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Why Things aren’t Adopted

The best ideas aren’t the ones that get noticed. The best software platforms aren’t the ones that get used. The best learning environments aren’t the ones that are accepted by learners.

We use tools and resources to the degree that they complete an intended task…not the degree to which they are visionary or “future effective”. We see problems in the immediate, and typically desire solutions on this level. This is a real challenge for designers, online instructors, or people involved with knowledge management.

It’s the principle of “just enough”…I’ll do/use just enough to do what I have to do. Most people operate this way. A few people are passionate and go extreme, but they are the exception. The average computer user knows enough about Microsoft Word to type, format, and work with basic documents. The average person uses collaborative technologies just enough to do what needs to be done to communicate and collaborate. From my experience, the more elaborate and integrated a tool’s feature set is (i.e. a learning management system that doeseverything), the greater the barrier to adoption for the average user.

The singularity of the tool, simplicity of features determine adoption for the majority of users. Online educators in particular need to think hard about the tools used for learning. I favour “connected specialization” in tools…as compared to advanced integration. An LMS shouldn’t do everything. It gets too bulky, too restrictive, and too “one way”. Learning/KM tools need to closely match the required task…without over-shooting or falling too short.


  1. Brian Alger wrote:

    I like the idea of “connected specialization” in using software tools. It’s more important for people to develop critical and creative approaches that allow them to coordinate a repertoire of software tools than it is to spend time figuring out bulky e-Learning platforms.

    A key issue for designers, it seems to me, is to find ways to help people build their own customized and personalized approaches to learning using a wide range of software tools. This is a very different approach to e-Learning design in comparison with what we have seen to date.

    Thursday, October 30, 2003 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  2. KnowProSE wrote:

    Why The Best Things Aren’t Adopted.

    I read this post over at eLearnSpace and, given the recent rereading on Collective Intelligence, I think I may be able to word my hypothesis. Truthfully, I have had an intuitive hypothesis for a while, but lacked the concepts and…

    Thursday, November 6, 2003 at 1:55 pm | Permalink