About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Generational differences in technology adaptation

I decided to see if there was any research in this area (especially the generational differences in technology adaptation). I found two very interesting articles. In the first article, by D. Compeau, C. Higgins, and S. Huff (1999) in MIS quarterly found that self-efficacy in using technology was a major factor in adopting new technology. Perceptions of benefits does not influence those with low levels of self-efficacy, but does influence those with high levels. In other words, if you think you can use new technology then getting something out of it will be an added incentive to use it. However, those who don't think they can use the technology will not be influenced by incentives (time saving, raises, etc...).

The second article in Personnel Psychology found that age does matter in terms of the initial reason workers adopt technology. Younger workers look to performance enhancement (will this help me with my work) whereas older workers are influenced by social norms (everyone else-boss, co-worker, supervisor-is using it so I should also). However, in the long-term, the reasons are the same regardless of age (task performance).

The impression I got from the two of these articles is that workers need to be shown (and empowered) to use the technology. As Dave points out, many in the work place still look at instruction as something someone else "gives" them rather than a form of empowerment, motivation, and interaction with instructors, other experts, other learners, and the content. So self regulation, making workers confident in learning and using technology is important. In an open book test, most test takers don't need to have the book, but just knowing it is there makes them more confident. I think the same can be said for training and new technologies. Mentors and access to experts are the "open books". Some people will use them, many won't, however, knowing they are available to answer questions makes the learner more confident (self-efficacy).

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