Diffusion of Innovations

Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: Free Press. Quoted in this article:

Rogers (1995) suggests that there are five factors related to the nature of innovations and their rate of adoption: relative advantage, the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better than the idea it supercedes; compatibility, the extent to which it is consistent with existing values, experiences, and needs of adopters; complexity, how difficult it is to use and understand; trialability, the degree to which it can be experimented with on a limited basis; and observability, the degree to which the results of the innovation are visible to others.

So, how do you think videoconferencing is doing?

  • Relative advantage: What idea does VC supercede? For course delivery, it’s the face to face instructor, right? For curriculum videoconferencing, it’s the field trip, right? Is that advantage strong enough? Do people perceive it as better?
  • Compatibility: Is VC compatible with our values and experiences? in what ways? how does it meet the needs to adopters?
  • Complexity: I think we have a ways to go yet on this one. Just read this blog post: “Does it have to be so formal and complicated?”
  • Trialability: Hmm. How would you experiment with VC on a limited basis before you decided??? You can watch some videos maybe, but it’s pretty hard to just try it out.
  • Observability: Certainly other teachers in the building know when you’re using it or not; but do others interested in educational technology know about it? I think we still have a way to go in this area as well.

I think this theory does show some of the challenges to videoconferencing becoming a mainstream technology. Do you agree? What do you think?

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