Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

Steven A. Freeman


A research study was undertaken that examined issues related to evaluating the effectiveness of safety training. Specific research areas were identified after a thorough review of the literature. Research questions were identified and evaluated with the context of evaluating a chemical safety training course offered at Iowa State University in both classroom and computer-based formats. The first major focus of the study was on the development and testing of a "model" that could be used to develop and then evaluate the effectiveness of the training. The second major focus area was related to examining learning and retention of course material; characteristics of the learner that may influence learning were also evaluated. The third focus area examined nuances associated with the assessment techniques used to measure learning. Results of the first focus area showed that the model was a very useful mechanism by which data could be collected, analyzed and then used by the safety professional to improve the effectiveness of safety training. Results of the second focus area showed that there were no significant differences in learning and retention between study participants taking the training on computer versus in the classroom; learner characteristics did not impact the observed amount of learning in either group. Results of the third focus area showed the importance of evaluating and considering characteristics associated with the assessment technique such as question and exam difficulty relative to interpreting the measured amount of learning. The study concludes with a summary of lessons learned information related to each of the three focus areas and suggests that more extensive research be conducted and that the day-to-day safety practitioner can play a key role in advancing the state of knowledge of evaluating training effectiveness.


Copyright Owner

James Hale Withers



Date Available


File Format


File Size

156 pages