182 paper

Dissemination of innovations: A case study

Shirley Alexander
Institute for Interactive Media and Learning
University of Technology Sydney

This paper examines three questions related to the dissemination of innovations in higher education, drawing on a review of the literature on the nature of innovations and on a case study of an innovative online project that has been widely disseminated. The first question seeks to review the question of what constitutes an innovation in teaching and learning in higher education. The second and third questions seek to understand the process of dissemination of such innovations in teaching and learning, and to shed some light on what developers of innovations might do to maximize the take up of innovations.

The project in the case study has been clearly demonstrated to have been widely disseminated beyond both the origin of the project and in new marketplaces. The project was publicised using a multi-faceted distribution mechanism involving presentations at institutions and conferences, publishing of articles, and production of templates which facilitate adoption of the project. The project also facilitated participation by others, enabling them to see first hand the potential benefits of engaging with it. The outcome of these activities has been a wider adoption or scaling up of the project than is usual. This appears to have been the result of academics’ perception of the value to students of their participation in such a learning activity, the ease of adaption of the project to different contexts, and the enthusiasm of adopters for promoting high quality learning experiences.

Keywords: dissemination, innovation, higher education, role-play, simulation