Training End Users: An Experimental Investigation of the Roles of the Computer Interface and Training Methods

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Abstract

End-user computing has become an area of major importance to organizations over the past several years. As non-professional computer users come to rely on computer systems to perform more and more of their basic tasks, MIS managers need to ensure that those individuals learn to use software packages effectively. Two common, and often complementary, approaches for achieving this goal have been to develop in-house training programs and to utilize computer systems that are “user friendly.” Using Assimilation Theory a basis for this study, we investigate the impacts of two types of training methods and two computer interfaces on users’ learning performance and attitudes toward a computer system. A laboratory experiment was conducted to compare a commonly used direct manipulation interface—DMI (the Apple Macintosh)—with a commonly used command-based interface—Disk Operating System (DOS). Each interface was presented to subjects by using either an exploration training approach or an instruction-based training approach. Results of the study indicate that individuals using the DMI performed substantially better than those using the command-based interface. However, there was no difference between these two groups in terms of perceived ease of system use. Also, in contrast to previous studies, there were no differences in outcomes related to the two types of training methods. Assimilation Theory is used to explain these results, and recommendations are made for future research.

Additional Details

Author Sid A. Davis and Robert P. Bostrom
Year 1993
Volume 17
Issue 1
Keywords End-user training, computer interface, learning, novice users, attitudes
Page Numbers 61-85