Online Behavior Modeling: An Effective and Affordable Software Training Method

Online Behavior Modeling: An Effective and Affordable Software Training Method

Charlie C. Chen (Appalachian State University, USA), Terry Ryan (Claremont Graduate University, USA) and Lorne Olfman (Claremont Graduate University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2803-8.ch014
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Organizations need effective and affordable software training. In face-to-face settings, behavior modeling is an effective, but expensive, training method. Can behavior modeling be employed effectively, and more affordably, for software training in the online environment? An experiment was conducted to compare the effectiveness of online behavior modeling with that of face-to-face behavior modeling for software training. Results indicate that online behavior modeling and face-to-face behavior modeling provide essentially the same outcomes in terms of knowledge near transfer, immediate knowledge for transfer, delayed knowledge for transfer, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and satisfaction. Observed differences were not significant, nor were their patterns consistent, despite sufficient power in the experimental design to detect meaningful differences, if any were present. These results suggest that organizations should consider online behavior modeling as a primary method of software training.
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Investment in software training can improve productivity, boost employee morale (Bell, 2004), and reduce employee turnover rate (Heller, 2003). End users who have not received proper software training often feel insecure about their jobs, and this insecurity can contribute to turnover costs and productivity losses (Aytes & Connolly, 2004). The departure of a newly hired IT employee within 180 days of hiring can cost a company as much as $100,000 (Brown, 2000). The departure of employees who leave their companies due to a lack of proper training can have a variety of negative consequences (McEvoy & Cascio, 1987).

In contrast, properly trained end users often feel confident and secure, with positive implications for productivity. Increases in individual performance can add up to substantial improvements for businesses. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) conducted a study of 575 U.S.-based, publicly traded firms between 1996 and 1998 to examine the relationship between organizational training investments and the total shareholder return. This study found an 86% higher return on such investments for the top half of firms (in terms of training investment) than for the bottom half of firms (Bassi, Ludwig, McMurrer, & Van Buren, 2000).

Software training requires a significant financial outlay. The most effective software training at present involves face-to-face behavior modeling, but such training is expensive to deliver. One possible way to reduce delivery costs is by offering similar software training, but through less expensive online delivery.

Allen and Seaman (2003) forecast that online learning would grow at a rate approaching 20% per year. The world corporate online learning market has been predicted to grow to nearly $24 billion by 2006, from $6.6 billion in 2002, an annual increase of 35.6% (International Data Corporation, 2002). The continuous growth of the online training market has prompted discussion about the effectiveness of Web-based virtual learning environments (Piccoli, Ahmad, & Ives, 2001).

While it is commonly agreed that online software training is less expensive and more flexible, it may also be less effective. Online software training continues to be of great interest to organizations, but significant challenges remain in implementing online solutions. These challenges include: (1) the cost of acquiring online learning systems, (2) the time for developing online learning materials, and (3) the need to be convinced of online learning’s effectiveness compared to other training models (Bloom, 2004).

Three general training methods have been compared experimentally in face-to-face settings: instruction based, exploration based, and behavior modeling. Instruction-based training occurs when trainers tell trainees about software, but do not model the use of it. Exploration-based training teaches trainees through practice by trainees on relevant examples, also without trainer modeling of software use. Behavior modeling training teaches trainees via demonstrations, in which trainers model the use of software for trainees. Evidence exists that behavior modeling is the most effective method for face-to-face software training (Compeau & Higgins, 1995; Simon, Grover, Teng, & Whitcomb, 1996).

This research compares experimentally the relative effectiveness of face-to-face behavior modeling and online behavior modeling. Since prior research has indicated that the behavior modeling method dominates the instruction-based and the exploration-based methods in face-to-face settings, this study does not include the latter two methods. Online asynchronous methods of software training, because they allow more favorable ratios of trainers to trainees and do not require training participants to meet, have the potential to achieve significant cost savings over face-to-face approaches. On the other hand, given that live trainers are not present in online asynchronous software training, there can be no direct interaction between trainers and trainees. This difference in direct interaction could mean that face-to-face training might be more effective than online training. Knowledge about the relative effectiveness of these methods will be valuable to people who must make decisions about how to provide software training.

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Table of Contents
Jonathan Bishop
Chapter 1
Sutirtha Chatterjee
In this information age, serious concerns with unethical behaviour in information technology (e.g., software piracy, deception, plagiarism, etc.)... Sample PDF
Ethical Behaviour in Technology-Mediated Communication
Chapter 2
Cãlin Gurãu
The development of the World Wide Web has created new opportunities for interpersonal interaction. The Internet allows one-to-one (e-mail)... Sample PDF
Codes of Ethics in Discussion Forums
Chapter 3
Georgios Michaelides, Gábor Hosszú
The importance of the virtual communities’ privacy and security problems comes into prominence by the rapid development of online social networks.... Sample PDF
Privacy and Security for Virtual Communities and Social Networks
Chapter 4
Alok Mishra, Deepti Mishra
Cyber stalking is a relatively new kind of cyber terrorism crime. Although it often receives a lower priority then cyber terrorism it is an... Sample PDF
Cyber Stalking: A Challenge for Web Security
Chapter 5
Jonathan Bishop
The rise of online communities in Internet environments has set in motion an unprecedented shift in power from vendors of goods and services to the... Sample PDF
Increasing Capital Revenue in Social Networking Communities: Building Social and Economic Relationships through Avatars and Characters
Chapter 6
Wanda Cassidy, Karen Brown, Margaret Jackson
The purpose of this chapter is to explore cyber-bullying from three different, but interrelated, perspectives: students, educators and parents. The... Sample PDF
Moving from Cyber-Bullying to Cyber-Kindness: What do Students, Educators and Parents Say?
Chapter 7
Online Empathy  (pages 84-87)
Niki Lambropoulos
Scientific research on empathy started in the early 20th century. Only in 1992 did the development of cognitive neuroscience help di Pellegrino... Sample PDF
Online Empathy
Chapter 8
Brian Whitworth, Tong Liu
This chapter describes how social politeness is relevant to computer system design. As the Internet becomes more social, computers now mediate... Sample PDF
Politeness as a Social Computing Requirement
Chapter 9
Jonathan Bishop
The rise of social networking services have furthered the proliferation of online communities, transferring the power of controlling access to... Sample PDF
The Psychology of Trolling and Lurking: The Role of Defriending and Gamification for Increasing Participation in Online Communities Using Seductive Narratives
Chapter 10
Vanessa Paz Dennen
This chapter addresses how members of a blog-based community share problems and support each other in the problem solving process, both sharing... Sample PDF
Negotiating Meaning in a Blog-Based Community: Addressing Unique, Shared, and Community Problems
Chapter 11
Miranda Dandoulaki, Matina Halkia
Social media technologies such as blogs, social networking sites, microblogs, instant messaging, wikis, widgets, social bookmarking, image/video... Sample PDF
Social Media (Web 2.0) and Crisis Information: Case Study Gaza 2008-09
Chapter 12
Paolo Massa
This chapter discusses the concept of trust and how trust is used and modeled in online systems currently available on the Web or on the Internet.... Sample PDF
A Survey of Trust Use and Modeling in Real Online Systems
Chapter 13
Eric M. Rovie
Commerce performed electronically using the Internet (e-commerce) faces a unique and difficult problem, the anonymity of the Internet. Because the... Sample PDF
The Anonymity of the Internet: A Problem for E-Commerce and a “Modified” Hobbesian Solution
Chapter 14
Charlie C. Chen, Terry Ryan, Lorne Olfman
Organizations need effective and affordable software training. In face-to-face settings, behavior modeling is an effective, but expensive, training... Sample PDF
Online Behavior Modeling: An Effective and Affordable Software Training Method
Chapter 15
Lakshmi Goel, Elham Mousavidin
Despite considerable academic and practitioner interest in knowledge management, success of knowledge management systems is elusive. This chapter... Sample PDF
A Proposed Framework for Designing Sustainable Communities for Knowledge Management Systems
Chapter 16
Ross A. Malaga
Online auctions are an increasingly popular avenue for completing electronic transactions. Many online auction sites use some type of reputation... Sample PDF
The Retaliatory Feedback Problem: Evidence from eBay and a Proposed Solution
Chapter 17
Carlos Alberto Ochoa Ortiz-Zezzatti, Julio Cesar Ponce Gallegos, José Alberto Hernández Aguilar, Felipe Padilla Diaz
The contribution of this chapter is to present a novel approach to explain the performance of a novel Cyberbullying model applied on a Social... Sample PDF
Multiagents System Applied on a Cyberbullying Model for a Social Network
Chapter 18
Zheng Yan, Silke Holtmanns
This chapter introduces trust modeling and trust management as a means of managing trust in digital systems. Transforming from a social concept of... Sample PDF
Trust Modeling and Management: From Social Trust to Digital Trust
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