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Students and educators currently depend on technology to enhance and improve learning, how they engage, communicate, and interact with the instructors. E-Advising is one of the technologies I adopted during my Master’s studies, a technology crucial in monitoring student engagement, planning while sending automated warnings to academic advisors or faculty to advise on the pending trouble.
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Attributes of the Innovation
Relative advantage evaluates how innovation is better than the competing option or the previous version of the product and as an improvement to the present situation (Rogers, 2003). Physical engagement and interaction was the approach to student advice and support, but with technology, e-models have proven useful. Technologies like e-advising ensure convenience in the engagement and interaction with the instructors and advisors in tracking performance and level of engagement.
Compatibility concerns the level of integration that innovation provides to the individual (Rogers, 2003). One needs to know and understand that the innovation will be compatible with his values, norms, and lifestyle. E-advising has been consistent with my lifestyle as I believe that learning should be technology-dependent in the modern world. I am also a tech-savvy individual whose life revolves around technology for communication and my norms as I prefer higher student-teacher engagement as feedback helps me to evaluate my progress.
Triability entails how easily potential users can explore the innovation (Rogers, 2003). For the e-Advising technology, the e-models of learning have been tested and proven successful in higher learning and education system. Therefore, it is much easier to try e-advising as part of the model and use the same for engaging and communicating with academic advisers. I adopted the technology because previously, I had used the integrated student communication model within the institution.
Observability entails how the innovation can be tested and results seen or observed by the user (Rogers, 2003). In the same sense, I observed the success of other e-models, and in the initial trial phase of the technology, it was apparent that I had saved time by not looking for the academic advisers physically and even surprised at how the adviser tracked my level of engagement and offered advice.
Complexity entails the extent to which adoption is easy to understand and use (Rogers, 2003). For my case, e-advising resembles e-learning portfolios, and it was not a sophisticated innovation. Hence, my adoption rate was high because the system was easy to understand and as such, less complicated.
The innovation-decision was somewhat optional because it entailed students being given a choice to accept or reject the decision. To me, it was done out of personal preference as a person who believes in convenience and time-saving after finding the innovation through the institution’s website, word of mouth from friends and an email from the faculty of which the ICT department was responsible as the change agent.
I would describe myself as an early adaptor because was among the few students who incorporated the model into learning. In my case, Rogers (2003) would label me as part of the individuals who have been highly integrated into the social system or the institution.
As an earlier adopter Rodgers (2003) would describe me as an individual with many years of formal education, literate, a person of high social status, higher upward social mobility, and stable economically to enable me to afford the innovation
Rodgers (2003) defines me as a person with greater empathy, less dogmatic, deals with abstraction and more rational. I also have a more favorable attitude towards change, copes with risks and uncertainties.
As an earlier adopter, I have a higher affinity towards social participation, more interconnected within the interpersonal networks (I was able to get information of the technology from friends the first week it was introduced), more cosmopolite, much exposed to mass communication and interpersonal networks.
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To get an insight into the adopter categories, the interview was purposefully used as a research methodology in collecting relevant information to answer the central question about their adaptor categories. The premise of using interviews was because it is particularly useful in getting an idea about the experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of the participants and even providing in-depth information about the phenomenon. Face-to-face interview method was used in collecting data because it was much easier to collect information from a family (John, cousin who lives in the next block) and a friend (fellow student).
The interview focused on two individuals, John and Mary (a fellow student friend at the institution. John is 30 years old currently working as an IT expert in his organization while Mary, 32 years old, is also taking up doctorate in higher education teaching. As friends, all agreed for a meeting, which I carried out for 45 minutes, ten minutes for introduction stating the purpose of the interview and what it meant to achieve. All were carried out in an evening, between 5 and 7 when it is convenient for everyone after work.
Analysis of the Transcripts
John, as shown from the interview can be described as a late adopter because he was much skeptical and feared the risks and uncertainties of cyber-attacks before adopting the Internet of Things technology. He is one of the late adopters who waited to see whether the attributes like compatibility, complexity, triability and observability were all used in assessing the innovation (Mahajan, Muller & Srivastava, 1990). As a change oriented person, John is one of the individuals who take time before engaging or identifying with the technology. Socioeconomic status also defines him as an individual who is not impeded by economic or wealth aspect of innovation but rather, an individual to whom elements like cost of technology is not a concern. However, for the personality variable, he is an individual who is not so much empathetic as a characteristic of late adopters and as such, more inclined towards being less rational when arriving at decisions to accept change. Given that he was one of the people to first hear about the technology, he ranks as a person with higher or greater interpersonal communication networks.
In comparison, Mary is an individual who believes in technology as the embodiment of change in higher learning. Hence, in her case, she is an early adopter as evident from the manner in which she is empathetic to change. Early adopters, in contrast to John, have higher formal education (Mahajan et al., 1990). Mary is currently pursuing a doctorate degree, more upward socially mobile and when she talks about cost as a non-issue. Her socioeconomic status is that of a wealthy or economically stable individual with a higher social status. For Mary, issues like risks that come with technology do not matter. She is less dogmatic and as such, more rational as defined by her belief that technology should be integrated into learning because it will provide positive outcomes. In comparison to John as a late adapter, Mary embodies an individual with a communication behavior leaning more towards higher social networking, interpersonal support, embraces social participation and overall, exposed to interpersonal and mass communication networks.
The two interviews have highlighted the differences in characteristics between early adapters and later adopters. For early adopters, change is embraced and people are more empathetic as they believe that the innovation will address a need and even become relatively better. Besides, communication and personality variables are different for the two groups. Early adopters are more connected to their interpersonal networks but there is less interconnectedness among late adopters who are also less risk takers than the early adapters.
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INTERVIEW 1 with John
Me (Interviewer): Is there a technology who have adapted as of recently, whether in general use, education or work context?
John (Interviewee): Mmm…Yes. I have adopted Internet-of-Things as one of the previous technologies which I believed would not be part my current technology portfolio.
Me: Why was it so? Like why would you consider the technology as not fit?
John: You see…The internet of thing stuff is very complicated because there are more security risks associated especially the current era of cyberattacks. I feared risking my entire home to a cyber attack?
Me: So what attributed drive you into accepting the technology?
John: I may say that IoT has provided me with unimagined convenience, I have seen people conveniently use it at home, it is less complex and easy to integrate all your stuff. For example, I can easily check by water bill by just connecting the meter to the billing system. It has become that convenient.
Me: How did you come to know about the technology?
John: Being the person I am, as an IT expert, keeping abreast with the current innovation is much easier and as such, I get first-hand information about any of the introduced technology. It was also much easier as a sociable person to get the information from my work colleagues.
Me: Did you consider factors like cost before adopting the technology?
John: Not at all because I get a good pay as a technician in my company enough to enable me afford IoT.
Me: How do you rate yourself in terms of accepting change? Are you considerate, supports change, and has to be influenced and convinced to accept the change
John: Well…for me, I have to get convinced and being an IT expert, I am used to testing innovations for bugs before being released. Hence, I support change but always considerate of the effects it will have on my life.
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INTERVIEW 2 with Mary
Me: Is there a technology who have adapted as of recently, whether in general use, education or work context?
Mary: Yes of course. As an educator, the world is changing with learning goals and plans being transformed by technology. Flipped classroom is one of the technologies I embraced in my teaching
Me: Why was it so? Like why would you consider the technology as fit?
Mary: The technology aligns with the current learning needs. Students need more engaging and supportive learning environment. As you know, the past few years have seen many college students dropping out of the school at an alarming rate.
Me: So what attributed drove you into accepting the technology?
Mary: I believe that students need to be supported in their learning and with technology, this support has been augmented. And again, you have to love this technology because it is less complex, provides relative advantage over the physical classroom and overall, it has been tested and proven that e-learning models like blackboards have been effective.
Me: How did you come to know about the technology?
Mary: I first learned about it from a friend who talked about this amazing flipped classroom technology from the University of Michigan. I researched the internet and other learning communities, especially education professionals and came across many positive reviews praising the technology.
Me: Did you consider factors like cost before adopting the technology?
Mary: Cost is a considerate factor but it depends with the cost of technology. The flipped classroom technology is not that expensive for a teacher like me.
Me: How do you rate yourself in terms of accepting change? Are you considerate, supports change, and has to be influenced and convinced to accept the change.
Mary: I believe in change and transformation of the higher learning and education has to take the direction of technology. Technology has ensured convenience in talking, teaching, providing feedback and supporting students. I will always recommend change in the higher learning environment.
- Mahajan, V., Muller, E., & Srivastava, R. K. (1990). Determination of adopter categories by using innovation diffusion models. Journal of Marketing Research, 27(1), 37-50.
- Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. (5th ed.). New York: Free Press ISBN 0-7432-2209-1.