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Corporate training: Strategies adults use to learn from self-paced, technology-based instruction

, University of Colorado at Denver, United States

University of Colorado at Denver . Awarded


This was an exploratory, qualitative research study that investigated how adults, in corporations, learned from self-paced, technology-based instruction. The goal of this investigation was to identify strategies instructional designers can use, when designing self-paced, technology-based corporate training, to help adults construct their own knowledge.

The research methodology was a series of qualitative interviews with volunteers from three different international, “high-tech” corporations. Three volunteers participated in the pilot study; seven volunteers participated in the full study. Participants selected and took self-paced, technology-based courses, offered by their corporation, which were relevant to their current or near-future employment responsibilities. Two participants took a course delivered from a CDROM and the other five participants took courses delivered from either the Internet or a secure intranet.

Results indicated knowledge construction began with metacognition, as participants assessed their understanding and focused on topics that confused them. Participants resolved their confusion by reflecting on three time-frames: the past and their prior experiences, the present and how the new information applied to their current job responsibilities, and the future and how the course content might apply to new responsibilities.

Results also indicated that participants constructed knowledge using a variety of different strategies: 11 metacognition strategies, 11 reflection strategies, 10 prior experience strategies, six conversation strategies, and six authentic experience strategies. Participants also identified 15 course features that either facilitated or inhibited their knowledge construction. Six of those features were generative learning strategies and nine were not.

This research indicates that knowledge construction for adults taking self-paced, technology-based corporate training starts with and is sustained by metacognition. It also indicates that learners control and construct their knowledge and they do it to meet their needs, based on their prior experiences, their current responsibilities, and their expectations of future responsibilities. Thus, instructional designers of self-paced, technology-based corporate training must evaluate all of their designs and instructional strategies in terms of how well they facilitate and support metacognition. They must also design self-paced, technology-based corporate training such that it is easy for learners to manipulate it and personalize the content. That is, they must accept that whatever they design, learners will inevitably change it and that is exactly what learners are supposed to do.


Dobrovolny, J.L. Corporate training: Strategies adults use to learn from self-paced, technology-based instruction. Ph.D. thesis, University of Colorado at Denver. Retrieved November 18, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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