor socialization affected satisfaction, socialization had a negative impact on utility judgments. Fourth, although course design and trainee characteristics did not mediate the relations between socialization, complexity, and course outcomes, evidence indicated their importance in e-learning. Fifth, engagement was positively related to trainee satisfaction and training utility. Sixth, social presence was not found to be significantly related to trainee performance, satisfaction, or perceived training utility. Finally, motivation to learn was positively related to trainee performance, satisfaction, and perceived training utility.
Several contributions to the field of e-learning resulted from this dissertation study. First, this study served as a bridge between research conducted on e-learning in several different fields (IS, education, and business) as well as research from the well-established area of traditional training and development. Second, this study was one of the first in which training complexity and socialization were manipulated in a single study. Finally, understanding of the design and trainee factors that can affect e-learning outcomes was expanded. Implications for practitioners, as well as future research possibilities, were discussed.
Yanson, R. The relationship between training design and trainee differences on training outcomes: An experimental investigation of the treatment of socialization and training content in the e-learning environment. Ph.D. thesis, State University of New York at Albany.
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