Motivational Influences on Transfer: Dimensions and Boundary Conditions
Gegenfurtner, Andreas (2011-12-17)
Annales Universitatis Turkuensis B 339
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The focus of this dissertation is the motivational influences on transfer in higher education and professional training contexts. To estimate these motivational influences, the dissertation includes seven individual studies that are structured in two parts. Part I, Dimensions, aims at identifying the dimensionality of motivation to transfer and its structural relations with training-related antecedents and outcomes. Part II, Boundary Conditions, aims at testing the predictive validity of motivation theories used in contemporary training research under different study conditions. Data in this dissertation was gathered from multi-item questionnaires, which were analyzed differently in Part I and Part II. Studies in Part I employed exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, partial least squares (PLS) path modeling, and mediation analysis. Studies in Part II used artifact distribution meta-analysis, (nested) subgroup analysis, and weighted least squares (WLS) multiple regression. Results demonstrate that motivation to transfer can be conceptualized as a three-dimensional construct, including autonomous motivation to transfer, controlled motivation to transfer, and intention to transfer, given a theoretical framework informed by expectancy theory, self-determination theory, and the theory of planned behavior. Results also demonstrate that a range of boundary conditions moderates motivational influences on transfer. To test the predictive validity of expectancy theory, social cognitive theory, and the theory of goal orientations under different study settings, a total of 17 boundary conditions were meta-analyzed, including age; assessment criterion; assessment source; attendance policy; collaboration among trainees; computer support; instruction; instrument used to measure motivation; level of education; publication type; social training context; SS/SMC bias; study setting; survey modality; type of knowledge being trained; use of a control group; and work context. Together, the findings cumulated in this thesis support the basic premise that motivation is centrally important for transfer, but that motivational influences need to be understood from a more differentiated perspective than commonly found in the literature, in order to account for several dimensions and boundary conditions. The results of this dissertation across the seven individual studies are reflected in terms of their implications for theory development and their significance for training evaluation and the design of training environments. Limitations and directions to take in future research are discussed.