Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Online learning 1 - Adoption & implementation of innovations

Three challenges:

  • 1. Professionals from diverse academic backgrounds have little shared knowledge which causes major problems when planning & implementing online ed.
  • 2. Online instructors lack pedagogical background (e.g., constructivist approach, peer learning...)
  • 3. Voice of the clients (students) rarely heard

Diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 1995)

  • Why understand the innovation implementation process - 1. help understand why online learning initiatives succeed or fail; 2. how universities decide on policies that directly affect how instructors are required to deliver their courses
  • Diffusion: the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system (Rogers, 1995)
  • Adopter (individual or organization) types: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
  • Three types of innovation decisions: 1. Optional (problem: member vs. system); 2. Collective (problem: time-consuming, costly) ; 3. Authority (problem: online learning companies take advantage) - reflection: can web 2.0 change the landscape?
  • Disruptive technology (Christensen, 1997) - organizations are reluctant to venture into more risky but highly promising technologies (problem for web 2.0?)
  • Adoption stages: 1. knowledge; 2. persuasion; 3. decision; 4. implementation; 5. confirmation
  • Alternative of the change process (Fullan, 1991, p. 48): 1. initiation; 2. implementation; 3. continuation; 4. outcome
1. The initiation stage (intent): (1) selective perception; (2) attitudes forming (Contemplators, Adopters, & Rejectors); (3) adopter's sense of control; (4) teaching, administrative, and research aspects; (5) companies effect; (6) peer opinion & professional community; (7) administrative support

2. The implementation stage (overt change of behavior): (1) online learning represents a major shift of power (from instructors to instructional designers and learners, universities to corporate learning environments, f2f content to online, and now web 2.0 vs. commercial approach?); (2) non-research universities implement online learning faster (e.g., U. of Phoenix); (3) peer support & strong professional community; (4) business schools are always early adopters (because they stay close with the business front?)

3. The continuation stage (sustainability): (1) administrative support; (2) professional development; (3) facilitative educational methods

4. The outcome stage (assessment): (1) increased ability to apply what has been learned; (2) higher degree of satisfaction among educators and learners; (3) lower employee turnover; (4) the opportunity to cascade certain theories or methods down through the organization via online learning; (5) increased administrative efficiency


Engvig, M. (2006). Online learning: All you need to know to facilitate and administer online courses. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Christensen, C. M. (1997). The innovation dilemma. New York: Harper Business.

Fullan, M. G. (1991). The new meaning of educational change. New York: Teachers College Press.

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