A Case Study of the Implementation and Adoption of a Learning Management System (LMS) in a Large Urban School District
Boothe, Elizabeth Anne
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Leaders planning for innovative teaching and learning require special decision-making abilities, and need to avoid imposing new technology when organizational members are not well-prepared or integrated into the project plan. The success or failure of an implementation, however, often relies upon leadership-dependent elements that enable or impede the adoption process. The purpose of this study was to examine the “human”, interpersonal elements of innovation adoption of a learning management system in a large urban school district. This study asked: Of the teachers who adopt the LMS for teaching and learning, what is different about those who adopt more quickly than others? The research method used a case study approach utilizing recorded and transcribed teacher interviews from ten campuses across a large district in the Southwestern United States. This qualitative study analyzed the data using Rogers’ theory of Diffusion of Innovations, which include motivating and inhibiting factors that affect the adoption of new learning technologies; some of which are related to leadership decisions, technology, and relative advantage of use. The interviews consisted of guided questions which sought to reveal explanations for or against the adoption, correlated with Rogers’ perceived attributes. Data was sorted by response and examined for patterns and trends, to reveal ways for leaders to increase not only individual adoption, but identify organizational obstacles and best practices, as well. Analysis showed that adopters consistently saw the advantages of the LMS through observing peers, trying new pedagogical strategies and tools, and/or believing that digital learning was necessary to prepare students for 21st century learning. This would suggest a need for leadership to focus on providing more opportunities in the future for social interaction and face-to-face training involving the new technology, for teachers to more rapidly adopt and utilize the learning management system.