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EXAMINING TRANSFER OF TRAINING AND LEARNER ATTITUDE THROUGH A HOLISTIC VIEW: WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT TRAINING DESIGN?
thesisposted on 2021-07-09, 20:47 authored by Mohan YangMohan Yang
This dissertation consists of three independent studies under an overarching research question. The purpose of the dissertation is to explore learners’ attitudes from a multi-dimensional construct consisting of affective, cognitive, and behavioral components and the role of attitude in the transfer of training. In the first study, I systematically reviewed 37 relevant empirical studies to identify what attitudinal factors have been studied and their findings on the attitudinal influences on transfer. The results revealed that existing studies looked at attitude from singular dimensions rather than from a holistic perspective. Though conflicting findings regarding the relationship between attitudinal factors and transfer were found due to different measurements in the studies, overall, each attitude dimension exerts significant impacts on learners’ transfer. Chapter 3 is the second study based on an educational outreach training program. I selected five participants representing five different cases to explore learners’ attitudes in the program as well as their perceived importance of attitude. Participants overall had positive affective reactions (e.g., satisfaction), cognitive perceptions (e.g., confidence, perceived value), and active behavioral responses (e.g., behavioral intention) toward various aspects of the program despite some reported challenges. Their perceived levels of transfer were much higher than those reported in the existing literature. The cognitive dimension was perceived to be closely related to their transfer, while affective and behavioral dimensions were not mentioned extensively across the cases. Recommendations for training design are provided, such as integrating underlying learning principles and consider signature pedagogies from multiple disciplines. Chapter 4 is a sequential explanatory mixed-methods study based on the same educational outreach program mentioned in chapter 2. In this quantitative strand I tested the attitude-transfer relation with regression analyses and Spearman’s rank correlation analysis. The multiple regression results showed that attitude with all three components considered is significantly related to transfer. The sequential regression analysis showed that the base model with cognitive dimension significantly predicts transfer while the addition of affective and behavioral variables did not add significance to the model. Spearman’s rank correlation showed that each of the attitudinal variables is related to transfer at different significant levels. The qualitative strand provided explanations and rich descriptions for the quantitative findings. The qualitative data and the design of the program provided insights into learning design for positive attitude and transfer of learning. Taken together, the studies recommended that future research study attitude as a multi-dimensional construct with pre-established criteria and validated items in measuring attitude so that a holistic picture can be obtained in understanding the attitude-transfer link. In designing and facilitating learning programs, learners’ attitudes with all three dimensions included need to be considered for transfer of learning.