An Approach to Identify Effective Learning Outcomes for a Training Program

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Virginia Tech

Low back disorders (LBDs) are one of the most commonly occurring injuries in industry. To attempt to reduce these work-related injuries, billions of dollars are being budgeted for formal training in the U.S. However, the outcomes of this training are below a satisfactory level. The majority of organizations utilize the Four-level Evaluation Model to evaluate their training program. However, previous studies have pointed out some limitations regarding this evaluation model. Moreover, most organizations collect only trainee reaction, the first level of the Four-level Evaluation Model, to determine the effectiveness of their training program. Many studies reveal that trainee reaction is an invalid indicator to determine the effectiveness of a training program, and further suggest multi-dimensional categorization within each level of the Four-level Evaluation.

Therefore, in this study, the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy was employed to enable multidimensional categorization of learning outcomes in a lifting and lowering training program. The learning outcomes of interest in such a training program relate to procedural knowledge and the cognitive process involved are categorized as remembering, understanding, applying, and evaluating the contents of the training program. Two research questions were asked. What types of learning outcomes are most predictive of training performance? How do the learning outcomes predict training performance compared to affective and utility type reactions?

The ability of different types of learning outcomes to predict training performance was tested by multiple regression analyses. The results revealed that apply-procedural learning outcomes and the interaction variable of understand-procedural and apply-procedural learning outcomes were the most predictive of training performance. Further, these learning outcomes were more predictive of training performance than the trainee reactions (affective and utility type reactions) to explain training performance. The results of this study yielded a set of recommendations that may be useful in designing and evaluating lifting and lowering training programs. Moreover, this study examined the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy as a novel method of considering the multidimensional nature of learning and provided a potential application of the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy in the training discipline.

Learning outcomes, Revised Bloom's Taxonomy, Training system