Innovation Theory

Diffusion of Innovations
The Law of Diffusion of Innovations provides an explanation about how the spread of ideas actually “spread.” Sinek (2009) states that early adopters are not necessarily innovators, but they do follow innovators after a method has been tried. These folks will try a new idea if, and only if, it has been tested first, hoping they will suffer the least consequences. This reminds me why most early adopter owners of iphones and android devices wait 2 weeks before they download a software update. They will eventually download the updated software after all of the kinks have been worked out and noted to the company. They perceive lesser risk involved. Likewise, these folks are not of the same mindset as innovators that will go to any length to be the first one to get a new device. The other side of the bell curve shows the laggards. The laggards are instinctively and rationally driven. They do not believe in owning the best and newest products; they believe in rebuilding or acquiring better parts for what they already own.

The Tipping Point
The tipping point occurs at which the growth becomes a need and moves ahead at an extraordinary pace. This is why it is essential to get the key influencers on board with your belief systems. Don’t try to incentivize others or manipulate them; allow them to formulate their own thoughts and beliefs and see how they relate to your own. Otherwise, you will attract only temporary folks, so watch your aim.

DOI as a Theoretical Framework
Rogers’s (2003) DOI framework posits that the rate of adoption of a strategy is determined by perceptions of the adopters as they consider the attributes of the innovation. One of the primary perceptions that lead to adoption is that of relative advantage, or the idea that one product or strategy is superior to another.  In the field of educational technology, Rogers’s (2003) DOI theory has frequently been used to determine teachers’ perceptions of new information and communications technology programs. In a study by Vanderlinde and van Braak (2011), a questionnaire to identify attributes of the new curriculum was administered to a sample of teachers using Rogers’s DOI framework. They found that the teachers did not specifically support or reject the new curriculum with relation to the learning environment conditions. However, the resulting information was helpful for administrators and decision makers in that it explicated the complex issues of new technology implementation. Though relative advantage of an innovation is important, the perceived drawbacks of the adoption (e.g., complexity) also play a role (Rogers, 2003). Therefore, perceptions of the complexity of integration can be a potential barrier to technology adoption. In a study conducted by Anthony (2012), the goal was to use activity theory as the framework for determining classroom systems and their influence on the integration of new technologies. Over a 3-year period, two classrooms were evaluated in the same school district in the area of teacher preparedness, institutional conditions, and the combination of the two. Findings from several studies have suggested that teacher perceptions, as well as student attitudes and beliefs, influenced the integration of new technologies and the perception of success by using technologies. Furthermore, Anthony found that effective technology leadership also played a large role in enhancing instructional experiences for the participating teachers and students. Anthony concluded that an integration system specifically designed to combine institutional goals with teacher perceptions and beliefs toward the adoption of technology could be the best way to integrate new technologies. Thus, a DOI framework is very appropriate of BYOD and one-to-one technology-integration strategies. 

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.

Vanderlinde, R., & van Braak, J. (2011). A new ICT curriculum for primary education: Flanders. Defining and predicting teachers’ perceptions of innovation attributes. Educational Technology & Society, 14, 124-135.

Anthony, A. B. (2012). Activity theory as a framework for investigating district–classroom system interactions and their influences on technology integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 44, 335-356.

Professional Learning, CSLE, Growth Mindset

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Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE)
– Dr. Dwayne Haranuik, PhD, Lamar University
The learning environment needs to be built for the learner, not the “average” learner (Rose, 2016).

– An integrated approach to creating flexible, engaging and effective learning environments.

We design information systems, smart buildings, ecological friendly communities, learning spaces and so many aspect of our society but we unfortunately do not apply this holistic approach to designing learning environments. Apple has always designed excellent hardware but with their iPhone, iPad and the whole IOS ecosystem they gone a step further and have designed a mobile communication or networking environment that just works. If we apply a similar purposeful design to our learning environments we also can create a significant learning environment that just works.

Whether we are purposeful in its design or we just allow the circumstances to dictate its development, educators at all levels are providing some form of learning environment. Rather than allow the environment to come together on its own and respond reactively to the learning dynamics that arise I suggest that educators become proactive and create significant learning environments. If we start with a student centred approach and purposefully assemble all the key components of effective learning into a significant learning environment we can help our students to learn how to learn and grow into the people we all hope they will become.

The following mandala highlights the components that we need to consider when we are creating significant learning environments:

Creating Significant Learning Environment

Creating Significant Learning Environment

Origin and Development

The development of the Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE) summer institute in the summer of 2010 was a response to Abilene Christian University’s (ACU) 21st Century Vision of educating global leaders who think critically, globally and missionally. To satisfy this vision ACU faculty and staff were required to create courses based on modern instructional design principles that incorporate significant, active and collaborative learning.

Elements of Dee Finks Creating Significant Learning Experiences were combined with the foundations of Inquisitivism and years of practical experience in developing significant learning environments to result in an approach that enabled faculty to design and build a significant learning environment that facilitated engaging, active and authentic student-centered learning.

Several 5 day workshop were run from May to December of 2010 resulting in the development or redevelopment of over 30 courses.

CSLE uses Finks taxonomy and backward design principles but moves well beyond Finks focus on the classroom experience to incorporates the following factors that make up the whole learning environment:

  • Student centered
  • Ubiquitous Access & Social Networking
  • Instructional delivery formats – face2face, technology enhanced, blended, online
  • Instructional Design
  • Assessment & Evaluation
  • Academic Quality & Standards
  • Support & Infrastructure
  • Teaching roles – Didactic, Reflective, Inventive, Transformative

CSLE evolves and the CSLE workshop are re-developed after an observation of an informal learning environment 

An observation of my boys experience on a 2012 trip to Whistler and a visit to the Whistler Air Dome, commonly referred to as the foampit, reaffirmed the importance and power of formal and informal learning environments and caused me to take a more significant stand on the role that the environment and circumstances play in learning. I have been arguing since the mid 90’s that learning is dependent upon the creation of an effective learning environment and the immersion of the learner in that environment. A learning environment can be a classroom, an online course or anywhere for that matter where learning can take place. I have also argued that learning is the responsibility of the learner and that teachers are not able to make a student learn–the best that teachers can do is develop or establish the environment, immerse the student in that environment and then motivate and inspire the learner to take ownership of their learning. When learning takes place a teacher is really just the facilitator who helps the learner navigate the learning environment and process.

You can read about the informal learning environment that motivated me to formalize the CSLE approach and revise my workshops in the Significant Learning Environments post.

In 2013 and 2014 several CSLE two or four day workshops have been conducted for the general faculty, School of Health Science and the School of Business faculty at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Because the CSLE approach is holistic it can incorporates a variety of Instructional Design approaches and can therefore be modified to suit a curriculum development process, general instruction and most recently a focus on blended and online learning.

The following resources will play an integral part in helping you plan and create your significant learning environment.

If you are comfortable working with zip files you can download the all the workshop files at one time by downloading:
CSLE workshop readings examples and

Or you can access and download the individual files:

Worksheets & Form:
Worksheet-1-Learning Environment-Situational Factors
Worksheet-2-Questions for Formulating Significant Learning Goals
Worksheet-3-Procedures for Educative Assessment
3 Column Table Blank Fink Form
3 Column Table Blank Form
5 Column Table Blank Form
Weekly Schedule of Events Blank Form

Workshop Reference Text
Self-Directed Guide to Course Design – Dee Fink

3-column table – 3 Varied Examples
3 Column table – EDUC Examples
Action Words-Blooms Taxonomy

Pedagogy, Failing Forward, CSLE, Social Constructivism



We believe that we must inspire and prepare our learners to lead organizational change using technology innovations as a catalyst for enhancing learning.
To do this, we create a significant learning environment (CSLE) that gives our learners choice, ownership and voice through authentic (COVA) learning opportunities.
We prepare leaders who can lead organizational change and drive innovation in a digitally connected world.

Core Proposition
Choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning

Student-Centered Learning, Professional Learning, Research, ePortfolios, Pedagogy, Failing Forward, COVA, CSLE, Constructivism, Social Constructivism, Growth Mindset, Feedback/Feedforward, Self-Directed Learning

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Build a School in the Cloud


Watch Sugata Mitra as he addresses these important questions: What is the future of learning? Where does learning come from?   “Could it be…..that we don’t need to go to school at all?, the point of time you need to know something you can find out in 2 minutes?, could it be where knowing is obsolete?”

Professional Learning, Thib Talks, Disruptive Innovation, CSLE, Constructivism, Collaboration