Early adopters versus the majority: characteristics and implications for academic development and institutional change

Dale, V. H.M. , McEwan, M. P. and Bohan, J. (2021) Early adopters versus the majority: characteristics and implications for academic development and institutional change. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 9(2), pp. 54-67. (doi: 10.14297/jpaap.v9i2.483)

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Publisher's URL: https://jpaap.napier.ac.uk/index.php/JPAAP/article/view/483


The concept of early adoptersversus mainstream majority has become common parlance when considering the uptake of technology-enhanced learning and teaching (TELT) in higher education, and relates to the readiness with which individuals adopt new technologies.This study used a questionnaire to explore the views and experiences of staff at one research-led institution within one of four colleges, to determine whether there were differences between the characteristics and digital academic practices of teachers, based on their self-identification as one of five types of technology adopters (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards). Subsequently, two focus groups allowed comparisons between early adopters and early majoritystaff.Thequestionnaire found differencesbetween the groupsin relation tousing a VLE to foster deep thinking through discussion, teachers’ digital practices and attributes, previous engagement with developmental TELTopportunities, perceived level of support from management, and perceived usefulness of continued professional development (CPD)opportunities. Focus groups revealed qualitative differences in terms of the amount of time participants invested in learning new technologies, sources of TELTsupport, preference for different types of academic development, and how they engaged with exemplars in their own or other disciplines.In addition to recommendations for different types of academic development for different groups, the study highlighted the importance of early adopters in leading digital practice. Institutions need to recognise and support the unique contribution made by early adopters. They contribute to the resilience, agility and digital capabilities of an institution in responding to rapid changes, such as the Covid19 pandemic, in terms of supporting and leading other staff, and prompting the institution to expand its digital education infrastructure.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dale, Dr Vicki and McEwan, Dr Michael
Authors: Dale, V. H.M., McEwan, M. P., and Bohan, J.
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
University Services > Student and Academic Services > Academic Services
Journal Name:Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
Journal Abbr.:JPAAP
Publisher:Edinburgh Napier University
ISSN (Online):2051-9788
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice
First Published:First published in Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice 9(2): 54-67
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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