PDA 675: Factors Driving Business Value in Learning

This paper is my final assignment in the course on learning theories. We had to do a literature review on any topic of our choice. I’ve always been interested in how to achieve more value in learning interventions and the programme is centred on IT and Learning. I reviewed research around the Technology Acceptance Model (popular in the IT world), and how factors of each seem to affect the levels of learning effectiveness evaluation proposed by the the Kirkpatrick model (popular in corporate learning).


Learning leaders have a wealth of indicative variables available to leverage in their design and delivery of learning programmes. Some recommendations one can take from them in terms of learning technology:

  • An impression of user-friendliness is important for a positive reaction, but it is not as important as Perceived Usefulness. Look to how to maximise the organisational and social factors which can convince learners that a training intervention will benefit them, and they will tolerate useability challenges to get their expected reward.
  • One cannot assume that even computer-savvy learners are comfortable with learning systems, and Computer Self-Efficacy powerfully predicts whether they will have a positive experience. Although it’s always desirable to make a system as user-friendly as possible, some aspects of a user interface may be outside the organisation’s control. It is therefore sensible to always include content orienting the learner to the systems they will need to master in order to complete their training.
  • If a learner who has completed a training intervention still believes the subject matter was difficult, it is highly unlikely the training intervention will have been worth the investment. A question on the end-of-course quiz will help trainers to identify these learners and offer additional coaching.
  • Organisational and social support variables have a consistent positive impact all the way through to transfer of learning on the job. As a learning professional one can’t micromanage every single line manager or colleague, but one can require proof of learner conversations with their leadership as part of the instructional design. For example, a standard guideline for a post-training one-to-one with the manager could include planning for opportunities to practice the new skill, to share with the rest of the team, and defining how the team can support the learner going forward.

One disappointing aspect of all the literature in this domain was that it was based on self-reporting by learners. No study endeavored to compare user acceptance or transfer using empirical data based on behaviour.

Here is my final detailed paper.