Age and Training: A Meta-analysis Examining Training Features
Young, Carmen K
Beier, Margaret E
Doctor of Philosophy
In light of an aging workforce and constant advances in technology, organizations are faced with questions about best practices for training and retraining their workers. Rapid technological developments create a need for organizations to train their employees on new technologies in order to stay competitive within their industries. However, the baby boomers that comprise a large portion of the workforce are aging, making older workers the prime targets for training. Age functions as a proxy for developmental changes in psychological capabilities that can affect learning. As such, organizations need to consider how their current organizational training practices align with the needs of older workers, and how to adjust their training programs such that they are comparably effective for younger and older workers alike. A meta-analytic study was conducted using lifespan motivation and cognitive resources theories to examine the relationship between age and training outcomes; namely trainee reactions, performance, and training times. Results demonstrate that the relationship between age and training outcomes changes with how those outcomes are operationalized. Furthermore, factors such as task content, task complexity, along with the structure and pacing of training programs, differentially impact training outcomes in ways that can help diminish age differences. These findings can be used by researchers and practitioners to work toward creating job-related, fixed-pace training that supports older workers by improving their training times and performance.