The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Carole St. Laurent

Digitally Assisted Diffusion of Innovations

Carole St. Laurent

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     Last modified: August 15, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/03/2006 10:00 AM in NT Ortanique
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Development can be described as changing one’s actions to produce better results. Diffusion of innovations (DoI) research shows that communication factors are more important predictors of an innovation’s adoption than its efficacy (Nutley et al, 2002:19). Thus, how one shares knowledge is critical for improving people’s lives.

Audiovisual content is recalled four or five times better than material heard in a lecture, and nine times better than written material (Fraser and Villet 1994). In the diffusion approach, in which trainees train others, only a subset of the required knowledge reaches second-generation learners (in one case, 14%), and some of the information is distorted (Röling et al (1976:162)). Video offers first and second generations of learners the significant benefits of seeing and hearing 100% of a message during in-person training, and on demand later. It facilitates DoI best practices, such as using local change agents, opinion leaders, languages and content.

Whether the application is in the field of health, agriculture, education, or any other sector, increasing the effectiveness of information sharing through video offers exciting possibilities to expand the impact of development programs beyond the limitations of in-person training. A solar cooking case study in Nigeria will inform points of discussion.

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