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H807 – Applying Rogers’ ideal types (3.1a)

February 23, 2011

Here the follow-up and another question that we are asked to consider.

Q3 – Do you think that, deep down, Roger’s model assumes that innovation is a ‘Good Thing’? And that being an ‘innovator’ or ‘early adopter’ is the only respectable thing to be?

The way Roger describes the last groups, the late majority and the laggards, so unfavourably, considering them as less empathic and less educated contrary to his first groups which are described as knowledgable and leaders you can assume that innovation is a ‘Good Thing’ and I think, similar to what is written in the course material, that Roger’s categories are sometimes used to imply relative status. Nobody really wants to belong in the group of laggards.

However, like discussed in our tutor forum, the categories generalize, but they help us think about differences in how people adapt technology. Yet, as Rogers argues they don’t capture every individuals behaviour and not everyone conforms to the ideal types,  but the boundaries are blurred.

Nevertheless, Kirkpatrick believes that categorising staff can be unhelpful for those organisation wishing to achieve a change.  Instead, it makes more sense to evaluate a potential innovation according a set of criteria.

John Pettit the writer week 3 course material argues that innovations are not necessarily about speed, but they demand creativity to adjust them to the different contexts, even if the technology has proved itself in other contexts. That is also visible in the JISC studies we read last week, the same technology was differently applied in different disciplines and contexts and brought different outcomes, all of them innovative in a discrete way. Sometimes it makes perfect sense to ‘lag’ behind if the group of leaners is relative new to a technology or if not all have access to a certain technology.

Therefore, Pettit argues that you cannot simply take a product and distribute it, or adopt predetermined practices, but that success or failure depends on may factors, like preparation of learners, support of them, training of teachers, etc. Barrett (2010) too claims that ‘context is everything: purpose, audience, technology, age of student, budget available, etc’.


Barrett, H. (2010) ‘Which Portfolio Tool?’, blog entry posted 26 April 2010. Available online (accessed 12.08.2010).

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