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Friday, October 23, 2009

Technology Adoption Continuum: Types of Adopters

if you are trying to implement technology into your organization, you need to know who you are dealing with when you speak to the stakeholders. Here are some insights.

In any organizational system, there are five types of individuals on what is called the "technology adoption continuum."

On one end of the continuum are the technology enthusiasts who embrace, almost blindly, any new technology just because its new. On the opposite end are skeptics who reject any use of new technology in a corporate, academic or government setting just because its new technology.

In between there are technology visionaries, pragmatists, and conservatives. Each one is more hesitant to adopt technology than the last.

Technology Enthusiasts. These are the hardcore techies of the organization. These folks love technology because it is technology. Technology enthusiasts will be the first to embrace a new technology. They enjoy and are fundamentally committed to any new technology. They like to fiddle with various types of technology and want to be the first ones to explore new software tools. They ask the questions, “Is it cool and does it do neat stuff.” And “What are the specs of this software?”

Visionaries. While the techies might not be interested in the business or educational advantages of new learning technologies, the visionaries are only interested in the business or educational advantage. They are not interested in technology for technology’s sake. They want to know how this new technology is going to position the organization ahead of competitors or how it will help students learn more effectively and be more engaged.Visionaries ask the question, “How can I use this new technology to my advantage before the competition gets a hold of it?”

Pragmatists. This group typically deliberates for sometime before adopting new technology. This group wants the “proof” that the new technology is better than existing educational tools or other traditional methods. They want the whitepapers, the research basis, and the facts before proceeding. They want to know that the new technology is being used by hundreds of other organizations before they will adopt it themselves. While deliberate and demanding of proof, the pragmatists do not want to be the last group to adopt a new technology. If they see something is working and it seems to make sense, they will move to adopt.The pragmatists ask the question, “Does this really work?” And “We aren’t the first to do this, right?”

Conservatives. Even less eager to embrace innovation are the conservatives. These individuals are extremely slow to adopt new technology as business and educational tools and are extremely cautious toward new technologies in general. Whereas the pragmatists wanted to know that the new learning technology is being used by hundreds of others, the conservatives want to know that they are being used by millions of others. This group is hard to please and a little cynical about new technologies. Members of this group will not adopt the use of new technologies for learning until the techies, visionaries and pragmatists have all done so. Conservatives want assurances that the use of new technologies is more or less like the use of older technologies—just better.Conservatives ask the question, “What’s the matter with doing this the traditional way, it has worked for years, and I don’t understand why we need to change methods?”

Skeptics. Skeptics will never think that the new learning technology is appropriate for learning. They delight in challenging the hype and claims of the advantages. “This is childish.” “Yes, it might be "fun" but it doesn’t teach.” “Where is the evidence that this new technology is better than instructor-led classroom teaching?” Skeptics will continually ask “innocent” questions in an attempt to undermine the implementation of new technologies. Fortunately, there are usually only a few skeptics within any particular organization. Unfortunately, they do tend to be highly vocal and attempt to persuade the pragmatists and the conservatives to become skeptics. The point of reference for skeptics is the past. Skeptics will tell you, “This will never work; it’s a fad.”

Understanding the location of the stakeholders on this technology adoption continuum will help you to craft your "message" to those who you are trying to convince to adopt a new technology alike a virtual world, mobile learning or serious games for learning.

The source for this information comes from two books on the topic.


Catalog of Recommended Books, Games and Gadgets
Recommended Games and Gadgets
Recommended Books
Content Guide

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