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Factors That Influence Dissemination in Engineering Education

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3 Author(s)
Benjamin T. Hazen ; Aviation and Supply Chain Management, Auburn University, Auburn, United States ; Yun Wu ; Chetan S. Sankar

Although the need for new educational materials and methods in engineering education is increasing, the process of disseminating (making target groups become aware of, accept, and use) these innovations remains a challenge. A literature review shows that few studies have thoroughly investigated this area. The purpose of this article is to identify factors that may affect the adoption and use of educational innovations used in engineering education and to offer advice to educators on how they may better disseminate their materials. This study uses extant theories related to diffusion and acceptance of innovation as the basis for identifying factors that may impact the dissemination of educational innovations. These factors are tested via a Delphi study employing 21 subject-matter experts and content analysis of 410 research abstracts. The results suggest nine factors that are most important for facilitating acceptance and use of educational engineering innovations. In particular, new materials should be designed such that they demonstrate an obvious relative advantage over existing materials, are compatible with and adaptable to existing pedagogy, lack complexity, and are generally easy to use. Management support and availability of resources are found to be important environmental conditions that facilitate acceptance; logistical issues and cultural differences are the chief impediments.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:55 ,  Issue: 3 )