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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Human Resource Management Review, Volume 23, Issue 1, March 2013, Pages 37–49
Employees are increasingly using technology to access content for learning, and theory development has been outpaced by practice. Drawing on a well validated theory of behavior change (the Transtheoretical Model of Change), as well as theories on technology acceptance and employee development, this paper offers an integrative model of factors that influence employee use of e-learning as well as practical recommendations for how use might be increased. Recommendations for future research on e-learning are also offered.
Arguably the most dramatic trend in employee training and development over the last 20 years has been the increased use of technology to deliver training (Brown and Sitzmann, 2011, Heathfield, 2010, Patel, 2010 and Rossett and Sheldon, 2001). Part of what explains this trend is the convergence of technologies used to deliver content. Increasingly, movies, games played via dedicated consoles, books, audio recordings, and even live presentations are all being digitized and delivered via computer and network technologies. In the case of workplace learning, convergence allows learning materials of all kinds to be used by employees, on demand, through a variety of platforms — desktop computers, laptops, cellular “smart” phones, and increasingly agile digital book readers and media players. Digitally transmitted content accessed by employees for purposes of learning work-related knowledge and skill, which we label e-learning, is becoming an increasingly common aspect of work. Concerns have emerged that e-learning often does not live up to its full potential, in part because of low usage rates and high attrition (Bell et al., 2004, Brown, 2001, Brown, 2005, Tyler-Smith, 2006 and Wang, 2010). In short, the availability of an e-learning resource does not ensure its use, let alone its effectiveness as a tool to change employee behavior. Three related streams of research are useful for understanding these concerns, including research on: (1) general information technology usage (e.g., Davis et al., 1989 and Venkatesh and Bala, 2008), (2) employee development broadly defined (e.g., Maurer, Lippstreu, & Judge, 2008), and (3) the limited research focusing directly on e-learning use (e.g., Brown, 2005, Luor et al., 2009 and Wang, 2010). Even though each of these areas offers some insight into e-learning use, no consensus has emerged about the dominant factors that determine employees' usage decisions. This paper seeks to develop a theory, drawing from all three of these research streams, to explain the various factors that influence an individual's use of e-learning. In addition, drawing on the logic of research regarding pre-training interventions and behavior change, the theory incorporates an intervention designed to boost the probability that a given individual will make use of a particular e-learning opportunity. More specifically, we adopt a well-validated model of behavior change, the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM; Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992), as a framework for designing a pre-training intervention to boost e-learning use. In this vein, our model is not intended to be an exhaustive portrayal of e-learning effectiveness, but a theory-driven perspective on the most proximal influences of e-learning usage within a particular context. That is, the primary outcome in our model is use of e-learning, not learning (or transfer) as a result of it. The paper is organized as follows. First, we will offer brief reviews of the literatures on e-learning effectiveness and use, information technology use (specifically through the lens of the Technology Acceptance Model; Davis et al., 1989), participation in employee development, and pre-training interventions. We then describe the TTM and adopt it to this context, offering both a conceptual model and specific research propositions. We conclude with limitations and suggestions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The model we offer examines e-learning use only, and thus does not examine other outcomes, including learning, application, and transfer. While we feel this is appropriate given the need to understand usage as a prerequisite for these other outcomes, we recognize this as a limitation of our theory. Another limitation is the focus on behavioral change. Some training programs are offered for reasons that do not relate to behavioral change. If e-learning is being offered solely for compliance only (without any attending desire for change), then it is possible that other factors, not included in our model, may come into play. For example, employees may be influenced by what they perceived to be the risk to themselves and the organization for not completing the training. Our model is also limited in that we discussed only one type of pre-training intervention — an individualized intervention most similar to the concept of attentional advice. Cannon-Bowers et al. (1998) offer alternative interventions that might be useful for both improving use and learning. In order to keep our model testable, we limited our discussion. A final limitation of the model discussed here is that we have offered a theory-driven, practical recommendation without providing in-depth detail on the intervention to be employed. Future research would be useful to determine the precise features of appropriate interventions beyond what we have spelled out here. We also encourage greater elaboration of the processes of change that would be used for learners in various stages. For example, Prochaska et al. (1992) discuss dramatic relief as one process that is helpful for transition from pre-contemplation to contemplation (see Table 3 for a description). How could this therapeutic technique be adopted to a work setting? Research to examine the relative effectiveness of different approaches is also encouraged. Such research would be most powerful if it was conducted as field experiments — randomizing employees to receive no intervention, targeted intervention using one approach, and targeted intervention using another approach. In this way, the model could be examined as a whole while also experimenting with the details of how to best intervene to improve usage. In this manuscript we have offered a model that advances both theory and practice related to e-learning. Drawing on prior research on pre-training interventions, technology acceptance, and participation in employee development, we summarized the most proximal determinants of e-learning use. Moreover, using a well-established theory of behavior change, we propose a means by which organizations can bolster participation both at the individual and at more collective levels. Guided by this model, we hope that both researchers and practitioners will be able to increase the use of the ever increasing store of digital learning materials available to employees.