Diffusion of Innovation Model
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Inbuilt in PedaL is a diffusion of innovation model linked to expertise exchange and networked approaches to innovation in teaching and learning. PedaL will identify and develop the capacities of teaching staff who embrace and develop a unique approach to teaching and learning who will be referred to as PedaL anchor persons. These capacities will be harnessed for counterpart building across the network. Teaching staff who demonstrate outstanding pedagogical competencies will be assigned peers to coach and mentor.
The PedaL anchor persons will also be expected to catalyse uptake of Pedal pedagogy outside the PedaL network, that is, in universities outside the PedaL network. PedaL anchor persons will facilitate PedaL trainings in those universities outside the PedaL network that will express written interest in PedaL pedagogy. The anchor persons will also mentor teaching staff in these universities as need arises. Thus, the innovation diffusion model is designed to leverage uptake of PedaL by other teaching staff and to stimulate systemic change in teaching and learning across the continent. PedaL has developed a six step path that each teaching staff who is exposed to PedaL will go through; transition between the steps will not be uniform. The six steps are:
a) Awareness Creation ;
b) Expression of interest;
c); Evaluation and decision making;
e) Monitoring and evaluation; and,
f) Identification and support for change agents. Other networks in which the five implementing partner universities are a part will form natural entry points for the diffusion model.
A. Awareness creation
The dissemination activities will create awareness of the structure, content, processes and benefits of PedaL. Some of the stakeholders to be engaged include: students, other university teaching staff, quality assurance officers, university administration and policy makers at different levels. Stakeholder groups will be identified in advance and distinct messages packaged for each audience. A variety of communication channels, such as journals, advertisements, and leaflets, often followed by personal contacts and meetings will be used to engage various audiences. Attention will also be paid to the potential impact of PedaL as well as anticipated challenges and mitigating strategies.
B. Expression of interest
It is expected that effective communication will generate interest in PedaL. The arousal of interest will be influenced by factors such as: the predisposition of individuals and organizations to change based on individual attributes, felt need and inclination for innovativeness, organizational norms and the available resources. There will be further engagement and additional information will be shared with stakeholders who demonstrate genuine interest in PedaL. Stakeholders will be linked to individuals within the network with whom they can share their experiences, provide important insights into what is working well and what may need to be changed and offer technical support
C. Evaluation and decision making
Potential adopters will assess the value of PedaL based on the available information and determine whether it is consistent with their needs and practices, and can be integrated within their operations and if it will really impact their work. The decision to adopt PedaL will be based on the individual’s perception of the likelihood that PedaL: will deliver better results than alternative programmes; is highly compatible with existing practices and norms; is not too complex; and, will provide immediate results that can be observed and measured.
Stakeholders who will decide to adopt PedaL will seek opportunities for participating in PedaL workshops. This will take various forms including: applying for programme-wide technical support to organize PedaL workshops, requesting access to PedaL teaching and learning materials, hosting self-financed university specific workshops, and enrolling in available PedaL training programmes. This will then be followed by using the knowledge, skills and experiences acquired to deliver courses in social science programmes commencing with the practicum.
E. Monitoring and Evaluation
Individuals and Universities that adopt PedaL will also implement the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning framework described in Section 5.3.2 above to track progress, evaluate outcomes and use lessons to collaboratively enhance the design and use of PedaL. Positive outcomes will lead to continued use and institutionalization of PedaL in universities outside the PedaL network. Negative outcomes will slow down the adoption process or lead to rejection of PedaL. The focus will be on using the lessons learnt to mitigate any negative effects so as to sustain the growth and effects of PedaL.
F. Identification and support for change agents
Subsequently, the key to successful adoption of PedaL will be champions and opinion leaders who proactively seek to influence others so as to collectively move towards the desired transformation in teaching and learning methods. A system of sanctions and rewards will be critical for reinforcing effective behavior.