Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Simulation Model That Decreases Faculty Concerns about Adopting Web-Based Instruction

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Simulation Model That Decreases Faculty Concerns about Adopting Web-Based Instruction

Article excerpt


Web-Based Instruction (WBI) has experienced explosive growth, and its use is becoming more attractive in higher education settings. Many innovation models have been proposed to provide a theoretical framework to facilitate the adoption of a new technology (Fullan, 2007; Rogers, 2003). An important point of view in the models is a person-centered approach (Derntl & Motschnig-Pitrik, 2005). According to Emrick, Peterson, and Agawala-Rogers (1977), two parallel dimensions exist simultaneously in the change process: 1) a systemic dimension that involves change in the environment of the user, and 2) a personal dimension, including cognitive, behavioral, and affective components, that involves the process of change within the individual. The system-centered approach clarifies essential factors that lead to technology integration changes processes (Hsu & Sharma, 2008). However, a common limitation of this approach is that it fails to look at the psychology of the innovation and, thus, the interventions are not persuasive enough to bring about the desired change. Research is needed to identify the personal-dimension variables that affect the adoption of WBI by faculty members (Ertmer, 2005; Georgina & Olson, 2008).

The concerns that faculty members have when deciding whether to integrate new technology are a critical condition that needs to be considered along with other personal dimension variables for the successful adoption of WBI in higher education settings(Adams, 2003; Matthew, Parker, & Wilkinson, 1998; Sahin & Thompson; 2007). The more concerns they have, the more likely they will be resistant to adopt the WBI. For this reason, it is important to identify the factors that can diminish faculty concern about adopting WBI. It is difficult and costly to test the relevant variables in practice, but simulating the impact of the model should allow educators and decision makers to assess the effectiveness of factors that may support the implementation of WBI in educational settings.

The purpose of this article is to propose a simulation model designed to test the impacts of the factors that support faculty adoption of WBI integration. In order to achieve this purpose, the stages of concern of the faculty members were identified using the Concern-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) (Hall, George, & Rutherford, 1977). The factors that support faculty WBI adoption regardless of the stage of concern were then suggested. These identified factors were based on a review of the literature on the diffusion of online education. System dynamics was used to determine associations between faculty concerns and these support factors. Finally, based on the identified factors that occur during the different stages of concern, a simulation model with examples of its use is presented.

Factors that decrease faculty concerns about adopting WBI

Faculty concern about integrating WBI

What concerns do faculty members have as they integrate new technology into their courses? According to Fuller (1969), the process of diffusion can be explained in terms of a psychological shift from the properties of an innovation to the concerns of the users. He initially proposed a model that described three phases of concern: a preteaching phase, an early teaching phase, and a late teaching phase. These three phases were later named "self," "task," and "impact" concerns, respectively. Hall, George, & Rutherford (1977) expanded upon these three stages of concern to end up with a total of seven stages. According to these stages, adopters advance from lower-level, self-oriented concerns (awareness, informational, and personal) to intermediate-level, task-related concerns (management), and finally to impact concerns (consequence, collaboration, and refocusing). In the awareness stage (Stage 0), a person has either little knowledge of or little involvement with the innovation. Self concern refers to the questions we ask when we hear about an innovation (Stage 1, informational) and think about how the innovation may affect us (Stage 2, personal). …

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