06 brugeres forventninger


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06 brugeres forventninger

  1. 1. AbstractThe Role A field study of MBA students enrolled in aof Work, Play, microcomputer software training class was con- ducted. Trainees expectations of the extent to which the training would be like work and playand Fun in were collected prior to the training and their per- ceptions of the extent to which the training was like work and play were collected after the train-Microcomputer ing. In addition, trainees perceptions of the extent to which the training was fun were also measured. Results indicated that play percep-Software tions operated as a suppressor variable. Post- training play perceptions had a marginally signifi- cant and negative effect on learning and #7-Training creased the positive and significant effect of post-training fun perceptions on learning. Re- suits also indicated that despite the fact thatElissa L. Perry much of the training occurred on the computer,University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign trainers influenced trainees perceptions that the training seemed like work, play, and fun. Finally,Deborah J. Ballou learning was negatively affected when trainees with high pre-training play expectations per-University of Notre Dame ceived trainers to have a high work orientation in the training. These results suggest that play and fun perceptions have potentially important consequences for learning and that trainers play an important role in influencing these percep- tions in microcomputer training. Keywords: Computer-based training, human- computer interaction, work, play, fun, learning ACM Categories: H.4.1, K3.1, K.81 Introduction The use of microcomputer technology in organizations is widespread (Ballou & Rush, 1996; Turnage, 1990). Training and retraining demands increase with the implementation of technology. In addition, some have suggested that the primary causes for the failure of office technologies (e.g., computer systems) are hu-Acknowledgement man and organizational, including the lack of employee training (Turnage, 1990). As a result,The authors would like to thank Carol Kulik and interest in training individuals in the use of mi-Joe Martocchio for their assistance and helpful crocomputer technology has risen (Allan, 1993;comments at various stages of this research. Ballou & Rush, 1996; Geber, 1994; and Klein-We would also like to thank Ruth Reingold, schrod, 1988). At the same time, a growingManager of System Services, for her cooper- body of research has developed which exploresation in this research endeavor. microcomputer training issues in the workplaceThe DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 93
  2. 2. (e.g., Gist, Schwoerer, & Rosen, 1989; Martoc- Glynn (1994) has suggested that "...research ischio, 1992; Martocchio & Webster, 1992; and n e e d e d . . . o n how task interpretations mayWebster & Martocchio, 1993). occur spontaneously, even in the absence of experimental cues that send the message thatAlthough the structural design of microcomputer this is work or this is play."software is likely to influence how easy it is tolearn, a recent stream of microcomputer training Both the social contextual and individual differ-research suggests that an individuals approach ence approaches to work-versus-play orienta-to a task as work-versus-play may also influ- tions suggest that play has multiple dimensions.ence computer training effectiveness (Martoc- Martocchio and Webster (1992) suggest thatchio & Webster, 1992; Webster, Heian, & while the most relevant aspect of individualMichelman, 1990; Webster & Martocchio, 1992; playfulness in human-computer interactions isand Webster & Martocchio, 1993). This re- cognitive playfulness, other dimensions of play-search suggests that a work-versus-play orien- fulness (e.g., manifest joy) may be relevant andtation may be the result of individual attributes should be explored. The literature is less clear(e.g., a playfulness trait) (Martocchio & Web- about what aspects of labeling a computer taskster, 1992; Webster & Martocchio, 1992) or as "play" may contribute to its beneficial effects.social contextual cues (e.g., labeling) (Webster, Some research suggests that one dimension of1990; Webster & Martocchio, 1993). It has play is fun (Bamett, 1990; Glynn & Webster,been argued that individuals demonstrate 1992).greater creativity and develop skills through ex-ploratory behaviors during playful interactions Other research suggests that play and fun arewith tasks. Therefore, those who approach a closely related but distinct concepts (e.g.,task as play are expected to learn more than Abramis, 1990). Although "fun" is likely to bethose who approach a task in less playful terms associated with play more than work (Dan-or who approach it as work. Consistent with dridge, 1986) this is not always the case (Burke,this, research suggests that perceptions of com- 1971). Work can sometimes be fun and en-puter training as play as opposed to work result joyable while play may not be. Currently, littlein more positive training outcomes. research has explored the extent to which com- puter training tasks may be perceived as funThe little research that has explored the influ- and the extent to which this perception is relatedence of labeling computer training tasks as work to perceptions of the task as work versus play.versus play (Webster et al., 1990; Webster & It is also unclear how perceptions of a task (e.g.,Martocchio, 1993) has for the most part done so computer training) as work, play, and fun influ-in the context of an experimental research de- ence training outcomes relative to one another.sign which explicitly manipulates task labels. As The current paper presents exploratory re-a result, these research efforts have high inter- search that addresses four issues. First, thisnal validity and have thus been able to assess paper explores the extent to which individuals incausal relationships. However, this research an actual computer training context spontane-provides little infonTlation about how individuals ously perceive the training as work versus playnaturally and spontaneously perceive actual and the influence of these perceptions oncomputer training contexts. It is also unclear to learning. A field study approach is adopted inwhat extent actua~ trainers influence trainees order to determine the extent to which previousperceptions of a task as work versus play when research results which indicate that task label-trainers are not explicitly instructed to label ing (work versus play) influences training out-tasks. It is possible that individuals do not comes in a field experiment generalize to a non-spontaneously perceive computer training in experimental context.work versus play terms in the course of anactual training program. Further, even if indi- Second, this paper explores the extent to whichviduals do perceive computer training in work- individuals work and play perceptions of theversus-play terms, these perceptions may not training are influenced by the trainer. Althoughinfluence learning in a training context that does other social contextual factors (e.g., classmates)not explicitly and clearly prime these concepts may influence individuals perceptions and train-(e.g., using task labels). Consistent with this, ing outcomes, the focus in the current research 94 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  3. 3. is on the role of the trainer for two reasons. ence work related (e.g., training) outcomesFirst, previous experimental research suggests (e.g., Abramis, 1990; Cellar & Barrett, 1987;that the social context (i.e., the trainer) can influ- Glynn, 1994; Sandelands, 1988; Tang & Bau-ence the extent to which individuals perceive meister, 1984; Webster et al., 1990; and Web-training as work versus play (e.g., Webster et ster & Martocchio, 1992, 1993). This isal., 1990; Webster & Martocchio, 1993). It is hypothesized when a work-versus-play ap-informative to assess the extent to which trainer proach is a function of individual attributes (e.g.,effects also operate in a non-experimental set- Glynn & Webster, 1992; Webster & Martocchio,ting. Second, trainers constitute an element of 1992), contextual factors (Abramis, 1990; Glynn,the social context over which training designers 1994; Sandelands, 1988; Webster et al., 1990;have relatively more control. As a result, it is and Webster & Martocchio, 1993), or both (e.g.,particularly important to focus on this aspect of Tang & Baumeister, 1984). Research hasthe training context. The current paper assess- generally hypothesized and found positive ef-es the extent to which actual trainers influence fects for individuals who approach a task aswork, play, and fun perceptions in a context play (Abramis, 1990; Cellar & Barrett, 1987;where they are left to their own devices and are Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Martocchio & Webster,not instructed to label the training in any 1992; Miller, 1973; Webster et al., 1990; andparticular way. Webster & Martocchio, 1992, 1993). For ex- ample, play has been found to be positivelyThird, we examine the extent to which indi- associated with mood, satisfaction, learning,viduals pre-training work and play expectations performance, and intrinsic motivation.interact with their perceptions of the trainerswork and play orientation to influence training Research that has taken an individual differenceoutcomes. Research suggests that it is impor- approach to work-versus-play orientation sug-tant to explore the effects of individual differ- gests that one of the most important aspects ofence factors on work-and-play labeling (e.g., playfulness in human computer interaction isTang & Baumeister, 1984). In addition, re- cognitive spontaneity (Martocchio & Webster,search suggests that pre-training expectations 1992; Webster & Martocchio, 1992). This as-of a task (e.g., as work or play) are important to pect of playfulness refers to an individualsstatistical control (Martocchio, 1992; Webster & tendency to interact spontaneously, inventively,Martocchio, 1993). However, little research has and imaginatively with microcomputers (Web-explored the extent to which pre-training work- ster & Martocchio, 1992). It is hypothesized thatand-play expectations interact with perceptions, those who are higher in microcomputer playful-which are not experimentally manipulated, that ness will view computer interactions morethe trainer made the task seem like work or positively, be more motivated to engage in com-play. puter interactions in the future, engage in moreFourth, we explore the relationship between exploratory behaviors, and thus learn more thanperceptions of training as work, play, and fun less playful people.and determine their effects on learning in orderto understand better the types of task percep- In their review of multiple microcomputertions that are likely to have beneficial effects. studies, Webster and Martocchio (1992) foundTo date, research has primarily focused on the that the individual attribute of microcomputerrole of work and play perceptions in the context playfulness was positively related to computerof computer training. In addition, little research attitudes, computer competence, computer effi-has explored dimensions of play other than cacy, involvement, positive mood, satisfaction,cognitive playfulness in computer training (Mar- and learning. In addition, they found that play-tocchio & Webster, 1992; Webster & Mar- fulness influenced learning more than othertocchio, 1992). attitude factors (e.g., computer anxiety). Com- puter training study results are consistent withTheoretical Basis for Work-Versus- research that finds that measures of generalPlay Effects playfulness are positively related to creativity, and more exploratory behaviors during inter-Research suggests that whether individuals actions with tasks (e.g., Glynn & Webster,approach a task as work versus play may influ- 1992).The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 95
  4. 4. Similarly, those taking a social contextual training may prime trainees work or play cate-approach to work-versus-play orientation sug- gories which in turn influence trainees evalu-gest that labeling a task as work or play will ations of the task and the extent to which theyaffect the evaluation of a task, which in turn, will learn in training.influence learning in training (Webster &Martocchio, 1993). The theoretical basis for this Consistent with this, Glynn (1994) found that theapproach is social information processing theory influence of task labeling on performancedeveloped by Salancik and Pfeffer (1977, 1978), outcomes was mediated by cognitive processescognitive categorization theory (Fiske & Taylor, (i.e., means-end orientation). Specifically, she1991), and play research and theory. Speci- found that the label play induced a meansfically, social information processing theory orientation which, in turn, resulted in higher tasksuggests that task attitudes may be influenced performance outcomes. In contrast, the labelby the labeling of tasks by others (Salancik & work induced an ends orientation which, in turn,Pfeffer, 1977, 1978; Staw, 1984). The social resulted in lower task performance outcomes.context makes certain information salient to the Webster and Martocchio (1993) found thatindividual. Consistent with this, organizational younger employees who received trainingresearch finds that labeling a task as work- labeled as play showed higher motivation toversus-play influences a variety of work related learn and learned more than older employees.outcomes (e.g., learning, positive affect, task Finally, Webster et al. (1990) found that stu-evaluation, motivation) with more positive out- dents experienced higher mood and involve-comes typically found in the play condition ment and learned more in computer training(Cellar & Barrett, 1987; Sandelands, 1988; classes labeled as play rather than work.Webster et al., 1990; and Webster & Martoc-chio, 1993). While we have suggested that a play orientation is frequently found to have positive effects,One mechanism that has been used to explain research and theory suggests that it can alsothese labeling effects is cognitive categor- have potentially negative effects. For example,ization. Research and theory suggests that Sandelands (1988) found that when a task wasindividuals have and use different types of job- labeled play, individuals took longer on the taskrelated categories under certain conditions (Ku- than when the task was labeled work.Ilk & Perry, 1994). For example, there is some Csikszentmihalyi (1975) suggested that playful-evidence that individuals have work-and-play ness may lead to over-involvement. Finally,cognitive categories which are more or less Schuck (1985) argued that play can haveavailable to the perceiver (e.g., Cellar & Barrett, negative consequences for work equipment and1987; Porac & Meindl, 1982; and Webster & processes. However, there is little researchMartocchio, 1993). evidence that a play orientation has negative consequences in the context of computer train-Play research and theory suggests that the play ing (e.g., Martocchio & Webster, 1992; Webstercategory is likely to include a greater emphasis et al. 1990; and Webster & Martocchio, 1992,on means than ends and feelings of both plea- 1993).sure and involvement (Sandelands, 1988;Sandelands & Buckner, 1989; and Webster & There is some evidence that perceptions of playMartocchio, 1993). Researchers studying play may have a greater influence on training out-(e.g., Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Miller, 1973; comes than perceptions of work. Much of theSandelands, 1988; Sandelands & Buckner, research that has explored the effects of task1989; and Schuck, 1985) suggest that during labeling on work outcomes has manipulatedmore playful interactions with tasks, people en- work and play task perceptions in an experi-gage in exploratory behaviors, spend more time mental between-subject factorial design. How-and effort on task: performance, enjoy what they ever, Cellar and Barrett (1987) assessed theare doing more, and learn more effectively. effects of a within-subject measure of work andTherefore, labeling a task as play should have play perceptions which enabled them tomore positive implications for learning than determine the relative influence of these percep-labeling a task as work. This research and tions on task outcomes. They found that twotheory suggests that the social context of play measures significantly predicted intrinsic 96 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems--Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  5. 5. motivation, one work measure was non- ing as work should be high when the trainer issignificant, and the second work measure only perceived to have a high work orientation.marginally significantly predicted intrinsic moti- We suggested earlier that individuals havevation. Additionally, work-and-play research cognitive categories for work and play. Theseand theory tends to emphasize the positive categories provide expectations that guide theimpact of a playful approach to tasks, sug- understanding of new information (Fiske &gesting that a play orientation may have more Taylor, 1991). As a result, individuals are likelyimportant consequences for work outcomes to have expectations about the extent to whichthan a work orientation. This suggests that play training will be like work or play prior to the startperceptions may have a greater impact on work of the training. These expectations result fromoutcomes than work perceptions.- the priming of one category or the other. Work- and-play categories may be activated by the so-Based on the above research, we expect that cial context. For example, individuals who haveindividuals who perceive training as play will ex- previously taken the training course may tellperience greater positive outcomes than those current trainees what they thought of the train-who perceive it as work. This positive effect is ing. Alternatively, work-and-play categoriesexpected regardless of whether perceptions are may be activated by individual level attributes.a function of individual attributes or social con- For example, those who have a higher level oftext. In addition, play perceptions are expected the playfulness trait may have a play categoryto have a greater influence on training outcomes that is chronically activated. Research suggeststhan work perceptions. Therefore we hypothe- that pre-training expectations are likely to influ-size the following: ence training outcomes and therefore are often statistically controlled (Martocchio, 1992; Web- Hypothesis 1: Trainees perceptions of com- ster & Martocchio, 1993). puter training as play will more positively and significantly affect training outcomes (e.g., However, while researchers have called for learning) than their perceptions of training as research exploring the moderating effects of work. individual differences on work-and-play labeling (Cellar & Barrett, 1987; Tang & Baumeister,We have suggested that individuals percep- 1984), little research has directly explored thetions of a task as work or play may be the result extent to which pre-training work-and-playof individual difference characteristics as well as expectations are moderated by trainer work-social contextual factors. Specifically, previous and- play orientation. We suggest that indivi-research has found that having a trainer label a duals pre-training expectations about the extenttask as work-versus-play influenced training to which the task will be like work or play willoutcomes (Webster et al., 1990; Webster & interact with perceptions of the trainersMartocchio, 1993). Therefore, it is likely that orientation (perceptions that the trainer madetrainers can and often do influence individuals the training seem like work or play) to influenceperceptions of the task as work-versus-play. training outcomes such as learning. It seemsThis might occur because of the trainers label- logical to predict that individuals whose expec-ing of the task as well as his or her presentation tations are consistent with perceptions of theof the material and behavior during the training. trainers work and play orientation will haveFor example, some research suggests that more positive outcomes than those whosebehavior modeling can have particularly positive expectations are inconsistent. implications for learning computer software (e.g., Gist et al., 1989). Therefore, we hypothe- Consistent with this, Tang and Baumeistersize the following: (1984) found that individuals with a high work ethic showed greater intrinsic motivation on a Hypothesis 2: Trainees perceptions of the task labeled work-versus-play than those with a training as work and play will be influenced by lower work ethic. The effect was eliminated or the trainer. Specifically, trainees perceptions reversed when the task was labeled leisure (i.e., of the training as play should be high when play). To the extent that worker values (e.g., the trainer is perceived to have a high play work ethic) are correlated with task expec- orientation. Trainees perceptions of the train- tations, this suggests that exl-Jctations that areThe DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 97
  6. 6. fulfilled will have more positive consequences If perceptions of a task as work, play, and funthan expectations that are unfulfilled. In are distinct, it is not entirely clear how they mayaddition, previous research suggests that play be related to one another and how they influ-perceptions may, have more positive and ence training outcomes relative to one another.significant effects on training outcomes than Although no firm hypotheses are offered, wework perceptions (e.g., Cellar & Barrett, 1987). expect that individuals form perceptions ofTherefore, the extent to which trainees play training tasks as work, play, and fun and thatexpectations are fulfilled or unfulfilled should these perceptions independently affect learning.have a greater effect on training outcomes thanwork expectations. We therefore posit the The Studyfollowing hypothesis: The current research was a field study of MBA Hypothesis 3: Training outcomes (e.g., learn- students enrolled in a compulsory software- ing) will be more positive when trainees pre- training module. Questionnaires asking train- training work-and-play expectations are con- ees about their work-and-play related expecta- sistent with perceptions of the trainers work- tions and perceptions of the training were ad- and-play orientation than when they are ministered prior to and following the training inconsistent. The extent to which play expec- module respectively. A field study was used tations are fulfilled or unfulfilled will have a because we were primarily interested in describ- stronger influence on training outcomes than ing how individuals spontaneously and naturally the extent to which work expectations are perceive training contexts, the extent to which fulfilled or unfulfilled. these perceptions are influenced by trainers, and the extent to which these perceptionsResearch suggests that playfulness encom- influence learning in training.passes cognitive (e.g., cognitive playfulness),affective (e.g., manifest joy), and behavioral(e.g., physical spontaneity) components (Bar- The Methodnett, 1990; Glynn & Webster, 1992). Websterand Martocchio (1992) argued that cognitive Sampleplayfulness represents the most relevant aspect Participants in this study were 75 first-year MBAof playfulness in human-computer interactions students at a large midwestern university. Thisand have studied it to the exclusion of other sample consisted of 52 males and 23 femalesdimensions. However, they suggest that further with an average age of 25.48 years and aninvestigation should be made to determine average of 2.46 years of work experience.whether other dimensions of playfulness are These individuals were enrolled in a compulsoryrelevant in human-computer interactions. software-training module which covered Micro- soft Excel 5.0.1 Although all first-year MBASome theorists have suggested that play and students were required to attend this trainingfun are not synonymous. Specifically, Biesty module, students could exempt out if they(1986) notes that recent work has confused play passed a competency test.with fun. Because something is fun does notmean that it is play. The notion that play and Procedurefun are related but not necessarily completely First-year MBA students at this university areoverlapping concepts is suggested in research required to participate in a series of compulsoryby Glynn and Webster (1992) and Abramis microcomputer software-training modules cover-(1990). Glynn and Webster (1992) found that a ing a variety of software packages (e.g., word-measure of playfulness was comprised of five processing, presentation graphics, spread-factors, one of which was fun. Abramis (1990) sheet). The MBA training coordinator was con-found that one measure of play was positively, tacted by the experimenters and agreed to allowsignificantly, and highly correlated with six mea- the experimenters access to first-year MBAsures of various aspects of fun. This research students prior to and following their participationand theory suggests that perceptions of a taskas fun may be significantly correlated with, but 1Microsoft Excel 5.0, Copyright by Microsoft Corporation,distinct from, perceptions of a task as work or 1985-1993. All rights reserved.play. 98 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems-- Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  7. 7. in one training module. The Excel training research. Learning was assessed by an Excelmodule was selected primarily because the quiz which was included in both the pre- andtraining coordinator believed that this module post-training questionnaires. Two versions ofwould allow the most time for the study and the pre-training and post-training questionnairesbecause the experimenters presence would be were given to trainees. These versions differedleast disruptive in this module. Subjects partici- only in the order in which measures were col-pating in this module were assigned to one of lected. In addition, the order of the items on theseven sections each of which was taught by a Excel quiz was randomly determined and wasdifferent "head" trainer. A total of 273 students different in the pre-training and post-trainingwas enrolled in the Excel training module. questionnaires.Prior to the start of the Excel training module, Measurestwo assistants administered a questionnaire toall of the individuals present in each of the Pre-training Play Expectationsseven training sections. A cover letter from the Two items measured the extent to which sub-experimenters was attached to the question- jects expected the computer training to be likenaires stating that the purpose of the study was "play." These items included: "To what extentto "better understand how people approach do you expect the Excel training to be liketraining and learn in training programs." The play?" (1 = Not at all like play; 7 = Very muchletter also indicated that participation in this like play) and "To what extent do you expect it tostudy was voluntary and that all requested infor- feel like you are playing in the Excel training?"mation would be kept confidential. (1 = Not at all; 7 = Very much). These items were averaged to form a pre-training play ex-One hundred and sixty-eight individuals (61% of pectations scale (r = .65, io < .01).the total enrolled) returned completed pre-training questionnaires. The Excel training Pre-training Work Expectationsmodule consisted of approximately five sessions Two items measured the extent to which sub-which took place over a five-week period. At the jects expected the computer training to be likecompletion of this module, the same two assis- "work." These items included: "To what extenttants administered a questionnaire to all of the do you expect the Excel training to be like individuals present in each of the seven training work?" (1 = Not at all like work; 7 = Very muchsections. One hundred and two individuals like work) and "To what extent do you expect itcompleted the post-training questionnaire (37% to feel like you are working in the Excelof the total enrolled). Only those trainees who training?" (1 = Not at all; 7 = Very much). Thesereturned both the pre- and post-training ques- items were averaged to form a pre-training worktionnaires were included in the study analyses. expectations scale (_r = .46, 12 < .01 ).The total number of trainees who completed both the pre- and post-training questionnaires Post-training Play Perceptionswas 77 (28% of the total enrolled). Two sub- Two items, parallel to those used in the pre-jects data were eliminated because they made training play expectations scalel were askedratings off of the rating scales, resulting in a following the completion of the Excel trainingfinal sample size of 75. module. These items included: "To what extent was the Excel training like play.?" (1 = Not at allThe MBA training coordinator requested that like play; 7 = Very much like play) and "To whatadministration of the questionnaires take no extent did it feel like you were playing in themore than fifteen minutes of the training class. Excel training?" (1 = Not at all; 7 = Very much).Therefore, there were limitations on the number These items were averaged to form a post-of questions that trainees could be asked. The training play perceptions scale (_r = .69, 12 < .01 ).questionnaires collected information about work,play, and fun expectations and perceptions, Post-training Work Perceptionscontrol variables (e.g., microcomputer experi- Two items, parallel to those used in the pre-ence, computer anxiety), and the dependent training work expectations scale, were askedmeasure. Because the primary objective of this following the completion of the Excel trainingtraining module was to increase learning, learn- module. These items included: "To what extenting was the dependent measure used in this was the Excel training like work?" (1 = Not atThe DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 99
  8. 8. all like work; 7 = Very much like work) and "To at all knowledgeable; 7 = Extremely knowledge-what extent did it feel like you were working in able). These items were averaged to form anthe Excel training?" (1 = Netat all; 7 = Vey nuah). Excel knowledge scale (Cronbachs alpha =These items were averaged to form a post- .96).training work perceptions scale (.[ = .75, 1o< .01). Computer AnxietyPost-training Fun Perceptions Ten items adapted from Heinssen, Glass, andTwo items measured the extent to which Knight (1987) were used to assess computersubjects perceived the training to be fun. These anxiety. A typical item on this scale was, "1 feelitems included: "ro what extent was the Excel insecure about my ability to interpret a computertraining fun?" (1 = Not at all fun; 7 = Very fun) printout" (1 = Strongly disagree; 5 = Stronglyand "How enjoyable was the Excel training?" (1 Agree). These items were averaged to form a= Not at all enjoyable; 7 = Extremely enjoyable). computer anxiety scale (Cronbachs alpha =These items were averaged to form a post- .83). Higher values indicate more computertraining fun perceptions scale (_r = .84, 12< .01 ). anxiety.Trainer Work-Versus-Play Orientation MotivationTwo questions on the post-training question- Seven items were used to assess pre-trainingnaire asked subjects to indicate the extent to motivation for the Excel training. These itemswhich they perceived that the training instructors were adapted from Baldwin and Karl (1987). Amade the Excel training seem like work and play sample item is, "1 am willing to exert consider-respectively. One item assessed trainer play able effort to improve my skills in the upcomingorientation, "To what extent did your instructors Excel training module" (1 = Strongly disagree; 7make the Excel training seem like play?" (1 = Not = Strongly agree). These items were averagedat all; 7 = Very much). The other item assessed to form a motivation scale (Cronbachs alpha =trainer work orientation, "To what extent did .85). Higher values indicate more motivation.your instructors make the Excel training seemlike work?" (1 = Not at all; 7 = Very much). Demographic Information Demographic information was collected for des-A number of control measures were also col- criptive purposes only. Subjects were asked tolected on the pre-training questionnaire. These indicate their age, sex, and years of full-timemeasures are consistent with those used in re- work experience.lated research (e.g., Martocchio & Webster,1992; Webster & Martocchio, 1993). These Learningmeasures are described next. The same ten-item, multiple-choice quiz asses- sing Excel knowledge was administered prior toPC knowledge and following the Excel training module. TheTwo items were used to assess the extent to content of the quiz was developed by thewhich individuals were knowledgeable about experimenters with the help of the MBA trainingpersonal computers. These items included: coordinator based on actual competency tests"How skilled are you at using PCs?" (1 = Not at used by the training program in previous years.all skilled; 7 = Extremely skilled) and "How much Items on the quiz were scored 0 = incorrect or 1experience have ,.you had using PCs~ (1 = No = correct. The total number of items answeredexperience at all; 7 = A great deal of experi- correctly was summed to form a measure of quizence). These items were averaged to form a performance at both pre- and post-training.PC-knowledge scale (r = .86, 12< .01). Learning was measured as post-training quiz performance controlling for pre-training quizExcel Knowledge performance.Three items were used to assess the extent towhich individuals were knowledgeable about Ex- Resultscel. These items included: "How skilled are youat using Excel?" (.1 = Not at all skilled; 7 = Ex- Correlations among Study Measurestremely skilled); "How much experience haveyou had using Excel?" (1 = No experience at all; A correlation matrix which includes the study7 = A great deal of experience); and "How measures is located in Table 1. This table re-knowledgeable are you about Excel?" (1 = Not veals several significant and interesting 100 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems-- Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  9. 9. Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 131. Play - .14 .63"* .64"* .10 .27" .06 .07 -.03 -.16 .09 -.03 -.04 Perceptions2. Work .25" .21 .67** -.02 .53** .23* -.23* -.41"* .40** -.21 -.12 Perceptions3. Fun - .55"* .22 .02 .08 .06 .01 -.12 .22 -.10 .13 Perceptions4. Trainer -.03 .05 .03 -.05 .04 -.12 .10 -.06 .13 Play Orientation5. Trainer -.01 .43** .36** -.18 -.24* .33** -.19 -.32** Work Orientation6. Play -,18 -.12 .13 .16 .18 .17 -.03 Expectations7. Work .25" -.16 -.43"* -.43" -,23" -.16 Expectations8. Computer -.54"* -.49"* .15 -.39"* -.40"* Anxiety9. Pc .55** -.06 .48** .20 Knowledge10. Excel -.36"* .64** .20 Knowledge11. Motivation -.03 .0112. Pre-Training .30"* Quiz Performance13, Post-Training Quiz Performance ** 12< .01, * 12 < .05, two-tailed Table 1. Correlations among Study Measures correlations. First, post-training fun perceptions correlated with PC and Excel knowledge and were significantly and positively correlated with pre- and post-training Excel quiz performance. both post-training play and post-training work This is consistent with research that finds that perceptions although the former correlation is computer anxiety can have negative implica- higher and more significant than the latter. This tions for learning (e.g., Heinssen et al., 1987; is consistent with research and theory that sug- Martocchio, 1992; and Martocchio & Webster, gests that fun and play are not necessarily 1992). Third, a positive and significant correla- equivalent concepts and that both work and play tion was found between computer anxiety and may be fun. Second, this matrix reveals that post-training work perceptions and pre-training computer anxiety is negatively and significantly work expectations. This suggests that indi- The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 101
  10. 10. viduals who werE; more anxious about com- In the first two-step hierarchical regressionputers were more likely to perceive computer analysis, the first step in the analysis wastraining as work. This finding is consistent with significant, indicating a significant main effect ofresearch suggesting that work perceptions are the control variables on learning. Specifically,less likely to be .associated with positive out- computer anxiety was found to have a signifi-comes than play perceptions. cant and negative effect on learning. However, the second step in this analysis did not accountEffects of Work-and-Play Perceptions on for a significant increase in variance. Post-train-Learning ing perceptions of the extent to which the train-To test Hypothesis; 1 and examine the effects of ing was like play did not influence learning inperceptions of work compared to play on train- the training beyond the effects of the control variables.ing program learning, two, two-step hierarchicalregression analyses were conducted. In thefirst hierarchical regression analysis, all control In the second, two-step hierarchical regressionvariables were entered in the first step and the analysis, the first step was the same as thatpost-training play perceptions scale was entered reported for the first hierarchical regressionin the second step. The control variables in- analysis. Of particular interest is the secondcluded: computer anxiety, PC knowledge, Excel step which did not account for a significant in-knowledge, motivation, and pre-training quiz crease in variance. Post-training perceptions ofperformance. the extent to which the training was like work did not influence learning in training beyond theIn the second, two-step hierarchical regression effects of the control variables. These resultsanalysis, the control variables were entered in do not support Hypothesis 1 which predictedthe first step and the post-training work per- that perceptions of the training as play wouldceptions scale was entered in the second step. positively and significantly influence learningThe increase in r2 contributed by each step is of and would do so to a greater extent thanparticular interest (Horn, Griffith, & Sellaro, perceptions of the training as work. These1984). if the r2 change is significant, it suggests analyses suggest that while the model appearsthat the associated step accounts for a to account for a significant amount of variancesubstantial amount of additional variance in the in learning, neither play nor work perceptionsdependent variable. These analyses are sum- accounted for additional variance in learningmarized in Table 2. beyond the effects of the control variables. Step Independent Measure " beta r2 &r2 (1) Computer Anxiety -.40"* PC Knowledge -.09 Excel Knowledge -.09 Motivation .04 Pre-Training Quiz Performance .24t .20"* .20"* (2) Play Perceptions -.03 .20" .00 (2) Work Perceptions -.07 .20" .00 (2) Play Perceptions -.23t Fun Pemeptions .32" .26"* .06t **]2<.01, *D<.05, t l ~ < . 1 0 Table 2. Hierarchical Regression Analyses on Leaming 102 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems-- Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  11. 11. Work, Play, and Fun Perceptions play perceptions (beta = -.24, 12 < .10) and a significant and positive effect of post training funAnalyses were conducted to determine the perceptions on learning (beta = .35, p < .05).relationship between work, play, and fun Post-training work perceptions did not have aperceptions and how these perceptions, in turn, significant effect on learning.influenced ]earning in training. First, correlationanalyses indicated that the correlation between This and the correlation analyses indicate thatpost-training pray and fun perceptions was the post-training play perceptions measurepositive and significant (_r = .63, p < .01 ) as was operated as a suppressor variable (Cascio,the correlation between post-training work and 1991; Pedhazur, 1982). First, post-training playfun perceptions (r = .25, p < .05). This pattern and fun perceptions were positively and sig-of results is consistent with the contention that nificantly correlated with each other. Second,fun is more highly correlated with play compared post-training perceptions of play had a nearto work (Dandridge, 1986). Results are also zero correlation with the criterion (post-trainingconsistent with research by Abramis (1990) quiz performance). Third, when the post-which found that a measure of play was signi- training play perceptions scale was entered intoficentiy and highly correlated with six measures the regression equation, the coefficient on theof various aspects of fun (_r= .37 - .52). post-training fun perceptions scale increased (from .19 to .35), r2 increased (from .23 to .27),Second, a regression analysis was conducted and the coefficient on the post-training play per-which regressed post-training quiz performance captions scale was negative and marginallyon the five control variables (computer anxiety, significant (beta = -.24, p < .10).PC knowledge, Excel knowledge, motivation,and pre-training quiz performance), and the This series of analyses suggests that fun andpost-training work, play, and fun perception play perceptions are related but not necessarilyscales. The results of this regression analysis equivalent concepts. In light of these results, aare summarized in Table 3. This analysis re- two-step hierarchical regression analysis wasvealed that the variables explained a significant conducted to determine whether post-trainingamount of variance in learning (r2= .27, .o < .01 ). play and fun perceptions together accounted for a significant amount of additional variance inComputer anxiety was found to have a signifi- learning beyond the effects of the control vari-cant and negative effect on learning, while pre- ables. In the first step, the control variablestraining quiz performance had a positive and were entered (computer anxiety, PC knowledge,significant effect on post-training quiz perfor- Excel knowledge, motivation, and pre-trainingmance. In addition, this analysis revealed a quiz performance). In the second step, both themarginal and negative effect of post-training post-training play and fun perceptions scales were entered. The results are reported in Table 2. The analyses indicate that the second step accounted for a marginally significant amount of Variable beta additional variance in learning. In addition, con- Computer Anxiety -.40"* sistent with earlier analyses, post-training play PC Knowledge -. 11 perceptions had a marginally significant but Excel Knowledge -. 19 negative effect on learning while post-training Motivation .00 fun perceptions had a significant and positive Pre-Training Quiz Performance .32* effect on learning. Play Perceptions -.24t Work Perceptions -. 12 Trainer Effects Fun Perceptions .35" r2 .27** Hypothesis 2 predicted that trainees per- ceptions of the training as work and play would be influenced by the trainer. We predicted that **1::)<.01, * p < . 0 5 , t P < . 1 0 trainees play perceptions would be high when Table 3. Regression Analysis Exploring their trainer was perceived to have a high play the Effects of Post-training Work, Play, orientation and trainees work perceptions would and Fun Perceptions on Learning be high when their trainer was perceived toThe DATA BASE for Advances in Information S y s t e m s - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 103
  12. 12. Variable Play Perceptions beta r2 Trainer Play Orientation .64"* Trainer Work Orientation •12 .42.* Work Perceptions Trainer Play Orientation .23** Trainer Work Orientation .67"* .49** Fun Perceptions Trainer Play Orientation .55** Trainer Work Orientation .23" .35"* *12<.01, *10<.05, 1"12<.10 Table 4. Regression Analyses Exploring the Effects of Trainer Work-and-Play Orientation on Post-training Work, Play, and Fun Perceptionshave a high work orientation. In order to test ations, post-training play perceptions, and post-this hypothesis, a number of analyses were con- training work perceptions respectively on theducted. training section, which was dummy coded. Re- call that subjects were assigned to one of sevenFirst, post-training work-and-play perceptions training sessions each of which had a differentscales respectively were regressed on the two head trainer. Analyses revealed that there wasitems that measured perceptions of the trainers no main effect of section on the pre-training playwork and play orientation. The first question expectations F(6, 68) = 1.30, 2 = ns, r2 = .10, orasked trainees to indicate the extent to which pre-training work expectations scales F(6, 68) =the trainers made the Excel training seem like .58, 12 = ns, r2 = .05. However, a main effect ofwork and the second question asked trainees to section was found on the post-training playindicate the extent to which the trainers made perceptions scale F(6, 68) = 2.90, 13 < .05, r ~ =the Excel training seem like play. Results of this .20, but not the post-training work perceptionsanalysis are presented in Table 4. Consistent scale F(6, 68) = 1.18, p = ns, r2 = .09. Third,with Hypothesis 2, results indicated that post- additional correlation analyses suggested thattraining play perceptions were significantly influ- training section was significantly correlated withenced by perceptions of the trainers play trainer play orientation (r = .31, 12< .01), but notorientation. Also consistent with Hypothesis 2, trainer work orientation (r = .00, 1o= ns).post-training work perceptions were significantlyinfluenced by perceptions of the trainers work Together these analyses suggest that socialorientation. Although unanticipated, this ana- context (e.g., trainers) can influence traineeslysis also revealed that post-training work work and play perceptions even in the absenceperceptions were significantly influenced by of explicit instructions to label tasks as work-perceptions of the trainers play orientation. versus-play.Finally, even though we did not hypothesize thatinstructor orientation would influence post- Trainee by Trainer Interaction Effectstraining perceptions of fun, we conducted addi-tional analyses to explore this possibility. Hypotheses 3 predicted that trainees pre-Analyses revealed that post-training fun per- training expectations of the task as work or playceptions were significantly influenced by per- would interact with trainer work and playceptions of both the trainers work and play orientation to influence training outcomes. Spe-orientation. cifically, we predicted that training outcomes (learning) would be more positive whenSecond, four additional regression analyses trainees expectations about whether the taskwere conducted which regressed pre-training would be like work and play were consistentplay expectations, pre-training work expect- with their perceptions of whether the trainer in 104 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems--Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  13. 13. fact made the task seem like work and play. Variable BetaAdditionally, we suggested that the fulfillment or Computer Anxiety -.25?lack of fulfillment of play expectations was likely PC Knowledge -. 11to have a greater effect on learning than the Excel Knowledge -.03fulfillment or lack of fulfillment of work expec-tations. Motivation .14 Pre-Training Quiz Performance .24In order to test this hypothesis, a regression Play Expectations (PE) .13analysis was conducted in which post-training Work Expectations (WE) -.28quiz performance was regressed on the control Trainer Play Orientation (TP) -. 12variables (computer anxiety, PC knowledge, Ex- Trainer Work Orientation (TW) .29cel knowledge, motivation, and pre-training quiz PE x TP .63performance), pre-training work and play expec- PE x TW -1.11"tations, trainer work-and-play orientation, and WE x TP -.08the four relevant two-way interactions between WE x TW .43trainees work-and-play expectations and trainer R2 .34"work-and-play orientation. This regression *P < .05, t P < . 1 0analysis is reported in Table 5. Table 5. Regression Analyses Exploring theAnalyses suggest that these variables account- Independent and Combined Effects of Pre-ed for a significant amount of variance in training Work and Play Expectations andlearning (r2 = .34, P < .05). Results revealed a Trainer Work and Play Orientation onmarginally significant and negative effect of Learningcomputer anxiety on learning. In addition, asignificant and negative effect for one of the learning in a field study. The main findings oftwo-way interactions was found (pre-training this research are reviewed next.play expectations x trainer-work orientation).Following procedures recommended by Peters, Effects of Work-and-Play Perceptions onOConnor, and Wise (1984) we used within- Leamingsubgroup regression equations to examine thisinteraction. First, high play expectation and low We predicted that perceptions of the training asplay expectation conditions were created by play would more positively and significantlydoing a median split on the pre-training play affect learning than perceptions of the trainingexpectations scale. Next, equations regressing as work after controlling for a number of factorspost-training quiz performance on trainer work (Hypothesis 1). However, contrary to prediction,orientation were plotted for the high and low perceptions of the computer training as play didplay expectation conditions using unstan- not account for a significant amount of addi-dardized regression coefficients. This plot is tional variance in learning after controlling forshown in Figure 1. computer anxiety, PC knowledge, Excel know- ledge, motivation, and pre-training quiz per-Consistent with Hypothesis 3, this figure formance. As expected, perceptions of theindicates that subjects learned less when their training as work did not account for a significantpre-training play expectations were high and amount of additional variance in learning be-they perceived that the trainer made the training yond the effects of the control variables. Theseseem more like work. However, the interaction findings are inconsistent with prior researchbetween pre-training play expectations and which finds that labeling computer training playtrainer play orientation was not significant. positively influences training outcomes (Web-Consequently, only partial support was found for ster et al., 1990; Webster & Martocchio, 1993).Hypothesis 3. These results suggest that un-fulfilled play expectations have a greater impact One explanation for the lack of effect for playon learning than fulfilled play expectations. perceptions in the current study is that indi- viduals perceptions of play may be especiallyDiscussion predictive when trainers explicitly label com- puter training tasks. Prior research that hasThis research explored the effects of work, play, explored the effects of labeling in computerand fun perceptions of computer training on training has explicitly manipulated task labels.The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 105
  14. 14. Explicit manipulations of tasks as work or play influence on training outcomes. Learning wasare likely to prime individuals work and play regressed on a number of control variables, andcategories and influence training outcomes. In post-training work, play, and fun perceptions.the current study, perceptions were measured Results of this regression analysis and cor-and not manipulalled. This suggests that per- relation analyses indicated that the post-trainingceptions of a task as play may be less influential play perceptions measure operated as a sup-when the social context does not consistently pressor variable (Cascio, 1991; Pedhazur,and explicitly m~=ke task labels salient. A 1982). Specifically, post-training perceptions ofsecond explanation for the lack of effect for play fun appeared to have a significant and positiveperceptions is suggested by the research of effect on learning while post-training percep-Webster and Martocchio (1993) which found tions of play had a marginally significant andthat the effects ,of labeling training play on negative effect on learning. No significant effectlearning were moderated by an individual was found for post-training work perceptions.difference characteristic (i.e., age). This re-search suggests that play perceptions may only The current results suggest that perceptions ofhave beneficial el~ects for certain types of indi- the task as play had a negative effect onviduals obscuring a main effect in the present learning in the training. This may be becausestudy. individuals who perceived the training as playWork, Play, and Fun Perceptions perceived it to be less serious or important and therefore performed less well. On the otherFurther analysis of the data suggested that play hand, those who perceived the training as funperceptions did in fact influence learning but did found the training enjoyable, may have beenso in a complicated manner. The current study more motivated to perform in the training, andmeasured the extent to which trainees per- learned more. This interpretation is consistentceived the training as work, play, and fun in or- with the pattern of correlations that reveals thatder to determine the relationship between these pre-training motivation was more highly andperceptions and to assess their relative positively correlated with post-training fun 10- 9 - ... 8 Post-training Quiz 7 Performance 6 (Numberof 5 correct~tem~) 4" 3 2 1 0 I I 1 I I I : : 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 ? 8 Low Orientation Trainer Work Orientation High Orientation Figure 1. Interaction Between Pre-training Play Expectations and Trainer Work Orientation on Learning 106 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems--Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  15. 15. perceptions (r = .22, 12 = ns) than post-training primarily driven by differences between trainersplay perceptions (r = .09, 12 = ns) although appears reasonable in light of the first set ofneither of these correlations is significant. This analyses showing the direct effect of trainerinterpretation is also consistent with the finding orientation on trainees work, play, and fun per-that post-training work perceptions were more ceptions. This assumption is also consistenthighly correlated with post-training fun per- with the fact that the training module materialceptions (r = .25, 12< .05) than post-training play and computer resources were standardizedperceptions (r = .14, 12 = ns) and that post- across sections.training work perceptions were highly andpositively correlated with motivation (r = .40, p_<.01). Trainee by Trainer Interaction EffectsThe suppressor effect suggests that play and Hypothesis 3 suggested that trainees pre-fun perceptions were highly related but percep- training expectations about whether the tasktions of the training as fun were beneficial while would be like work or play would interact withperceptions of the training as play were not. trainer orientation, whether trainees perceivedThis pattern of results is consistent with re- the trainer made the task seem like work orsearch and theory that suggests that play and play, to influence learning. Specifically, we sug-fun are not necessarily equivalent concepts and gested that pre-training work-and-play expec-that work as well as play may be fun (Abramis, tations that were consistent with perceptions of 1990; Biesty, 1986; Burke, 1971; Glynn and the trainers work-and-play orientation wouldWebster, 1992). It is also consistent with the have a positive influence on learning, whilefinding that a play orientation can in some cir- expectations that were inconsistent with thecumstances have negative effects (e.g., San- trainers orientation would have a negative influ-delands, 1988; Schuck, 1985). ence on learning. Further, we anticipated that the fulfillment or lack of fulfillment of play ex-Trainer Effects pectations would have a greater effect on learning than the fulfillment or lack of fulfillmentResults suggest that trainers influenced of work expectations. Partial support for thistrainees work-and-play perceptions. This was hypothesis was found.indicated by a number of analyses. First, workand play perceptions respectively were re-gressed on perceptions that the trainer made A regression analysis was conducted which re-the training seem like work and like play. These gressed learning on the control variables, work-analyses indicated that trainer work orientation and-play expectations, trainer work-and-playinfluenced trainees perceptions of the training orientation, and the interactions between traineeas work and trainer play orientation influenced work-and-play expectations and trainer work-trainees perceptions of the training as play. and-play orientation. The regression accountedAdditional analyses also revealed that trainer for a significant amount of variance in learningorientation significantly influenced post-training and indicated that one interaction term had afun perceptions. significant and negative effect on learning. Spe- cifically, trainees who had higher playSecond, results revealed no differences be- expectations learned less when they perceivedtween training sections on work-and-play ex- that their trainer made the training seem morepectations prior to the start of training. How- like work. Contrary to expectation, no evidenceever, following the training, differences in play was found for a play expectations x trainer playperceptions among training sections were orientation interaction, suggesting that unful-found. Third, the training section was sig- filled play expectations had a greater influencenificantly correlated with trainer play orientation. on learning than fulfilled expectations. Finally,Although training- section effects may have also as expected, there was little evidence that theresulted from other aspects of the training fulfillment or lack of fulfillment of trainees workcontext (e.g., classmates), the pattern of results expectations influenced learning. These ana-presented suggests that trainers influenced lyses suggest that the trainer may play antrainees perceptions of the task. The important role in the context of computerassumption that section differences are training.The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 107
  16. 16. Implications label training contexts. This may suggest that trainers need to be aware of how they influenceFirst, current results suggest that perceptions of trainees work, play, and fun perceptions anda task as play may, not necessarily have a posi- learn how to intentionally influence thesetive effect and may even have a negative effect perceptions.on learning. Our results suggest that per-ceptions of training as fun may have more Third, current results revealed that the extent topositive and beneficial effects on learning than which there was congruence between traineesperceptions of the training as play or work. The expectations that the training would be like workpost-training play perceptions measure ap- or play and perceptions that the trainer madepeared to operate as a suppressor variable, in- the training seem like work or play influencedcreasing the positiive effect of post-training fun learning. Specifically, results indicated thatperceptions on learning. Perceptions of the when individuals expected the training to be liketraining as play may have been accompanied by play and they perceived that the trainer made itperceptions that the training was tess serious or seem more like work, learning was negativelyimportant. In contrast, perceptions of the train- affected. This suggests that trainers shoulding as fun appeared to be more highly and attempt to assess and in some cases influencepositively correlated with pre-training motivation trainees pre-training expectations. It is likelyand work perceptions. that many trainees have inappropriate and unrealistic expectations about the training. InThe current results suggest that it is particularly addition, this finding suggests that trainers mayimportant that trainees perceive training as fun need to alter their behavior (where appropriate)but not necessarily as play. This could be to reduce the potential for unfulfilled trainingaccomplished by having trainers explicitly label expectations. Therefore, these results suggesttraining situations as fun. Research by Webster that it is important that trainers understandand Martocchio (1993) suggests that this might trainees expectations, make sure that they arebe accomplished in a fairly straightforward accurate and realistic, and behave in a mannermanner. Fun and enjoyable aspects of the that is consistent with these expectations.training could be highlighted for trainees by thetrainer or training material. Finally, while trainers appeared to influence trainees perceptions and learning, the currentSecond, study results suggest that social study also found some evidence that individualcontext appears to have an influence on train- difference factors played an important role inees perceptions of the training as work or play. learning. Specifically, subjects who experi-Specifically, trainers appeared to influence enced a greater amount of computer anxiety didtrainees work, play, and fun perceptions. To less well on the Excel quizzes. This finding isthe extent that these perceptions affect learning, consistent with previous research that finds thattrainer influence is important. These findings computer anxiety can have detrimental effectssuggest that trainers may be able to shape on learning (e.g., Heinssen et al., 1987; Martoc-perceptions in a way that can have a significant chio, 1992; and Martocchio & Webster, 1992).and positive influence on learning. For ex- This result suggests that it is important toample, current results suggest that trainers can consider the role of individual difference factorsshape the extent to which trainees perceive as well as social contextual factors intraining as fun and thus positively influence microcomputer training. This might suggest thatlearning. This can be done by having trainers trainers assess the extent to which individualsbehave in particular ways (e.g., model certain are anxious about computer training and taketypes of behavior), or by specifically labeling steps t o alleviate this anxiety (e.g., showingtraining fun. The influence of trainers in the trainees that they are unlikely to break thecontext of training is not always acknowledged computer).nor is it aT~vays intentional. Current resultssuggest that trainers are likely to differ in the Limitations and Future Researchextent to which they influence traineesperceptions of the training (as work, play, and These research results should be interpreted infun) in the absence of specific instructions to the context of several of the studys limitations. 108 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems-- Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
  17. 17. First, and most importantly, this research was a was small in the context of some of our analysesfield study. Consequently, the external validity which included a relatively large number ofof this study is quite high, while internal validity variables. However, while a relatively smallis likely to be lower due to the lack of ex- sample may limit our ability to detect smallperimental control. Because much of the effects, it also increases our confidence in theprevious research on work-and-play orientation effects we did find. Effects must be quite largein computer training has been experimental in to be detected in small samples using con-nature, we chose to conduct a field study. ventional levels of statistical significance (Co- However, this research was relational and ex- hen, 1988). ploratory in nature and therefore few causal claims can be made. For example, we cannot Future research should explore work, play, and conclude that work and play perceptions were fun perceptions of more and different types of influenced by trainer work-and- play orientation subjects. For example, current study subjects based solely on the regression analyses had some familiarity with micro-computers be- reported in Table 4. cause they had already taken several training modules prior to the Excel module. Thus, ef-One could argue that work and play perceptions fects found in this study may not generalize toinfluenced perceptions of the extent to which less experienced trainees. However, we believetrainers made the task seem like work or play. that these findings have implications for organi-Therefore, wherever possible, we included zations. Study subjects had some work exper-additional analyses to help isolate the nature of ience and organizations offer their employeesthe effects that were found. For example, in software training similar to that provided in theorder to provide additional evidence that train- current study (e.g., Ballou & Rush, 1996).ers influenced trainees work-and-play per-ceptions, we looked for differences in these The current study explored work, play, and funperceptions by training section before and after perceptions following subjects participation inthe training. In addition, we believe that it is an Excel training module. However, this trainingreasonable to conclude that perceptions of play module was the fourth module to be covered inand fun influenced learning and not the reverse a series of modules. It is possible that the ef-for two reasons. First, subjects did not know fects found in the current study might not behow well they scored on either the pre- or the found in other types of computer-based training.post-training Excel quiz. It is difficult to imagine Certain types of software may require morehow learning would influence perceptions of the creativity, spontaneity, and imagination to usetask if subjects were not told how much they (e.g., graphics software packages). We would learned. Second, previous experimental re- predict that perceptions of the task as playsearch provides evidence that task perceptions might be even more important in these training (e.g., play perceptions) influence learning. contexts.Although 273 individuals were enrolled in the In addition, computer training on non-computerExcel training module, only 75 individuals pro- related topics (e.g., problem-solving) may differvided complete and usable pre- and post-train- from training on computer applications such asing questionnaires. This participation rate was Excel. It is also unclear how work-and-playlow and is likely due to two factors. First, perceptions may have differed across thetrainees believed that they could skip a training training modules. It might be that perceptions ofclass when they were familiar with the material the training changed as the content of thecovered on that day. Second, the post-training training changed and as trainees exposure toquestionnaire was administered close to stu- the trainer increased. Consequently, future re-dents midterm exams. This was unavoidable search should explore work, play, and funbecause the timing of both the training and perceptions in the context of different types ofexams was determined by the MBA department. microcomputer training and observe how these perceptions change over time as a function of It is not clear how representative these 75 the content of the training and the nature of the individuals are of the entire MBA program or of trainees relationship with the trainer. It is also other individuals who are likely to take computer important to explore the extent to which work, training classes. Additionally, the sample size play, and fun perceptions at different pointsThe DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems - - Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2) 109
  18. 18. during the training are predictive of important software that shape trainees perceptions andtraining outcomes. learning much as human trainers do? Future research is necessary to assess the differencesThe current research used a multiple-item quiz between human-led and computer-based train-administered prior to and following the Excel ing and to determine the effect of incorporatingtraining to measure learning. However, it would the role of the trainer into the computer itself onbe useful to expllore other types of learning training outcomes.measures in futu~re research. For example,future research might explore the speed with Referenceswhich learned skills are executed in a simulatedwork task. In addition, it may also be important Abramis, D. J. (1990). "Play in Work: Childishto explore the number of errors made in the Hedonism or Adult Enthusiasm," Americanexecution of learned skills. Processing speed Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 33, pp. 353-373.and errors measured in human-computer inter- Allan, K. (1993). "Computer Courses Ensureaction research can provide additional infor- Uniform Training," Personnel Journal, Vol.mation about the extent to which computer skills 72, No. 6, pp. 65-71.and knowledge are well-learned (e.g., Card, Baldwin, T. T., and Karl, K.A. (1987). "The De-Moran, & Newell, 1983; Rubinstein & Hersh, velopment and Empirical Test of a Measure of 1984). Assessing Motivation to Learn in Management Education," In F. Hoy (Ed.), Academy ofIn addition, future research should develop and Management Best Paper Proceedings, Newassess construct valid measures of work, play, Orleans, LA, pp. 117-121.and fun perceptions in the context of computer Ballou, D. J., and Rush, C. A. (1996). "Atraining. The current research was exploratory Survey of Computer-Based Training Practicesin nature and suggests that work, play, and fun in a Sample of Canadian Financial Post 500perceptions are distinct but correlated. How- Companies," Proceedings of the Human Re-ever, this study does not provide detailed infor- sources Division of the Administrativemation regarding the basis of these perceptions Sciences Association of Canada, Montreal,or the nature of the relationship between these Quebec, pp. 53-63.perceptions. In light of current study results, it Barnett, L.A. (1990). "Playfulness: Definition,is important to explore the nature of work, play, Design, and Measurement," Play and Culture,and fun perceptions in some detail and to deter- Vol. 3, pp. 319-336.mine whether the concepts of play and fun are Biesty, P. (1986). "If Its Fun, Is It Play? Ain fact separable entities that influence learning Median Analysis," In B. Mergen (Ed.), Cul-differently. This requires greater attention to the tural Dimensions of Play, Games, and Sport.measurement of work, play, and fun perceptions Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, pp. 61-72. in future research. Burke, R. (1971). "Work and Play," Ethics, Vol. 82, pp. 33-47.The current study suggests that trainers can Card, S. K., Moran, T. P., and Newell, A.have a strong influence on trainees perceptions (1983). The Psychology of Human-Computerof training as work, play, or fun, with a resulting Interaction, Hillsdale, N J: Lawrence Erlbaum.impact on learning. However, it would be inter- Cascio, W. F. (1991). Applied Psychology inesting to explore the effects of computer-based Personnel Management (4th ed.), Englewoodtraining which effectively eliminates the role of Cliffs, N J: Prentice Hall.the trainer on trainees work, play, and fun Cellar, D. F., and Barrett, G.V. (1987). "Scriptperceptions and learning. It may be the case Processing and Intrinsic Motivation: The Cog-that software-based training is more or less like nitive Sets Underlying Cognitive Labels," Or-work, play, or fun than human-led training. The ganizational Behavior and Human Decisionextent to which there are differences between Processes, Vol. 40, pp. 115-135.the two types of training suggests the following Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis forquestions: Are individual differences in pre- the Behavioral Sciences, Hillsdale, N J: Law-dispositions toward work, play, and fun more rence Erlbaum.influential in human-led or computer-based Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). "Play and Intrinsictraining? Can computer-based training de- Rewards," Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 15,velopers incorporate cues into the training pp. 41-63. 110 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems-- Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)
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  20. 20. perimental Analysis," Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Informa- tion Systems, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 171-182.Webster, J., and Martocchio, J. J. (1992). "Microcomputer Playfulness: Development of a Measure with Workplace Implications," MIS Quarterly, Vol. 16, pp. 201-226.Webster, J., and Martocchio, J. J. (1993). "Turning Work into Play: Implications for Mi- crocomputer Software Training," Journal of Management, Vol. 19, pp. 127-146.About the AuthorsElissa L. Perry is an assistant professor oflabor and industrial relations at the University ofIllinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned herM.S. and Ph.D. in organizational behavior andtheory from Carnegie Mellon University. Pro-fessor Perry has research interests in the role ofdemographic variables in human resourcejudgments, social ,cognition and human resourcedecision making, individual differences and thetraining process, and sexual harassment. She has published articles in journals such asAcademy of Management Review, Journal ofApplied Psychology, and Journal of AppliedSocial Psychology.E-mail: e-perry@uiuc.eduDeborah J. Ballou is an assistant professor inthe Department of Management at the Univer-sity of Notre Dame. She earned her M.S. andPh.D. in information systems from CarnegieMellon University. Professor Ballou has re-search interests in the study of informationacquisition and decision making as the basis fordesigning more effective computer-based sup-port. The applied areas in which she has con-ducted most of her work are computer-basedperformance monitoring, and decision making intime-pressured, dynamic work environments. She has published articles in journals such asthe Annals of Software Engineering, SIGCHI Bulletin, and Journal of Applied Social Psycho-Iogy.E-mail: Deborah.J.Ballou.l@nd.edu 112 The DATA BASE for Advances in Information Systems--Spring 1997 (Vol. 28, No. 2)