Do motives matter? An examination of reasons for attending training and their influence on training effectiveness


Previous training research has typically considered individuals' motives for attending training as voluntary or mandatory. This study expanded upon previous research by exploring the various motives or reasons that individuals have for attending training and development programs. A review of previous research on training suggested six reasons or motives as potential determinants of individuals' decisions to attend training. A model was developed proposing individual and contextual variables as antecedents of reasons for attending training, and relationships were hypothesized between attendance motives, pre-training motivation to learn, and indicators of training effectiveness. Participants were one hundred seventeen mathematics teachers of various grade levels (K--12) who attended a summer professional development program. The program was designed to improve content knowledge of mathematics and promote nationally recognized instructional practices. Participants completed two surveys, administered before and after the four-week program. Results provided support for hypothesized key reasons for attending training: compliance, skill improvement, intrinsic interest, career management, and performance standards. Individuals who reported attending the program based on intrinsic interest or a desire for skill improvement also reported higher motivation to learn, while those who attended due to a compliance motive were less motivated to learn. Performance and goal orientation emerged as significant predictors of individuals' reasons for attending training. Further, motivation to learn was positively related to training reactions. The results suggest that individuals' decisions to attend training and development programs may be based on complex factors and personal goals. Implications for future research are discussed

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