Article
ISSN: 2348-3784
An Empirical Study on Effectiveness of
Web Based Training Methods
M. Ramakrishnan
Digital Object Identifier: 10.23837/tbr/2017/v5/n1/149498
Abstract
In the globalised corporate world, web based technology is being used as tool for imparting training to
employees beyond geographical boundaries of the organization at a minimal cost. This study is aimed at
evaluating
effectiveness
of
Web
Based
Training
(WBT)
and
also
explored
the
effect
of
selective
demographic variables such as age, team size, education and income. Empirical analysis supported that
learning out come from using WBT method , by and large, affected by factors like mental focus of trainees,
technical difficulties encountered during learning and to a lesser degree dimensions like self efficacy of
trainees,negativethoughts hadan impact onlearning outcome.
Key words: Technical difficulties,Selfefficacy,Negative thought,Mental focus,Meta focus.
Introduction
Advent of globalization of Indian corporate has created enormous thrust to improve the competency
levels of people at all levels in line with multinational organizational standards of performance. Human,
as an element of key resource in any business, has been emerging in a fast phase as critical
differentiator of business outcome. This trend is observed not only in IT / ITES sectors but also in
manufacturing industries look for competent workforce for improving business results. Web Based
Training (WBT) has come handy for the professional trainers to cover up infinite population with a least
cost and use this method as an effective approach. It is necessary to understand impediments in
implementation of WBT methods for imparting knowledge and skills. In India, web based learning are
offered by many lead institutions, professional associations and corporate spreading its units globally at
different locations for enhancing levels of competency. However very little attempt has been made by
the scholars to examine effectiveness of web based approach in delivering training. There are many
successful studies on web-based training reported in the literature but most of these evaluated students
in
a
special
environment
such
as
university
campuses
or
were
restricted
to
computer-savvy
professionals in certain specialties or settings. Hence this study is undertaken to investigate and find
solutions for enhancing usage of web based approach as an effective training tools since multiple
locationsemployees would be main sourcetrue challengesfortraining professionals.
ReviewofLiterature
Future
of
training
instructional
model
hinges
on
virtual
classrooms
using
web
based
training
instructions. Technology takes a centre stage of delivering of training instructions and trainees /
learners through web enabled programmes confront with a variety of workplace and technological
interruptions. It is quite often found that web based instructions to learner
adopts simulation
techniques to impart training. In the whole process of imparting knowledge, technology occupies core
control determinant of quality deliverables. Technological interruptions significantly relate with some
of
the
dimensions
such
interruption
(frequency,
duration
and
timing)
content
(relevance
and
complexity). In general, interruption frequency affects the mental focus, meta cognitions and learning
Dr. M. Ramakrishnan, Sr., VP- HR Loyal Textiles Ltd., Chennai- 28,Tamilnadu, India. Email:
ramakrishnan@loyaltextiles.com (Corresponding Author)
An Empirical Study on Effectiveness of Web Based Training Methods
27
speed of the trainees and at times technical interruptions might lead to more attrition (dropping out or
withdrawing from programs) of trainees and at times technical interruption causes dissociation of
trainees from the effective learning process. Some of the notable scholars on the subjects are reviewed
briefly with a view to gain right perspectives in to web based training related stream research and
relatedliterature.
Noe (2011) suggests that many new technologies have features which ensure perfect learning and
transfer of learning at work place. Present technologies provide variety of options to the trainers such
as Computer based training, CD-ROM, Internet, Intra net, E-learning, Distance Learning, Intelligent
tutoring, simulations and virtual reality. Training related to operation of machineries, tools and
equipment can be best imparted using Virtual reality and intelligent tutoring. Technologies like CD-
ROM, internet, intranet and E-learning are best suited for teaching facts, figures, cognitive strategies and
interpersonal skills. Training delivered on public or private computer networks and displayed by web
browser or in other word Internet based training. Baldwin-Evans (2004) selected a sample of 200
employees across 16 organizations and 14 countries to examine what percentage of trainees complete
web based training programs. The study findings confirm that 77 percent of those surveyed expressed
their inability to complete courses in one attempt due to various interruptions such as time constraints,
work place interruptions etc., Welsh, Wanberg, Brown and Simmering (2003) found that technical
difficulties are considered as one of the main causes for higher attrition rate in web based training and
poor levels of learning while comparing with traditional methods of training. North, Strain and Abbolt
(2000) viewed that trainees experienced frustrations arising from technical difficulties in the web based
training
and
that
led
to
have
negative
impact
on
satisfaction
levels
with
the
instructional
experience(Wentling, Park and Pieper, 2007). Yeo and Neal (2004) argued that self efficacy of trainees
is another important dimension in learning process. It is found from growing body of research that
individual differences influence trainees self regulatory processes and learning ability over a period of
time. Specier et.al., (2003) identified technological difficulties, self efficacy, negative thoughts, mental
focus,metacognition are some of the broader issues influence learning through web based training.
Above review provides a scope for selecting appropriate variables for undertaking effectiveness study
in web based training and hypothesesareframedonthe basisof reviewedliterature.
Operational Definitionsof Variables
The following variables are selected for the purpose of understanding WBT influence on learning
outcome from the web basedtraining.
Technical difficulties: It is an interruption that occurs while learning through web based
training
whichbrakescontinuityofcognitive processonalearning.
Self Efficacy: Trainees confidence levels in both their computer skills and their ability to overcome
technicaldifficultiesfor enhancinglearningvalues.
Negative thoughts: Trainees’ thought process while undergoing WBT arising from technology, lack of
clarityon training content,andthelike.
Mentalfocus: Trainees’ abilitytoconcentrateandabsorb into learningthrough WBT.
MetaCognition:Trainees’knowledgelevelsandcontrol over learningprocess
Learning: Knowledge acquired from WBT is assessed at the end of each learning event by making
trainees to respondforspecificmultiple choice assessmenttoolsbasedonthecontentsoftraining.
TSM Business Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2017
28
An Empirical Study on Effectiveness of Web Based Training Methods
Objectives
Thisstudyidintended to explore thefollowing research areas:
(a) Assessthelevelsof effectivenessofweb basedlearning
(b) Examinedemographicimpactonlearning ability throughweb based learning.
Hypotheses
Ho1There is
no
significant
perceptual
differences
that
exist
towards
study
dimensions
such
as
technological difficulties, self efficacy, negative thoughts, mental focus, meta cognition and learning
onthe basisof selective demographicvariableslike age group, team size, education andincome.
Ha
1:
There
is
significant
perceptual
differences
that
exist
towards
study
dimensions
such
as
technological difficulties, self efficacy, negative thoughts, mental focus, meta cognition and learning
onthe basisof selective demographicvariableslike age group, team size, education andincome.
Ho2: Study dimensions such as technological difficulties, self efficacy, negative thoughts, mental focus,
andMetacognitionare notsignificantlyrelated by explaining varianceinLearningfrom WBT.
Ha2: Study dimensions such as technological difficulties, self efficacy, negative thoughts, mental focus,
andMetacognitionaresignificantlyrelated by explainingvariance in Learningfrom WBT.
Methods
This study was conducted in manufacturing organization having manufacturing units at multiple
locations globally. The organization offered one specific web based training programs recently with an
objective of imparting knowledge to their staff members in Integrated management system ( ISO –
standards meant for QMS,EMS & OSHAS ) and the same was taken for assessment of effectiveness of
web based training. A total of 457 questionnaire instruments were administered and 307 responded.
Out of this valid 300 questionnaires were used for this study. The response rate was 67 percent. All
employees of the organization, who had participated in the said web based training program, received
instruments. The decision to include all participants of the program was made in anticipation of a low
response rateandthe paucityoftimeto follow upfor abetter response rate.
Measurement
Based on literature review, the questionnaire was designed and each study dimensions had specific
items for measurements viz., technological difficulties (5 items), self efficacy (7items), negative thoughts
(5 items), mental focus (6 items), and meta cognition (6 items). All these predictor variables of learning
were measuredwithfive pointscale
(1= strongly disagree, 2= disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly Disagree).Learning, as dependent
variable, was assessed by administering 20 items as memory recall test after completion of training and
scores were taken and graduated as 0-100 percent. The reliability and validity of questionnaire was
ensured through cronbatch alpha values and eliciting views from specialist professional trainers.
FurtherPilot studyhas provided formaking necessary changesin questionnaire.
Analysis
The descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation computed values are given in the table
no 1.
These mean values are presented in reference to the five point scale used in the questionnaire for
a meaningful analysis.
The scores of the negative statements (reverse) in the questionnaire are
reversed for computing the mean values.
Analysis of the data provided in Table No.1 reveals that the
over all mean score of technological difficulties occupy first position in relative ranking and other
variables are placed in descending orders of self efficacy, learning, mental focus, negative thoughts, and
meta cognition on the basis of computed mean values.
The mean ranking indicated
that the
technological difficulties, self efficacy, and learning occupy more towards positive higher end of scale
continuum comparatively and rest of the study variable viz. mental focus, negative thoughts, and meta
TSM Business Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2017