The idea of creating the Driving Educational Change: Innovations in Action eBook arose from the opportunities encountered while teaching a graduate course in Technology Diffusion, Leadership and Change as part of my teaching responsibilities at The Ohio State University. Learning Technologies bring change into organizations, classrooms, groups, and online environments. They have been quickly changing the landscape of learning and teaching with the diffusion of innovations ranging from learning analytics to simulations and virtual reality. Learning how to diffuse innovation, manage change, and lead innovation are critical to graduates in Learning Technologies.

The purpose of this graduate course was to introduce practices and principles of technology diffusion, innovation, and strategic change in education. In order to accomplish such, students would experience an innovative learning and teaching practice. As part of the course, they became authors of and contributors to an open content book, which was both thrilling and at times a bit daunting. Both my students and I embraced this novel way to learn and teach. Not only did we write this book collaboratively but worked together on all the elements that go into book development, such as rigorous content, enticing title, attractive cover and design, and distribution through social media channels and our personal networks of scholars and friends. The following paragraphs introduce each chapter of Driving Educational Change.

Under adoption and diffusion theoretical underpinnings, Marcia Ham distinguishes between technology adoption and diffusion theories and models. She examines Rogers’ Innovation Diffusion Theory, Hall’s Concerns-Based Adoption Model, the Technology Acceptance Model and Dormant’s Chocolate Model. Ham’s chapter ends with an examination of two cases of diffusion of innovation of technology use at the higher education level at institutions in the United States: (a) Starbucks College Achievement Plan, and (b) Oklahoma State University’s Mixed Reality Lab. Both cases illustrate the opportunities and challenges of adopting an innovation and diffusing it across an organization. She also highlights the commonalities among technology adoption and diffusion theories, and models that are instrumental to deciding whether an innovation is adopted or rejected.

Cara North proposes the concept of learning designers as agents of change. Through a set of interviews with influential learning and development professionals across the world, North establishes SHIFT as a set of guidelines and considerations that learning designers ought to consider in order to be a catalyst of change in their organizations, groups, and professional networks. SHIFT stands for Sustaining learning, Harvesting data, Investigating stories, Fostering knowledge, and Transforming responsibilities. North goes on to explain that having a clear understanding of the rationale for change to occur increases the likelihood for the change-related implementation to be successful. She ends the chapter by conceptualizing each component of the SHIFT framework.

Design Thinking is analyzed by Ceren Korkmaz. She takes a look at the evolution of instructional design and the emergence of learning experience design (LXD) as well as the establishment of LXD as a new discipline. Korkmaz also stresses how important it is for learning experience design to consider universal design principles. In this context, design thinking may have multiple definitions ranging from creation of artifacts to reflexive practice. In this chapter, design thinking is presented as an approach to design learning experiences. It ends with an exploration of LXD for educational change, including the importance of empathy and emotional design, and the role of iteration.

Lauren Acree uses micro-credentials as an example of innovation in schools. She follows Dormant’s Chocolate Model to analyze its adoption and diffusion. The chapter addresses three critical questions: (a) to what extent are micro-credentials an innovation? (b) Are micro-credentials a promising innovation? And (c) what variables might affect the rate of adoption of micro-credentials? Acree provides a rationale for micro-credentials, the background for this approach to professional development, and an analysis of the change that micro-credentials are bringing to teachers’ professional development in schools. She focuses on five characteristics of change proposed by Dormant’s Chocolate Model of change, ranging from relative advantage to adaptability and social impact. Acree argues that many educators are in the persuasion phase of adopting micro-credentials suggesting an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Caglar Sulun examines the adoption and diffusion of Canvas as a learning management system (LMS) in higher education. LMSs are actively used by instructors, students, and institutions in order to offer online learning experiences. This chapter explains the history of course delivery via LMSs, the transition process to digital course delivery, the current use and trends of learning management systems, and the specific case of Canvas LMS. The chapter ends with a discussion about the next generation of LMSs.

Throughout this eBook, the authors not only examine theories of innovation adoption and propose guidelines for learning designers to understand change, but, more importantly, they also analyze, problematize, and critique real innovations in practice. They write about concrete strategies to face and handle change, and adoption and diffusion of innovation in today’s organizations. Driving Educational Change: Innovations in Action offers a thoughtful account of the drivers and factors that lead educational change in different contexts, groups, and networks.

Ana-Paula Correia
Columbus, Ohio, USA
May 14, 2018

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