Concerns-based models

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The human side of technology adoption
New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can't be done; 2) It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing; 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!

—Arthur C. Clarke[1]

The concerns based models look at change and adoption through the eyes of the users. These models focus on how the concerns of individuals influence their adoption of innovation. They also consider the phases of individual technology adoption and how best to facilitate change. The concerns-based models do not focus on the why of the innovation, but rather the assumption that an understanding of the concerns and adoption process can facilitate success with the adoption of new technology.

In this section we consider two models which originated in educational contexts:

  1. The Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) is an analytical tool used to understand the cognitive concerns of teachers and students and provides a framework to anticipate future needs associated with the adoption of change.
  2. Learning Adoption Trajectory (LAT) is a refinement of CBAM developed by Sherry and Gibson (2002[2]) based on their research work on change in education.

CBAM, for example, identifies three components:

  • Stages of concern which described the concerns of individual during different phases of the adoption process;
  • Levels of use which explains the behavioural categories ranging from non-use to renewal.
  • The innovation configuration refers to explicit statements of what a new practice will look like when it is in operation.

The Learning Adoption Trajectory (LAT) proposes that the CBAM model should be extended and modified to incorporate a systems and ecological perspective. LAT emphasises that the educational system comprises a number of embedded and interrelated systems. In addition, LAT places more emphasis on external factors, for instance, the worldwide evolution of the Internet when compared to traditional models of change.

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Think about a change with digital technology from your own experience. For example, an organisation change in software package, or introduction of a new technology. Using this experience as a frame of reference study the following resources:

Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM)

Learning Adoption Trajectory (LAT)


  • Do any of these models provide a useful framework for structuring the research for your own research project?
  • Are there any aspects or subcomponents of these models which you would like to use as the focus for your own research?


  2. Sherry, L., & Gibson, D. (2002). The path to teacher leadership in educational technology. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education