An empirical examination of e-learning design: The role of trainee socialization and complexity in short term training


Pre-training face-to-face socialization improved e-learning performance.

Pre-training online socialization did not improve e-learning performance.

Those who received simpler training outperformed those who received complex training.
Using data from 143 individuals, this study examined how pre-training socialization and task complexity affected learning in an online environment. A controlled laboratory experiment, using a 3 (socialization) × 2 (complexity) between subjects design was conducted. Participants were assigned to either more or less complex training and received either face-to-face, online, or no socialization before beginning the training. Results indicated that those who received face-to-face socialization performed better than those who received either online socialization or no socialization. There was no learning difference between the online and no socialization condition. Those who received simpler training performed better than those who received more complex training. Socialization and complexity were not interactively related. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Training; Organizational learning; Course design; E-learning; Distance learning