Improving computer training effectiveness for decision technologies: Behavior modeling and retention enhancement

Mun Y. Yi, Fred D. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Managers and analysts increasingly need to master the hands-on use of computer-based decision technologies including spreadsheet models. Effective training can prevent the lack of skill from impeding potential effectiveness gains from decision technologies. Among the wide variety of software training approaches in use today, recent research indicates that techniques based on behavior modeling, which consists of computer skill demonstration and hands-on practice, are among the most effective for achieving positive training outcomes. The present research examines whether the established behavior-modeling approach to software training can be improved by adding a retention enhancement intervention as a substitute for, or complement to, hands-on practice. One hundred and eleven trainees were randomly assigned to one of three versions of a training program for spreadsheets: retention enhancement only, practice only, and retention enhancement plus practice. Results obtained while controlling for total training time indicate that a combination of retention enhancement and practice led to significantly better cognitive learning than practice alone. The initial difference in cognitive achievement was still evident one week after training. Implications for future computer training research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-544
Number of pages24
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • And multivariate statistics
  • Behavior modeling
  • Computer training
  • End-user computing
  • IS implementation


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