Reflections - CBAM, Learning/Adoption Trajectory


I have been reading a lot this week and I concentrated my research on one of Niki's recommendations:

  • A concerns Based model: CBAM, or my preference, Sherry & Gibson's Learning/Adoption Trajectory

This model seems to fit well with my research topic. The teachers I am concentrating on at my institution fit well into the stage one category at present. Despite the fact some of the strategies have been used already with them, they still haven't progressed to stage two yet.

Learning/Adoption Trajectory (Sherry et al., 2000)

There are 5 developmental stages in this model.

  1. Teacher as Learner - This is the information gathering stage. This is the stage where the teacher is given the knowledge and learns the skills needed for performing instructional tasks using technology.

During this stage effective strategies include:

  • Time for PD.
  • Ongoing PD rather that one off sessions.
  • Demonstrations from peers using good technological practice.
  • Faculty meeting to examine the alignment of technology with curriculum standards. 
  1. Teacher as Adopter - Here, teachers experiment with technology and work through stages of personal and task management concern. They begin to use technology in their classrooms and share experience with their peers.

During this stage effective strategies include:

  • Technology-savvy teacher mentors.
  • Regularly run tech sessions they can come to with problems/questions.
  • Easy access to a technician to fix problems rapidly.
  • Access to e-Learning specialist to support with any issues/questions/advice.
  1. Teacher as Co-learner - Teachers focus on developing a clear relationship between technology and the curriculum.

During this stage effective strategies include:

  • Workshops and online resources with ideas and strategies for enhancing learning and integrating technology into the curriculum.
  • Collegial sharing of standards integration.
  • Reviews of educational technology products.
  • Subject PLGs - assessment ideas.
  • Use of student as informal tech support. 
  1. Teacher as Reaffirmer or Rejector - Teachers develop a greater awareness of intermediate learning outcomes. They begin to create new ways to observe and assess impact on student performances and outcomes.  They share exemplary student work with a larger audience.

During this stage effective strategies include:

  • Administrative support, as in stage 2.
  • Incentive system that is valued by adopting teachers.
  • Awareness of greater learning outcomes such as increased time on task, lower absenteeism, greater student engagement, and increased metacognitive skills.
  • Evidence of impact on student performances and outcomes.
  • Sharing of exemplary student work. 
  1. Teacher as Leader - Now experienced teachers develop their roles to become active researchers who carefully observe their practice, collect data, share the improvements in practice with peers, and teach new members. Their skills become portable.

During this stage effective strategies include:

  • Incentives for assisting with onsite workshops.
  • Release time to allow peer coaching/mentoring.
  • Support from an outside network of teacher-leaders.
  • Organised time for leading in-school discussions and workshops.
  • Transfer of skills if teacher goes to another school.

 Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000). New insights on technology adoption in schools. T H E Journal27(7), 43.

 A New Model

Sherry, L., Billig, S., Tavalin, F., & Gibson, D. (2000). New insights on technology adoption in schools. T H E Journal27(7), 43.

 Further to the evaluations of a number of educational technology initiatives, predominantly the Boulder Valley Internet Project (Sherry, Lawyer-Brook and Black 1997; Sherry 1997), it was found that teachers commonly experience four distinct stages as they develop expertise with the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Sherry, Billig, Tavalin, & Gibson claim that we know the internet has an impact on student learning but the research involving teacher adoption and use of technology is still ongoing. They further claim that Hall and Hord's Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) (1987) and Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations (1995) framework need extension in order to describe the systemic process in which technological, individual, organizational and pedagogical factors interact throughout the life span of an instructional technology program.

The Integrated Technology Adoption and Diffusion Model (Sherry 1998; Sherry 1999) describes a learning and adoption trajectory. Meaning that the process teachers go through to evolve from learners to adopters of technology into their pedagogy and then to co-learners with their students in the classroom, to finally coming to a reaffirmation/rejection decision is a cyclical process. It is only when this final stage is reached that teachers decide whether using technology to enhance the teaching and learning process is working for them. They have to decide if the gains made by using technology is worth the time and effort they have to put in to learning and developing their skills.

Based on three years of evaluation of The WEB Project (, a Technology Innovation Challenge Grant in Vermont, it was found that the learning/adoption trajectory model was validated (Sherry, L., Billig, S. and Perry, S. 1999). Further to studies of the data collected in this project it was found that a fifth stage should be added, teacher as leader.