Factors associated with training managers' adoption of computers as a teaching tool in their training units

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The purpose of this study was to determine if various predictor variables, the personal characteristics of training managers and the characteristics of the organizational training units represented by these individuals, exist in explaining a criterion variable, the adoption of computers as tools for training in business and industry. Another question addressed a combination of variables to predict training managers' utilization of computers in business and industry.

For collecting data, a 10% random sample was drawn from the 21,800 individuals who were 1984 members of the American Society for Training and Development. From this sample of individuals, those members who represent training units in business and industry and had titles of training executives, training managers, or training directors were surveyed. Information concerning representation of training managers was found in the 1984 Who's Who in Training and Development.

A mailed questionnaire was used to collect data related to the personal characteristics of training managers and the organization training units that were represented by these managers. The questionnaire used in this research was designed so that the respondents could record their answers on the instrument. These data were then transferred to a computer data file for statistical analysis using SPSSX.

Of the 505 individuals responding, 45.1% (n = 228) used computers in training and 54.9% (n = 277) were not using computers in training. Computer users most frequently indicated using microcomputers to deliver their training programs and the most often cited location for training was in decentralized areas. The tutorial instruction strategy was stated as being used by an excess of 90% of the respondents and over 75% indicated using either problem/test or drills. Also, over 50% indicated using the following computer-based training application: technical skills, management training, clerical training, computer literacy training and training management. Respondents utilizing computers noted that a mean of 14% of their total training effort was accomplished via the computer.

With regard to personal characteristics, age, training years experience, experience with present organization and level of education did not appear to be predictor variables in determining the adoption of computers by training managers. However, computer knowledge/skills seem to indicate predictor variables for determining adoption. This study identified six such variables: owning a personal computer, using a computer on the job, reading computer literature on training, participating in computer-assisted instructional programs, receiving computer-based training prior to being a training manager and writing computer programs. In addition, a significant difference was found between computer users and non-users on the attitude dimension of whether computer-based training was welcomed into the organization's training delivery system and whether computer-based training would assist in making training managers more efficient at their job.

Characteristics of the organizational training units represented in this study appeared to indicate predictor variables for the adoption of computer-based training. The variables identified in this research were the size of the organization as indicated by the number of employees and the annual corporate income of the organization.