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Overcoming Barriers to Learning Technology Adoption
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Overcoming Barriers to Learning Technology Adoption

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Presentation for SOLSTICE 2013 at Edge Hill University.

Presentation for SOLSTICE 2013 at Edge Hill University.

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  • Hi, my name is Peter Beaumont, I work at Edge Hill as a Learning Technologist, and in this presentation we’re going to look at some of the research that’s been done into barriers to learning technology adoption, and then move on to look at possible ways of overcoming the common barriers.
  • Over the years, at this conference, we’ve heard great stories from people about how an intelligent use of technology made a difference to students. But there are other situations where staff see a benefit to using a learning technology, but in the end they don’t manage to use it with their students… so it feels like there is a hidden cost here. Good stuff that might have happened but didn’t.So I decided to look at what academic staff at Edge Hill perceived the barriers to be [as part of work for my PGCert]
  • We asked them in early 2011 which tools and technologies they had identified as potentially beneficial, and if there were any barriers that had prevented adoption. We got 39 responses with 68 comments on barriers they had not been able to overcome.These could be put in 3 pretty equal categories, Knowledge of what can be done and how to do things, Time to use and to learn how to use, and Systems available computers and software.
  • Here the answers are split into 9 smaller themes, we can see 41% noted that they didn’t think they had the knowledge to use the tools and technologies, with 33% saying that they didn’t have time to learn, and 26% saying they didn’t have time to use the tools in their teaching even when they knew how to.These might be key areas to deal with, but we need to be aware of all the categories.
  • There has been a lot of other research in this area, so we’ll quickly look at what we can learn from it.Lane and Lyle (2010) looked at how technological expertise, gender and age affected perceived obstacles. Beginners find lack of knowledge to be the greatest barrier, more advanced users find lack of time to be the main one. Women reported greater barriers, especially related to lack of time to maintain tech and lack of knowledge. No significant differences related to age.This shows we need to recognise the range of expertise and perceptions of barriers among academic staff when supporting them.
  • Brill and Galloway looked at university instructors in technology-supported general classrooms across a campus. This is an important area to acknowledge as we can often get focused on online technologies.The most significant barriers to effective use of technology in the classroom: poor classroom environments and a lack of or limited availability of equipment. Note this was published in 2007 so there are likely to have been developments in this area since the research was done.
  • External (first-order) and internal (second-order) barriersErtmer (1999), although not talking about Higher Education, uses the idea of first-order barriers (extrinsic to the teacher) and second-order barriers (rooted in teachers beliefs and often unnoticed by the teacher themselves). This is a very interesting way of categorising barriers that are seen, and from the perspective of this research I can identify that my focus lies with the first-order barriers, but also note the value of looking at second order barriers when exploring wider issues related to learning technology adoption.
  • UCISA’s (2010) research found that the three main barriers to TEL development were time, money and academic staff knowledge. [They only used five categories though, and the other two were either not relevant to my research (lack of academic staff commitment) or not present (lack of recognition for career development)]. There are similarities though, in that lack of time was given as a perceived barrier by 59% of respondents, lack of money/resources by 13% and lack of staff knowledge by 59%. Differences may come from the fact that respondents in the UCISA study were likely to be in higher management positions, where as my respondents were likely to be in a range of teaching roles. Those in management positions may be more aware of money as a cause of resource related problems and be therefore more likely to offer that as a reason.Managerial and second order barriers (external) included so gives and alternative view of what the barriers might be
  • The top two barriers to TEL development remain the same as those identified in the 2010 Survey, namely lack of time and money. Departmental/school culture — a new response option for the 2012 Survey – was ranked third. Encouragingly, academic staff knowledge has dropped to fifth in the rankings, indicating greater progress with staff training and awareness of TEL.
  • Other research focusses on the specific challenges related to one tool or technology.Warburton (2009) notes that barriers particular to the educational use of the 3D virtual world ‘Second Life’ include the unusual way identity is constructed in the environment. Design issues that users of the technology have to be prepared to overcome.Lee (2000) looked at language learning technology, and identified lack of appropriate software for the task as a barrier. If appropriate software doesn’t exist, the need to create requires a lot of time and money to develop it.
  • Other research focusses on the specific challenges related to one tool or technology.Warburton (2009) notes that barriers particular to the educational use of the 3D virtual world ‘Second Life’ include the unusual way identity is constructed in the environment. Design issues that users of the technology have to be prepared to overcome.Lee (2000) looked at language learning technology, and identified lack of appropriate software for the task as a barrier. If appropriate software doesn’t exist, the need to create requires a lot of time and money to develop it.
  • So what have we learned from the research?-I saw three categories of barrier - systems, knowledge and time.-Lane and Lyle noted the diversity in the perceptions of the academic staff using the technology, and hense the support they might need-Brill and Galloway noted issues with classroom technology, although that was 6-7 years ago so the specific issues may have changed-Ertmer’s ideas on first and second order barriers help define what we are looking at-The UCISA reports get a manager’s perspectives on barriers seeing time, money and knowledge as the main barriers in 2010 changing to time, money and departmental culture in 2012.-With technologies that are looked at individually, we can see very specific barriers.
  • The aim of looking at all this is to find ways to improve the support for academic staff who see a benefit to using a certain tool or technology with their student, but who come across barriers.So how can the institution, including support staff like Learning Technologists help staff over the barriers, lower the barriers, or remove them all together?
  • The diversity of staff, and issues that the use of specific technologies bring, lead me to think that academic staff need quite personalised support to get the most form Learning Technologies. Perhaps the idea of new academic teams that was part of the SOLSTICE method will provide that.
  • Available systems that academic staff work with are seen as a common barrier. This is developing over time and who knows how BYOD might affect this. But as you provide better systems, we’ll use them to breaking point. Give us more bandwidth and we’ll fill it. We need to manage expectations, keep a dialog with academic staff so that they know the limits of the available systems, and so are not frustrated and disappointed.
  • LS AV Survey to track and improve their classrooms and support.
  • On the face of it available time looks to require top-down solutions. Can academic staff be freed up to work on something innovative? Can they pay a content developer to create something for them? But projects often take much longer the first time you do them, as you learn and learn from mistakes. Available trusted experts, both dedicated LTs and other academic staff who have worked in an area can be useful in ensuring the projects don’t take up too much time.
  • SD sessions, formalise post session support
  • Conclusion, what’s covered and what is not.
  • So this has been a quick overview of some of the research in this area, and some basic thoughts on responding to it. If you want to look at anything mentioned in this session please make a note of this page so you can explore it later. Hope that’s been of some interest.

Transcript

  • 1. OvercomingBarriers toLearningTechnologyAdoptionpeter.beaumont@edgehill.ac.uk
  • 2. Perceptions of academic staffBarriers that have prevented use so farSystems (29% of comments)Time (34%)Knowledge (37%)
  • 3. Perceptions of academic staffIn more detailKnowledge (64% of respondents)• Of what can be done (18%)• Of how to use tools (technically and for T&L) (41%)• Student knowledge (5%)Time (59%)• To use (26%)• To learn to use (33%)• Unreliable systems and inappropriate staff machines (18%)Systems (51%)• Resource availability and cost of equipment (13%)• Inappropriate online environment (13%)• Support (8%)
  • 4. Other researchLane and Lyle (2010)
  • 5. Other researchBrill and Galloway (2007)
  • 6. Other researchErtmer (1999)First Order (External) Second Order (Internal)
  • 7. Other researchUCISA (2010)
  • 8. Other researchUCISA (2012)
  • 9. Other researchSpecific technologies - e.g. Warburtonand 3D Virtual Worlds
  • 10. Other researchSpecific technologies - e.g. Leeand Language Learning Tools
  • 11. Overview of Research
  • 12. Overcoming the Barriers
  • 13. Personalised Support
  • 14. Systems
  • 15. Classroom Technology
  • 16. Time
  • 17. Knowledge
  • 18. Conclusion
  • 19. Image Creditshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/adamhenning/45704086/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/solsticecetl/4386891707/in/set-72157622848780737http://www.sxc.hu/photo/335049http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitalshotgun/454380458/http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonivc/2283676770/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/8463683689/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/acrider/2231073099/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiscinfonet/405736696/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/solsticecetl/8635193358/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiscinfonet/2295412581/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/azmichelle/6978057311/in/photostream/http://www.flickr.com/photos/jiscinfonet/405736631/in/photostream/LicenceThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 2.5 Generic LicenseNotes and Resourcesgoo.gl/IwURi