Antecedents and Consequences of Online Consumer Learning

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Economics and Business Management


Learning is a fundamental process underlying consumer behavior. This is especially true when (new) products or services are purchased and used for the first time. Existing research in psychology and marketing has focused on pedagogical principles to explain how consumers learn to use products in offline settings. This research aims to broaden this scope by exploring learning processes in online contexts and by drawing on an andragogical, i.e. adult learning, and cognitive perspective. Using a multi-method approach based on a qualitative study including semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations, and a quantitative part involving a survey and experiments, our results contribute to the understanding of consumer e-learning.

First, we identify how and by which processes adult consumers learn in an online environment. Second, we determine andragogical and online factors that help reducing consumers’ cognitive effort in new product learning, and consequently improve their appropriation of the product usage. In a context in which the ineffectiveness of traditional step-by-step instructions leads to reduced insight-based learning and product usage intention, this research contributes theoretically to the field of consumer learning by investigating consumer learning from an andragogical and cognitive perspective, and addressing critical issues such as product unlearning.
Date of Award14 Oct 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
  • Université Lille 1
SupervisorAlain DECROP (Supervisor), Dominique Crié (Supervisor), Annick CASTIAUX (President), Marc ROMAINVILLE (Jury), Pierre Volle (Jury) & Arun Lakshmanan (Jury)


  • consumer learning
  • andragogy
  • cognitive load
  • e-learning

Attachment to an Research Institute in UNAMUR

  • NADI

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