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The Learning Environment. Dr. Steve Training & Development INP6325. The Learning Environment. The learning environment includes:. Trainee Readiness. Transfer. Learning Principles. Trainee Readiness.

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the learning environment

The Learning Environment

Dr. Steve

Training & Development


the learning environment1
The Learning Environment

The learning environment includes:






trainee readiness
Trainee Readiness

Trainee Readiness - Trainees won’t learn if they don’t want to (motivation) or can’t (prerequisite KSAs)

  • Prerequisites
    • Trainability Test - Assess trainees aptitude prior to training
      • Provides realistic expectations of necessary job KSAs
      • Assesses trainees’ functional level (baseline)
      • Used to assess training effectiveness
  • Motivation
    • Trainees must believe assessment of their current state is accurate
    • Ensure self-efficacy and internal locus of control
    • Ensure relevance of training outcomes
    • Trainee must value improved performance
trainee readiness1
Trainee Readiness

Design of Training Environments

  • Theories of Learning and Motivation – to create a supportive learning environment
    • Trainees believe they can successfully complete training and that the training will be useful for improving job performance
      • Not every approach is suitable for every situation
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation
  • Social Learning Theory – The cognitive representations of future outcomes generate the motivation for future behavior.
    • Self-efficacy – whether you believe you will succeed affects your behavior
    • Modeling – Learn through watching others

Relevance of SLT to training:

      • Training should develop cognitive, social, & behavioral competencies through modeling
      • Training should improve confidence and self-efficacy
      • Training should improve motivation through establishing goals
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation1
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Social Learning Theory

  • Applications
    • Trainees should experience some level of early success to improve self-efficacy, but also learn to overcome failures
    • Trainees should observe successful models
    • Trainees should receive encouragement to exert effort
  • Examples
    • Role playing to train assertiveness, ethics, com skills, etc
    • Use of video to show good examples
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation2
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Goal Setting– goals serve to motivate trainee to exert effort in order to attain goal

  • Goals:
    • Should be specific and challenging
    • Must be matched to trainee skill level
      • Use intermediate goals to observe progress
    • Must include feedback
    • Must be accepted by trainee
      • Make trainee part of goal setting to increase commitment
  • Examples
    • Athletic training, simulation, gaming, psychomotor
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation3
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Goal Setting Empirical Results

Do your best

Specific hard goal

From Latham & Baldes (1975), “The Practical Significance of Locke’s Theory of Goal Setting,” Journal of Applied Psychology, 60, p.123

trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation4
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Expectancy Theory (VIE) – trainees will exert effort if they believe they can succeed and they value the outcome

  • Assumes:

Effort  Performance  Reward  Goal

Expectancy – belief that performance is related to effort

Instrumentality – belief that performance will be rewarded

Valence – the degree that reward is valued

  • Application: training should ensure high levels of each
  • Example: skills training for piece meal jobs where improving output will lead to higher compensation
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation5
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Reinforcement Theory – Based on “Law of Effect” that if consequences of a behavior are good, the likelihood of repeating that behavior is increased.

  • SD: R - - Sr+
    • SD- Discriminative stimulus – sets stage for R
    • R – Response – behavior
    • Sr+ - Reinforcing stimulus – money, praise, recognition, day off, etc.
  • Application: Shape behavior to reduce tardiness and absences, increase productivity, etc.
  • Example: Every time worker arrives on time during the week has name put in lottery for Friday drawing
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation6
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation
  • Principles for using Reinforcement:
    • Should be given immediately after response (KOR or feedback)
    • Reinforce every correct response, UNTIL the behavior is learned
    • When behavior is learned switch to intermittent schedules of reinforcement
      • This will increase resistance to extinction
    • Punishment should not be included in training
      • Often wrong behavior is punished such as trying
      • Punishment suppresses behavior, doesn’t eliminate it
      • Leads to negative emotional side effects
trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation7
Variable Ratio

Fixed Ratio

Variable Interval

Fixed Interval

Cumulative Responses

Time (Minutes)

Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Schedules of Reinforcement

trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation8





Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Need Theories – Training only motivating if it meets the needs of trainees

  • Find out what motivates trainees
    • Ex: If nAch allow early success, If nAff allow teamwork

Maslow McClelland




trainee readiness theories of learning and motivation9
Trainee Readiness Theories of Learning and Motivation

Equity Theory -A social comparison theory that asks, “Is the ratio of what you receive from your job as compared to what you put in the same proportion as that of other workers?”

  • Is (Input / Outcome) self = (Input / Outcome) other?
  • Inputs – education level, intelligence, experience, effort, skill, expertise
  • Outcomes – pay, benefits, status, recognition, working conditions
  • Training as an input (“I have training in this area”) or training as an outcome (“I was promised this training”)
learning principles
Learning Principles
  • Learning principles gained from psychological study, such as feedback, distribution of practice, meaningfulness of content, etc. are insufficient for designing effective training (Gagne, 1962).
    • Must:
      • Identify individual components of task
      • Develop instruction for each component
      • Sequence instruction optimally
learning principles1
Learning Principles

Gagne’s Instructional Theory – Different categories of things to be learned require different learning conditions.

  • Five Categories
    • Intellectual Skills (procedural knowledge)
      • How to rules
    • Verbal Information (declarative knowledge)
      • What
    • Cognitive Strategies
      • Knowing when and how to use procedural or declarative knowledge
    • Motor Skills
      • Muscle activity, sports, driving, etc.
    • Attitudes
      • Preferences
learning principles2
Learning Principles

ACT* Model of Learning – three stage model of progression from novice to expertise

  • Declarative Learning – facts, book knowledge
    • Performance is slow and choppy, relies on verbal memory
  • Knowledge Compilation – apply rules to the declarative knowledge
    • Performance is deliberate, learner is occupied w/following rules
  • Procedural Knowledge – knowing how
    • Smooth performance, frees up cognitive resources to do other things
learning principles3
Learning Principles

Fleishman’s Task Taxonomy– particular KSAs necessary to conduct a task may change throughout the course of the task

  • Reaction time: speed required to respond to stimulus
    • Ex: Assembly-line work
  • Multi-limb coordination: coordinated movement of several limbs in the operation of a control
    • Driving a manual transmission truck
  • Gross body equilibrium: control of balance w/non-visual cues
    • gymnast
learning principles4
Learning Principles

Massed vs. Distributive Practice

  • Distributive practice better because
    • Learner avoids fatigue (not practicing wrong behavior)
    • Gives learner chance to consolidate information
    • Better recall likely if learned under variety of settings
  • Application
    • Cramming for a test may benefit immediate response, but hinders retention. Distributive study allows information to be consolidated and built upon
    • Practicing free throws or pitching while fatigued means practicing bad mechanics
learning principles5
Learning Principles

Organizers – Cues that allow learner to take advantage of existing knowledge

    • Advanced Organizers – prior to training to prepare trainee
    • Comparative Organizers – later in training to help clarify distinctions
  • Organizers
    • Focus attention on important components of information
    • Organize incoming information
    • Show relationship between new and existing information
  • Application
    • Providing initial outline of what is to come
learning principles6
Learning Principles

Whole vs. Part task learning

  • Whole – practice task as a single unit
    • Application – use w/ high inter-relationship among parts
    • Ex: learning to ride a bicycle (steering, balance, pedaling must be learned at same time)
  • Part – learn individual components of task separately, then join together later (segmentation)
    • Identify task components that are NOT interdependent
    • Identify most important components
    • De-emphasize certain components
    • Application – use w/ low inter-relationship among components, or when tapping different types of memory
    • Ex: learning to build cabinets (cutting, joining, finishing learned and mastered separately)
learning principles7
Learning Principles
  • Guided Training- (training wheels) – preventslearner from making catastrophic errors
    • Avoids confusion in learning complex tasks
    • Don’t eliminate errors altogether (they’re learning material), but keep from making errors that impair learning
learning principles8
Learning Principles
  • Overlearning - practice above & beyond that necessary for errorless performance
    • Increases resistance to extinction (improves retention)
    • Increases the ease of “re-learning”
    • Decreases reaction time
    • May lead to automaticity
  • Application
    • Motor skill training

Overlearning 


Practice Trials

learning principles9
Learning Principles
  • Above Real-Time Training -practice trials that are faster than would be experienced on the job
    • Difficulty of practice assumed to make actual task seem easier.
      • Like swinging a weighted baseball bat in warm-ups then switching to standard bat in the game
    • Equivocal results in the research
      • Violates other principles for enhancing transfer (“train as you fight”)
learning principles10
Learning Principles

Mental Models – how people mentally represent the task they are performing

  • Represent & organize info by interconnected chunks (schema)
  • Experts organize schemata into larger, more meaningful/ easy to access chunks.
  • Novices may no see all relevant connections
    • Use mnemonic devices to help novices organize and retrieve info
learning principles11
Learning Principles

Feedback – knowledge of results (KOR)


  • Information: allows learner to adjust response
  • Motivation: provides goal to decrease diff between actual and ideal performance
  • Reinforcement: praise or self-satisfaction in being right
    • Practice by itself is not training – must include feedback
    • Practice w/out feedback may teach wrong skills
learning principles12
Learning Principles

Feedback Applications

  • Must be perceived accurately (negative feedback may be seen as personal attack)
  • Belief in accuracy of feedback
  • Too much feedback may lead to external LOC
  • Negative feedback often delayed
  • Individual differences in acceptance of feedback
learning principles13
Learning Principles

Schmidt & Bjork (1992) challenge the basic tenets of feedback – focus on maximizing training performance may be harmful in long run

  • Increased task variability in practice leads to worse training performance, but improved generalizability
  • Transfer and retention (behavior criteria) may be better indicators of training effectiveness than skill acquisition (learning criteria)
  • Immediate feedback better, but
    • Infrequent feedback improves retention (intermittent schedule of reinforcement)
    • Too frequent feedback becomes integrated part of task making it artificial and preventing normal cognitive processing
    • May use guided training to wean trainee off of feedback
    • Delayed feedback aids in generalizing to other stimulus events

Transfer of Training – how well learning in one environment, enhances performance in another.

  • Positive Transfer – learning training task improves performance on actual task
  • Negative Transfer – learning training task decreases performance on actual task
    • caused when one learns different response to same or similar stimulus.
    • old response competes with new response for same stimulus.
    • must unlearn old response
        • ex: when switching from Lotus 1-2-3 to Excel software, the spreadsheets look the same, but require different commands for creating formulas and specifying cell ranges.

Transfer paradigms


Maximize transfer by:

  • Increase similarity of training stimulus and response to actual task’s stimulus and response (High Fidelity)
    • Caution: Highest fidelity not necessarily the best approach
      • Trainees may have difficulty on actual task due to its complexity, making training more complex just makes it harder to learn
  • Organizational Climate must be conducive to transfer
    • Supportive of using new skills
    • Reward appropriate behavior, encourage trainees to stick with it despite initial errors
    • Spell out expectations before training begins
    • Identify potential obstacles & possible strategies for overcoming
instructional guidelines
Instructional Guidelines
  • Use Advance Organizers: At beginning of training, the material/media should clearly inform the trainee of the learning objectives
  • Provide Knowledge of Results: During practice provide students with immediate knowledge of results about correct and incorrect answers
  • Develop Mental Models: Emphasize distinctive features which can be remembered in the form of mental pictures instead of abstract words
    • e.g. diagrams, pictures, charts, acronyms
  • Segment Training: Break down the overall learning task into manageable steps or unit when any of the following conditions exist:
    • lower ability students, complex material, & overall task composed of small parts
  • Part-task / Whole-task Training: Provide learner practice on specific components of the task for: a) simple task-practice in entirety, & b) complex task-practice in parts and then in entirety

Qualities of a good trainer

  • Well organized/prepared
  • Outlines what is expected
  • Designs the sequence of learning materials
  • Emphasizes conceptual understanding
  • Lectures are well organized
  • Answers questions clearly
  • Uses examples
  • Sets difficult, but attainable goals
  • Demonstrates usefulness of material
  • Uses visual aids effectively
  • Enthusiastic

Checklist for instructor preparedness

  • Publicized program
  • Informed all about time and place
  • Arranged details of meeting room
  • Checked physical requirements for session (seating, AV)
  • Prepared necessary materials (handouts, slides, etc.)
  • Made sure equipment is working with backup (overhead)
  • Established training session objective
  • Studied the lesson plan (points, questions, examples)
training recommendations
Training Recommendations
  • Instruction should be consistent with cognitive, physical, and psychomotor processes of mastery
  • Learner should be induced to practice behavior or recall information (Active Learning)
  • Feedback should be accurate, credible, timely, and constructive
  • Training should increase self-efficacy and valence
  • Training methods should fit trainees aptitude and prior KSAs