Adoption and Diffusion

2100 Words5 Pages

Adoption and Diffusion

"The emergence of the basic paradigm for early diffusion research [was] created by two rural sociologists at Iowa State University, Bryce Ryan and Neal C. Gross" and gained recognition when they "published the results of their hybrid corn study"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 1 ) in 1943. Post World War II agriculture experienced a boom in "technological innovation" and "as a result…U.S. farms became business enterprises rather than family-subsistence units…concerned with productivity, efficiency, competitiveness, and agricultural innovations"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 11 ). These concerns lead to many agricultural studies based on the diffusion paradigm developed by Ryan and Gross. In their studies, Ryan and Gross were able to show that diffusion was a "social process through which subjective evaluations of an innovation spread from earlier to later adopters rather than one of rational, economic decision making" (Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 22 ). From this they developed the paradigm for diffusion research, consisting of four parts: "(1) the innovation-decision process for an individual farmer, including the sequential stages of awareness, trial, and adoption; (2) the roles of information sources/channels about the innovation; (3) the S-shaped rate of adoption, a curve that was tested as to whether it fit a normal distribution; and (4) the personal, economic, and social characteristics of various adopter categories (i.e., classification of individuals on the basis of their relative earliness in adopting an innovation)"(Valente and Rogers, 1995, paragraph 23) Gabriel Tarde, a French sociologist in the early 1900s, "identified the S-shaped curve of the rate of adoption of an inno...

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...adoption is inevitable and will result in change. However, the adopter based theory argues that the technological superiority of a product or system may not lead to its adoption because of the "human, interpersonal, and social factors" involved in adopting a new technology in a certain social context (Surry and Farquhar, 1997, p.8 ). The QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard are an example of how technological superiority is often not enough for a new product or service to be adopted(Surry and Farquhar, 1997, p. 9). As one can see, these theories connect the diffusion theory to instructional technology. The question remains, do we adopt technology for technology’s sake and assume a change for the better or do we adopt technology when it is relevant to the learner’s environment and take our chances? "Risk is a final factor…in educational innovation"(Wright et al., 1995, p. 3).

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