Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Harold W. Boles

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Brashear


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which knowledge and use of learning theory are reflected in corporate training programs. The literature review was concentrated in three areas, namely: (1) nature and quality of training programs, (2) theories of learning, and (3) training programs and learning theory. That literature indicated that references to learning during training generally dealt with logistics, or teaching and instructional methods (lecture, self-instruction, or on-the-job training).

The investigator posited that training specialists need to be attuned to trainee needs and to provide optimum opportunities for addressing those needs. Instead of the hypotheses originally proposed, a decision was made to use a research question, which was "To what extent are knowledge and use of learning theory reflected in the nature of training programs?" The writer proceeded to develop an interview questionnaire and an analysis checklist instrument based on principles of adult learning, or "andragogy." Data were gathered from a telephone survey of representatives of 16 "Fortune 500" companies located throughout the United States. Those representatives provided responses to specifics of how the aforementioned components are facilitated within corporate training environments.

The analysis provided clear evidence that in the 16 companies investigated, trainee participation varied from "almost none" to "modest" in the assessment, planning, implementation and delivery, and evaluation of training programs. Of those four elements of training programs, planning was the one in which there was least trainee participation reported.

The study seemed to indicate that even the companies that reported greatest trainee participation could hardly be classed as trainee oriented. However, several of the companies, based on the writer's judgment, the interview transcripts, the profile of the "typical" training program, and in-depth descriptions of the 16 company training programs, could be classed as definitely organization oriented. A major overall conclusion was that all of the companies need to be cognizant of, and demonstrate more use of, andragogical principles in their training programs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access