Guiding Trainees through E-Learning the Quick and Easy Way

employee training computer
Topic(s): training
Publication: Personnel Psychology (2009)
Article: A multilevel analysis of the effect of prompting self-regulation in technology-delivered instruction
Authors: T. Sitzmann, B.S. Bell, K. Kraiger, A.M. Kanar
Reviewed by: Benjamin Granger

Let’s start with a sobering reality check: Many trainees are ineffective at managing their time and effort in self-paced e-learning environments. This is problematic because organizations are becoming increasingly reliant on e-learning to deliver training to its workforce. And since e-learning is clearly here to stay, the question is: How can we help trainees manage their learning and benefit from e-learning?


Researchers (Sitzmann et al., 2009) recently tested the effects of prompting self-evaluation and self-regulation for facilitating knowledge gain over time. Although this may sound complicated, prompting self-evaluation and self-regulation simply involves presenting trainees with questions throughout the training course. These questions deal with whether trainees are attending to the material, understanding the material, using effective learning strategies, are prepared to be tested, are distracted, etc.

While self-regulation prompts help trainees set and manage their goals during training, self-evaluation prompts help trainees gauge the degree of their learning. Results of the study suggest that these types of prompts are beneficial to trainees. Interestingly, the effectiveness of prompting increases over time and tends to be more effective for trainees high in cognitive ability and self-efficacy (confidence for performing well).


The upshot is clear: Self-regulatory and self-evaluation prompting are easy and cheap to implement and facilitate knowledge gain. Providing prompts to trainees can help them overcome the disadvantages of self-paced e-learning.


Sitzmann, T., Bell, B.S., Kraiger, K., & Kanar, A.M. (2009). A multilevel analysis of the effect of prompting self-regulation in technology-delivered instruction. Personnel Psychology, 62(4), 697-734.