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  1. 1. Diffusion Theories INTC 5110 Fall 2010
  2. 2. Diffusion and Adoption  Technology and Instructional Design can be seen as innovations  New inventions/practices  The success of innovations lies in how widely they are distributed (diffused) and accepted (adopted).  Diffusion and adoption has to do with studying the extent to which an innovation is used or not used, and why.  Looks at how people adapt to innovations, and the complexity of social and other structures that impact an innovation’s acceptance. 
  3. 3. Process  Everett Rogers’ book, Diffusion of Innovations, first set out this idea of a diffusion and adoption process.  Innovation-Decision Process Model: Knowledge Persuasion Decision Implementation Confirmation
  4. 4. Adopter Categories  In each community, organization, or group there are different types of people:  Innovators are the 2.5% who readily adopt. These are the people who will try any new technology that comes along.  Early Adopters are the 13.5% who are persuaded quickly and try the innovation and find it useful.  Early Majority are the 34% who wait for Early Adopters to have success then adopt.  Late Majority are 34% who adopt once an innovation has become commonplace.  Laggards are the 16% who either never adopt or fight adoption after it has become common.
  5. 5. Adoption Curve
  6. 6. FIGURE 1. How individual adoptions compose diffusion. Straub E T REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH 2009;79:625-649 Copyright © by American Educational Research Association
  7. 7. Time to Adoption  Usually adoption follows a pattern of a slow start (only the Innovators and Early Majority), followed by a rapid adoption (the Early Majority and Late Majority) then slowing down. Source:
  8. 8. Theory of Perceived Attributes (Rogers)  Increased adoption if perceived by adopters in certain ways:  Trialability - Can be tried on a limited basis before adoption  Observability- Offers observable results  Relative Advantage - Has an advantage relative to other innovations  Complexity - Is not overly complex  Compatibility - Is compatible with existing practices and values.
  9. 9. How it Applies  When looking to infuse technology into a community (an organization or a school district, for example), the diffusion and adoption process helps you:  Plan for best chance of success  Identify important persons (users)  Measure potential concerns/ problems  Identify obstacles and plan to overcome
  10. 10. How it Applies  Used for:  Planning systemic change and reforms  Increasing utilization of specific instructional products and processes  Useful as a tool for evaluating progress
  11. 11. Determinist versus Instrumentalist  Determinist – technology is a force that takes over the process, and we are knowing or unknowing slaves to it  Instrumentalist – we control technology, using it as a tool for our own aims and goals
  12. 12. Determinist versus Instrumentalist
  13. 13. Determinist versus Instrumentalist  Determinist ID models  Deterministic in belief that superior technological products and systems will, by virtue of their superiority alone, replace inferior products and systems  Potential adopters are viewed as being predisposed to adopt innovations that are quantifiably superior (top-down?)  Diffusion through technological superiority is the implicit goal of the process
  14. 14. Determinist versus Instrumentalist  Instrumentalist ID models  Focus on the human and interpersonal aspects of innovation diffusion  View the individual who will ultimately implement the innovation in a practical setting, as the primary force for change  A variety of factors, most unrelated to technical superiority, influence the decision to adopt or reject an innovation
  15. 15. Determinist versus Instrumentalist
  16. 16. User Oriented Instructional Development  Burkman (1987)  Identify the potential adopter  Measure relevant potential adopter perceptions  Design and develop a user-friendly product  Inform the potential adopter (of the product's user-friendliness)  Provide Post Adoption Support
  17. 17. CBAM (Concerns Based Adoption Model)  Hall and Hord (1987)  Change facilitators understand change from the point of view of the people who will be affected by change  Bring about systemic restructuring by understanding the social, political, and interpersonal aspects 
  18. 18. CBAM Assumptions  CBAM was developed based on six explicit assumptions:  “Change is a process, not an event.”  “Change is accomplished by individuals.”  “Change is a highly personal experience.”  “Change involves developmental growth.”  “Change is best understood in operational terms.”  “The focus of facilitation should be on individuals, innovations, and context.”  (Hord, Rutherford, Huling-Austin, & Hall, 1987)
  19. 19. CBAM Components  Stages of concern (SoC)  Levels of use (LoU)  Innovation configuration (IC).
  20. 20. TAP and UTAUT Technology Acceptance Model Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology
  21. 21. Facilitative Conditions  Ely (1999) identified eight common conditions for implementation:  Dissatisfaction with present process  Knowledge and skills exist  Availability of resources  Availability of time  Rewards and incentives  Participation by all parties  Commitment  Leadership
  22. 22. Other Factors  A host of other factors can also impact whether an innovation is adopted, including:  Organizational climate  Demographics  Relative advantage  Complexity vs. Simplicity  “Trialability” before wholesale adoption
  23. 23. Applied to Organizations  So how does technology and instructional design become diffused and adopted?  What make some innovations more likely to be adopted?  What innovations have been successfully implemented already?
  24. 24. Some Background  Instructional Design and Technology (IDT)  “ID” Came out of systems thinking and military/corporate practice  “T” developed from visual communications and instructional media  Where the two meet they have been prone to misunderstandings  See IDT people as strictly technologists  See value as technology integration specialists  Merely an add-on to existing practice, not as redefining practice
  25. 25. Goal of IDT  Understanding the potential for technology to be used in conjunction with instructional design to enhance learning and performance.  Understand how people utilize technology, and support the development of new practices that foster learning and achievement.  Provide alternative methods and strategies for adoption.
  26. 26. Example: Objectives  Objectives  In IDT field, started in 1960s with Mager, and also via Programmed Instruction (Skinner).  In K-12, started in 1970s with administrative push for teacher planning.  Expectations of their value have been high, but research mixed.  Many times seen as trivial by teachers and trainers.  Best when used to make sound decisions about instructional strategies  Low impact for this innovation.
  27. 27. Example: Problem-Based Learning  Idea that using authentic problems and cases when teaching helps students achieve higher-order outcomes such as critical thinking.  Often works when done correctly.  However, it takes a great deal of work, and often appears misaligned to curriculum standards (does not teach to the test).  Some adoption, but not on large scale.
  28. 28. Implications  Obviously, IDT has not had wide adoption in K-12 schools.  Expectations often not met.  Not part of K-12 culture.  Standards and other initiatives take precedence.  Still seen as technologists.  Yet we persist in trying to match the two, and we get many students in Masters programs in IDT.  Value seen at the small scale level (one teacher, one school)  Inherent belief that we can do things better  Technology is a tool, and ID is a process, with great potential; we just need to figure out better ways of using them in K-12