Tag Archives: Sitzmann

Approaching evaluation from a multilevel perspective: A comprehensive analysis of the indicators of training effectiveness

Traci Sitzmann, Justin M Weinhardt
Human Resource Management Review, Vol. 29, Issue 2, Pages 253-269

We propose a multilevel framework that addresses the criteria that can be used to assess training effectiveness at the within-person, between-person, and macro levels of analysis. Specifically, we propose four evaluation taxatraining utilization, affect, performance, and financial impactas well as the specific evaluation metrics that can be captured to examine the facets of each taxon. Our multilevel framework also clarifies the appropriate level of analysis for assessing each criterion variable and articulates when it …
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Advancing training for the 21st century

Traci Sitzmann, Justin M Weinhardt
Human Resource Management Review,Vol. 29, Issue 2, Pages: 137-139.
A PsycINFO search using the terms learning, training, or development returns over 1.6 million resultsan astronomical knowledge base for guiding decisions on the design, delivery, evaluation, and optimization of training effectiveness. Despite this research, the thirst for knowledge about this essential human resource management function remains insatiable. This Human Resource Management Review Special Issue on Training and Developing in the 21st Century aims to advance the literature a step further. We brought together experts renowned for their knowledge of the learning process to review what is already known and tell us where the field needs to go in the upcoming decades.The goal of this overview to the special issue is to provide historical information about the current state of training and how the manuscripts covered in this issue advance this knowledge base. The manuscripts cluster around four

Revolutionizing training and education? Three questions regarding massive open online courses (MOOCs)

Justin M Weinhardt, Traci Sitzmann
Human Resource Management Review,Vol. 29, Issue 2, Pages: 218-225.
MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course and represents an instructional approach that permits hundreds of thousands of students to access online courses anywhere around the world and typically free of charge. There have been a number of stories in the popular press suggesting that MOOCs may revolutionize training and education, but evidence regarding the instructional effectiveness of MOOCs is primarily anecdotal and overarching statistics reveal that the vast majority of students drop out before completing these courses. We pose three questions that need to be answered about the use and effectiveness of MOOCs before MOOCs can be considered a credible and useful instructional approach: 1) Who enrolls in MOOCs and why do they enroll? 2) Are students self-aware and able to self-regulate their learning in MOOCs? 3) Are MOOCs effective and how can we maximize their effectiveness?

A process model linking occupational strength to attitudes and behaviors: The explanatory role of occupational personality heterogeneity.

Traci Sitzmann, Robert E Ployhart, Youngsang Kim
Journal of Applied Psychology,Vol. 104, Issue 2, Pages: 247.
This study proposes a mediated process model that seeks to explain how occupational strength influences personality heterogeneity, ultimately affecting attitudes and behaviors. Specifically, it proposes that strong occupations restrict personality heterogeneity (defined as the extent to which there is variability in incumbents’ personalities), which mediates the effect of occupational strength on work-related outcomes. Using a sample of 178,087 individuals employed in 315 occupations, the results indicate that strong occupations (operationalized as having high task significance) had advantageous effects on occupational satisfaction, tenure, and turnover intentions, and these effects were partially mediated by personality heterogeneity. Task significance had a negative effect on personality heterogeneity, and personality heterogeneity led to less favorable attitudes and behaviors. The occupational autonomy

Training engagement theory: A multilevel perspective on the effectiveness of work-related training

Traci Sitzmann, Justin M Weinhardt
Journal of Management,Vol. 44, Issue 2, Pages: 732-756.
Training engagement theory provides a multilevel depiction of the antecedents of training effectiveness. By multilevel, we are referring both to the hierarchical nature of constructssuch that employees are embedded in organizations and workgroupsand the temporal nature of processesemphasizing that macro and within-person processes are not static phenomena. The hierarchical nature of training engagement theory provides a broad account of how processes at various levels in the organizational hierarchy influence one another and contribute to the success or failure of training programs. The temporal nature of the theory advocates for examining the processes that occur from before training is conceptualized until the completion of training when examining the antecedents of training effectiveness. Thus, training engagement theory proposes a sequence model of the independent and joint effects of

The dynamic effects of subconscious goal pursuit on resource allocation, task performance, and goal abandonment

Traci Sitzmann, Bradford S Bell
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,Vol. 138, Pages: 1-14.

We test two potential boundary conditions for the effects of subconscious goalsthe nature of the goal that is activated (achievement vs. underachievement) and conscious goal striving. Subconscious achievement goals increase the amount of time devoted to skill acquisition, and this increase in resource allocation leads to higher performance when conscious goals are neutral. However, specific conscious goals undermine the performance benefits of subconscious achievement goals. Subconscious underachievement goals …
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The survey effect: Does administering surveys affect trainees’ behavior?

Traci Sitzmann, Mo Wang
Learning and Individual Differences, Volume 37, January 2015,  Pages 1-12

This research demonstrates a survey effect, such that the act of administering  surveys alters training effectiveness. Two aspects of survey administration were  manipulated: the number of survey questions per training module (ranged from 1 to 30  across experimental conditions) and the type of survey questions (self-regulation or trainee reactions) across two studies focusing on self-administered online training. The number of survey questions had an indirect, negative effect on learning via the amount of time spent …

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful: Acknowledging appearance mitigates the “beauty is beastly” effect

Stefanie K Johnson, Traci Sitzmann, Anh Thuy Nguyen
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 125 Issue 2, November 2014, Pages 184-192

Physically attractive women are discriminated against when applying for masculine sex-typed jobs, a phenomenon known as the beauty is beastly  effect. We conducted three studies to establish an intervention for mitigating the beauty is beastly effect and to determine mediators and moderators of the intervention. As expected, physically attractive women were rated higher in employment suitability when they acknowledged that their sex or physical appearance is incongruent with the typical applicant for a masculine sex-typed

The paradox of seduction by irrelevant details: How irrelevant information helps and hinders self-regulated learning

Traci Sitzmann, Stefanie Johnson
Learning and Individual Differences, Volume 34 Aigist 2014, Pages 1-11

Instructors often rely on seductive details, such as jokes, stories, and video clips, to keep trainees entertained. However, this extraneous information may inadvertently detract from the course content, and the between-person nature of past research precludes understanding the dynamic process by which seductive details influence learning. Using a
repeated measures field study, we found that seductive details indirectly improved learning performance by reducing negative affect and indirectly hindered learning performance by …

A Meta‐Analytic Investigation of the Within‐Person Self‐Efficacy Domain: Is Self‐Efficacy a Product of Past Performance or a Driver of Future Performance?

Traci Sitzmann, Gillian Yeo
Personnel Psychology, Volume 66 Issue 3, September 2013, Pages 531-568

We conducted a meta-analysis to determine whether the within-person self-efficacy/performance relationship is positive, negative, or null and to compare the strength of the self-efficacy/performance and past performance/self-efficacy within-person relationships. The self-efficacy/performance within-person corrected correlation was .23 but was weak and nonsignificant (ρ = .06) when controlling for the linear trajectory, revealing that the main effect was spurious. The past performance/self-efficacy within-person corrected correlation was .40 and remained positive and significant (ρ = .30) when controlling for the linear trajectory. The moderator results revealed that at the within-person level of analysis: (a) self-efficacy had at best a moderate, positive effect on performance and a null effect under other moderating conditions (ρ ranged from –.02 to .33); (b) the main effect of past performance on self-efficacy was stronger than the effect of self-efficacy on performance, even in the moderating conditions that produced the strongest self-efficacy/performance relationship; (c) the effect of past performance on self-efficacy ranged from moderate to strong across moderating conditions and was statistically significant across performance tasks, contextual factors, and methodological moderators (ρ ranged from .18 to .52). Overall, this suggests that self-efficacy is primarily a product of past performance rather than the driving force affecting future performance.

The best laid plans: Examining the conditions under which a planning intervention improves learning and reduces attrition.

Sitzmann, Traci; Johnson, Stefanie K.
Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 97 Issue 5, Sep 2012, 967-981

Planning plays an instrumental role in prominent self-regulation theories (e.g., action regulation, control, goal setting), yet as a scientific community we know little about how people carry out their learning plans. Using an experimental field study, we implemented a repeated-measures intervention requiring trainees to create a plan for when, where, and how much time they intended to devote to training before each of 4 online modules and examined the conditions under which the planning intervention improved learning and reduced attrition. Trainees benefited from the planning intervention when it was paired with another intervention—prompting self-regulation—targeting self-regulatory processes that occur subsequent to planning (e.g., monitoring, concentration, learning strategies). Trainees’ learning performance was highest and attrition lowest when they received both interventions. The planning intervention was also advantageous for enhancing learning and reducing attrition when trainees followed through on the amount of time that they planned to devote to training. Finally, the relationship between planned study time, time on task, and learning performance was cyclical. Planned study time had a positive effect on time on task, which, in turn, had a positive effect on learning performance. However, trainees planned to devote less time to training following higher rather than lower learning performance. The current study contributes to our theoretical understanding of self-regulated learning by researching one of the most overlooked components of the process—planning—and examining the conditions under which establishing a learning plan enhances training outcomes.

A theoretical model and analysis of the effect of self-regulation on attrition from voluntary online training

Traci Sitzmann
Learning and Individual Differences, Vol. 22, Issue 1, Pages 46–54

A theoretical model is presented that examines self-regulatory processes and trainee characteristics as predictors of attrition from voluntary online training in order to determine who is at risk of dropping out and the processes that occur during training that determine when they are at risk of dropping out. Attrition increased following declines in trainees’ commitment to training and self-efficacy. Trainees lower in conscientiousness were more vulnerable to dropping out than those higher in conscientiousness, and this effect was fully mediated by self-regulatory processes. Conscientiousness also moderated the effects of commitment and self-efficacy on attrition—a high level of conscientiousness provided a buffer against dropping out when trainees’ commitment and self-efficacy declined during training. The number of hours that trainees worked per week moderated the effort/attrition relationship; spending extra time reviewing increased attrition for trainees who worked longer hours and decreased attrition for trainees who worked shorter hours.

When is ignorance bliss? The effects of inaccurate self-assessments of knowledge on learning and attrition

Traci Sitzmann and Stefanie K. Johnson
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 117, Issue 1, Pages 192–207

Two studies were conducted to examine the implications of inaccurate self-appraisals in online training. Self-assessment of knowledge moderated the effects of trainees’ performance on subsequent performance and attrition. Performance was highest after uniformly positive ratings (i.e., high self-assessment and high performance), followed by underestimation, overestimation, and uniformly negative ratings, respectively. Attrition was lowest after uniformly positive ratings, followed by underestimation, uniformly negative ratings, and overestimation, respectively. Effort had a more positive effect on performance following low than high self-assessments and this interaction fully mediated the self-assessment/performance interaction on subsequent performance. Commitment had a more negative effect on subsequent attrition following low than high self-assessments and this interaction fully mediated the self-assessment/performance interaction on subsequent attrition. Finally, trainee conscientiousness affected their behavior when their performance and self-assessments were inconsistent—overestimating and underestimating performance increased attrition more for trainees low in conscientiousness and impaired performance more for trainees high in conscientiousness.


Traci Sitzmann
Personnel Psychology, Vol. 64, Issue 2, Pages 489–528

Interactive cognitive complexity theory suggests that simulation games are more effective than other instructional methods because they simultaneously engage trainees’ affective and cognitive processes (Tennyson & Jorczak, 2008). Meta-analytic techniques were used to examine the instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games relative to a comparison group (k= 65, N= 6,476). Consistent with theory, posttraining self-efficacy was 20% higher, declarative knowledge was 11% higher, procedural knowledge was 14% higher, and retention was 9% higher for trainees taught with simulation games, relative to a comparison group. However, the results provide strong evidence of publication bias in simulation games research. Characteristics of simulation games and the instructional context also moderated the effectiveness of simulation games. Trainees learned more, relative to a comparison group, when simulation games conveyed course material actively rather than passively, trainees could access the simulation game as many times as desired, and the simulation game was a supplement to other instructional methods rather than stand-alone instruction. However, trainees learned less from simulation games than comparison instructional methods when the instruction the comparison group received as a substitute for the simulation game actively engaged them in the learning experience.

A meta-analysis of self-regulated learning in work-related training and educational attainment: What we know and where we need to go.

Sitzmann, Traci and Ely, Katherine
Psychological Bulletin, Vol 137, Issue 3, pages 421-442

Researchers have been applying their knowledge of goal-oriented behavior to the self-regulated learning domain for more than 30 years. This review examines the current state of research on self-regulated learning and gaps in the field’s understanding of how adults regulate their learning of work-related knowledge and skills. Self-regulation theory was used as a conceptual lens for deriving a heuristic framework of 16 fundamental constructs that constitute self-regulated learning. Meta-analytic findings ( k = 430, N = 90,380) support theoretical propositions that self-regulation constructs are interrelated—30% of the corrected correlations among constructs were .50 or greater. Goal level, persistence, effort, and self-efficacy were the self-regulation constructs with the strongest effects on learning. Together these constructs accounted for 17% of the variance in learning, after controlling for cognitive ability and pretraining knowledge. However, 4 self-regulatory processes—planning, monitoring, help seeking, and emotion control—did not exhibit significant relationships with learning. Thus, a parsimonious framework of the self-regulated learning domain is presented that focuses on a subset of self-regulatory processes that have both limited overlap with other core processes and meaningful effects on learning. Research is needed to advance the field’s understanding of how adults regulate their learning in an increasingly complex and knowledge-centric work environment. Such investigations should capture the dynamic nature of self-regulated learning, address the role of self-regulation in informal learning, and investigate how trainees regulate their transfer of training.

The effects of technical difficulties on learning and attrition during online training

Sitzmann, Traci; Ely, Katherine; Bell, Bradford S.; and Bauer, Kristina N.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol 16, Issue 3, Pages 281-292

Although online instruction has many potential benefits, technical difficulties are one drawback to the increased use of this medium. A repeated measures design was used to examine the effect that technical difficulties have on learning and attrition from voluntary online training. Adult learners (N = 530) were recruited online and volunteered to participate in a 4-hr training program on using computer spreadsheets. Technical difficulties were inserted in some of the training modules in the form of error messages. Using multilevel modeling, the results indicated that the presence of these technical difficulties impaired learning, such that test scores were lower in modules where trainees encountered technical difficulties than in modules where they did not encounter technical difficulties. Furthermore, the effect on learning was greater among trainees who eventually withdrew from the course than among trainees who completed the course. With regards to attrition, pretraining motivation provided a buffer against dropping out, especially when trainees encountered technical difficulties. Learning also predicted attrition from the subsequent module, such that attrition was higher among trainees with low test scores in the previous module. The current study disentangles some of the implications of technical difficulties and suggests that organizations should provide trainees with the technical support required to overcome technical difficulties in training. Furthermore, the findings contribute to our theoretical understanding of the implications of interruptions on performance in online training.

Self-Assessment of Knowledge: A Cognitive Learning or Affective Measure?

Traci Sitzmann, Katherine Ely, Kenneth G. Brown, Kristina N. Bauer
Academy of Management Learning and Education, Vol. 9  Issue 2,  pp. 169-191

We conducted a meta-analysis to clarify the construct validity of self-assessments of knowledge in education and workplace training. Self-assessment’s strongest correlations were with motivation and satisfaction, two affective evaluation outcomes. The relationship between self-assessment and cognitive learning was moderate. Even under conditions that optimized the self-assessment-cognitive learning relationship (e.g., when learners practiced self-assessing and received feedback on their self-assessments), the relationship was still weaker than the self-assessment-motivation relationship. We also examined how researchers interpreted self-assessed knowledge, and discovered that nearly a third of evaluation studies interpreted self-assessed knowledge data as evidence of cognitive learning. Based on these findings, we offer recommendations for evaluation practice that involve a more limited role for self-assessment.

Sometimes You Need a Reminder: The Effects of Prompting Self-Regulation on Regulatory Processes, Learning, and Attrition

Traci Sitzmann and Katherine Ely
Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 95, Issue 1, pp. 132-144

Prompting self-regulation involves asking trainees reflective questions to stimulate self-regulatory engagement. Research has found positive effects for prompting self-regulation on learning, but a scarcity of evidence exists regarding whether self-regulatory processes mediate the effect of prompting self-regulation, whether the intervention reduces attrition, and the optimal timing of implementing the intervention. Using a longitudinal design, we found that prompting self-regulation throughout training increased learning and reduced attrition, relative to the control condition. Moreover, the effect on learning was fully mediated by time on task. The intervention also moderated the effect of learning on subsequent self-regulatory activity and attrition. Learning performance had less of a positive effect on subsequent self-regulatory activity and less of a negative effect on subsequent attrition when trainees were prompted to self-regulate. These results highlight the importance of adopting a longitudinal design to examine how self-regulatory interventions affect the cyclical relationships among self-regulatory processes, learning, and attrition.