Trainees' reaction and learning as a function of training program expectations


With domestic organizations trying to keep pace with foreign competition, changing technology, and employee needs, training expenditures have hit an all time high. This has necessitated a need to explain as much of the transfer of training error variance as possible, so as to help determine, control, and utilize the variables that impact this process the most and keep the associated costs minimized~ Traditionally, this has focused on variables relating to the actual training program content, presentation, and other factors from within and after training. These are all very important; nonetheless, pretraining variables have almost always been ignored or not recognized. Only recently have researchers and practitioners started to attend to these issues. This study concentrated on how pre-training expectations can affect subsequent measures of training effectiveness. Measures of effectiveness, in this case, were defined as the trainee's reaction to the training program and a composite learning score taken immediately after the training and again one week later. The framework for these measures were derived from Kirkpatrick's (1967) hierarchy of training effectiveness, i.e., reaction, learning, behavior, and results. The training employed was a video tape designed to teach better interpersonal communication techniques. It was predicted that subjects who were given high pre-training expectations would respond more favorably to the training and score higher on the learning measures. Also it was hypothesized that no matter what pre-training expectations a subject was given, those that rated the training more favorably would sore higher on the learning measures. The results bore out mixed findings relative to the hypotheses. Pre-training expectation levels did relate significantly to reaction scores, ~(2,79)= 15.466, 2< 0.00001. Planned comparisons revealed that both the high and neutral expectation groups rated the training significantly more positive than did the low expectation group. Pre-training expectation levels did not relate with either learning scores, ~(2,79)= .9401, 2< .3949 (immediately after training), or ~(2,62)= 1.9275, 2< .1541 (after one week). It was also found that independent reaction scores were unrelated to learning scores,~= -.1514 (immediately after training) and~= -.2157 (after one week).


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Graduation Date





Shirkey, Edwin C


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences






57 p.



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Masters Thesis (Open Access)




Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic; Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences

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