What is it about?

Although we often assume that the "trainer matters", the role of the trainer still tends to be underemphasized in research and practice. We found that trainee reactions (i.e., course evaluations) tend to be influenced more by the trainer than by the content of the course. Even survey questions targeted toward the course textbook and workbook were influenced more by the trainer.

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Why is it important?

Our findings show that trainee reactions (i.e., course evaluations), a common training effectiveness metric, can be heavily influenced by the trainer. This is important because academics and practitioners tend to focus on the training design and content more than the trainer delivering the content. We also found that trainee reactions were less influenced by the trainer than the course content in online courses, suggesting that the physical and psychological distance often observed in online courses may limit the influence of the trainer. Finally, we also found that how the trainer delivers the content may be important, suggesting that edutainment practices may be one way in which trainers influence trainees.

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This page is a summary of: The trainer matters: Cross-classified models of trainee reactions., Journal of Applied Psychology, February 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/apl0000503.
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