Retail e‐learning assessment: motivation, location, and prior experience

Jared M. Hansen (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA)
Michael A. Levin (Otterbein University, Westerville, Ohio, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Publication date: 7 September 2010



The purpose of this paper is to provide a more complete theoretical model of retail e‐learning assessment module use. The location (i.e. onsite versus offsite) of assessment and prior experience is treated as moderators between motivation/intention, uses, and value; and differences between subjective and objective value are investigated.


An exploratory, semester‐long, single‐course experiment was conducted using students (n=37) from Mexico and the USA enrolled in a retail‐focused marketing course at a university located near the border between the two countries.


Extrinsic and intrinsic motivations predict participants' use of e‐learning assessment modules. The objective and subjective value of assessment is strongly impacted by the individual's prior performance. Location of assessment moderator is significant.

Research limitations/implications

In addition to focusing on intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, retailers should also consider the possibility that prior experience and location of assessment can affect use and value. Prior experience levels of the participants were found to affect use. Retailers are cautioned not to assume mistakenly that increased use of e‐learning assessment modules results in lower performance. Rather, people that performed better in the past are less likely to use the modules. It is also found that when individuals can take the assessments offsite (e.g. at home, on the road), there is a positive impact on both objective and subjective performance. Retailers should examine the potential of permitting employees to take assessments from home (over the internet) or other remote locations.


The paper highlights the fact that many retailers have adopted e‐learning assessment technologies that include options for either onsite assessment (e.g. kiosks/PCs in human resource/training rooms) or offsite assessment that operations management and corporate staff can perform outside the office. However, little is known about what motivates people to use e‐learning assessment, and how it affects performance across these two locations for assessment. Moreover, knowledge of how location of use influences the relationships is currently missing.



Hansen, J. and Levin, M. (2010), "Retail e‐learning assessment: motivation, location, and prior experience", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 38 No. 10, pp. 789-805.

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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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