Ellsworth (2000) commented that Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations (1995) is an excellent general practitioner's guide. Rogers' framework provide "a standard classification scheme for describing the perceived attributes on innovations in universal terms" (Rogers, 1995). Research in educational change has applied and explored Rogers' model to different contexts.

Rogers' model studies diffusion from a change communication framework to examine the effects of all the components involved in the communication process on the rate of adoption. Rogers (1996) identified the differences both in people and in the innovation. The model provides the guidelines for the change agents about what attributes that they can build into the innovation to facilitate its acceptance by the intended adopter. Rogers also identified the sequence of change agent roles:

  1. To develop a need for change.
  2. To establish an information-exchange relationship.
  3. To diagnose problems.
  4. To create an intent in the client to change.
  5. To translate an intent to action.
  6. To stabilize adoption and prevent discontinuance.
  7. To achieve a terminal relationship

How is diffusion defined in Rogers' Model?
Diffusion is a process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.

The definition indicates that:

How can we categorize different types of adopter?

What are the factors affecting the rate of adoption of an innovation?
According to Rogers (1995), there are five major factors affecting the rate of adoption:

  1. Perceived Attributes of Innovation
    An innovation is a idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. How the adopter perceived characteristics of the innovation has impacts on the process of adoption.
  1. Type of Innovation-Decision
  1. Communication Channels
  1. Nature of the Social System
    A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal. The members or units of a social system may be individuals, informal groups, organizations, and or subsystems. All members cooperate at least to the extent of seeking to solve a common problem in order to reach a mutual goal: Sharing of a common objective binds the system together. The social structure affects the innovation's diffusion in several ways:
  1. Extent of Change Agent's Promotion

Siegel (1999) listed four additional factors of Rogers' theory:

  1. Pro-innovation Bias: three assumptions about innovation:
  1. Reinvention: people use innovations in ways not originally intended
  2. Individual characteristics of adopters

What is innovation-decision process for individual or other decision making unit?

What are the contributions of Rogers' Model?
Ellsworth (2000) pointed out the most critical benefits of Rogers' model is the innovation attributes. He said:

"Practitioners are likely to find this perspective of the greatest use if they are engaged in the actual development of the innovation or if they are deciding whether (or how) to adapt the innovation to meet local requirements…Rogers' framework can be useful in determining how it is to be presented to its intended adopters." (p.40)

Rogers' model has identified the critical components in the change system and their characteristics. The model is relatively systematic because the consequence of the change is confined with a predetermined "innovation", a predetermined goal. The interrelationship and dynamic exchange between the components in the change system is not expected to contribute to the continuous shaping of the vision, but to be controlled to adopt a desirable idea, object, or program.

Ellsworth, J. B. (2000). Surviving changes: A survey of Educational change models. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse.

Rogers, E. (1995). Diffusion of Innovations. (4th ed.). New York, NY: The Free Press.

Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation

Fullan's Educational Change

Ely's Conditions of Changes