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1. Social capital and the diffusion of learning management systems: a case study

Author:Boland,Bill

Source:Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship,2020,Vol.9

Abstract:© 2020, The Author(s). The diffusion and adoption process of a learning management system (LMS) at higher education institutes faces several obstacles; some of which are unique to contexts while others are shared experiences. This diffusion case study compares the adoption process of the LMS Blackboard at two universities, Texas A&M University and Monash University in Australia, investigating the factors which impacted the adoption of the innovation at each context as well as the extent to which social capital influenced the diffusion process. The study specifically examined the different adopters involved, the objections raised, the barriers encountered, and the significant factors either resulting in the success or the failure of the innovation, employing a social capital-infused theoretical framework of diffusion within organizations outlined by Frank, Zhao, and Borman (Sociol Educ 77:148–171, 2004). Primary and secondary data were analyzed and examined from three peer-reviewed, empirical articles for comparison within the study. Findings highlighted strong alignment with Rogers’ (Diffusion of innovations, 2003) diffusion of innovations theory as well as the importance of social capital maintained by Frank and colleagues (Sociol Educ 77:148–171, 2004). Though describing different adoption processes and factors, each context supported the universal idea behind diffusion theory that members of a social system communicate an innovation through social channels over time and that innovators and early adopters play a vital role in this process (Rogers, Diffusion of innovations, 2003). As higher education institutes advance further into the twenty-first century and adopt more innovations within their learning frameworks and systems, this diffusion case study stresses the importance of understanding diffusion theory, having an in-depth knowledge of the stakeholders involved in the adoption process, and creating and implementing a meticulous diffusion plan to ensure a successful diffusion and adoption process.
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