Assessment Process

Image of Steps of the Matching Person and Technology Process

Matching Person and Technology (MPT) Assessment Process and Forms

Continued advances in technologies have created a wide range of options in technology functions and features. As a result, consumers and providers often report feeling overwhelmed and confused when faced with decisions regarding device selection and use. In response to this, and in hopes of providing a more personal approach to matching individuals with the most appropriate technologies for their use, the Matching Person and Technology (MPT) assessment process was developed.

The MPT process contains a series of instruments (self-report checklists about consumer predispositions to and outcomes of technology use) which take into account

  • the environments in which the person uses the technology,

  • the individual's characteristics and preferences, and

  • the technology's functions and features.

Characteristics within these three components can each contribute either a positive or a negative influence on technology use. If there are too many negative influences, the chance of the technology being successfully used is greatly reduced. In fact, the technology itself can appear perfect for a given need, but if the user does not possess the appropriate personal characteristics or does not receive needed support, that perfect technology may go unused or be used inappropriately.

The MPT process contains a series of instruments:

  • For persons considering any kind of technology, but believe there may be a general reluctance to use technology, the Survey of Technology Use (SOTU) helps identify technologies an individual feels comfortable or successful in using so that a new technology can be built around existing comfort or success.

Technology-specific forms are:

  1. The Assistive Technology Device Predisposition Assessment (ATD PA) to help people select assistive technologies.

  2. The Educational Technology Predisposition Assessment (ET PA) to help students use technology reach certain educational goals.

  3. The Workplace Technology Predisposition Assessment (WT PA) for employers, vocational counselors, etc. who introduce new technologies into the workplace and who train persons in their use.

  4. The Health Care Technology Predisposition Assessment (HCT PA) for health care providers who recommend or prescribe technologies for health maintenance, pain relief, and so on.

Each instrument is actually a pair of instruments -- one designed for the provider of technologies (counselor, therapist, teacher, employer, trainer, etc.) and the other designed for the technology user (client, student, employee). Each instrument is quick, easy and self-explanatory. They were developed from the experiences of technology users and non-users through participatory action research to ensure providers and users work together to achieve the following goals:

  1. User goals and preferences drive the MPT process

  2. The degree of match between user and provider perspectives is assessed

  3. Providers are guided into considering all relevant influences on the use of a technology while focusing on the user's quality of life

  4. Mismatches between a proposed technology and a potential user are identified in time to reduce inappropriate use or non-use and eliminate the accompanying disappointment and frustration

  5. The most appropriate technology is selected when there is a choice of several

  6. Appropriate training strategies are identified for an individual's optimal use of a technology.

Options in technologies will continue to increase. Therefore, the constellation of factors that serve to influence individuals' predispositions to the use of particular technologies must be understood so that the most appropriate technologies can be provided and the most appropriate training strategies can be designed. The MPT process and accompanying instruments are a step in that direction. As consumer-directed technology evaluation and selection advances, MPT users will find that they a) provide consumer identification of potential obstacles to optimal technology use, and b) give information about a variety of influences on predispositions to and outcomes of technology use.

Image of the Steps of the Matching Person and Technology process, available in text on the Forms page

Initial Steps in Using the MPT Assessment Instruments

For optimal use of the MPT assessments and process, these initial steps should be followed:

Step One: Use the form entitled Initial Worksheet for Matching Person and Technology (MPT) Process to determine which technologies are potentially useful for the individual. First, write down initial goals that you and the user have established together; include possible alternative goals. Second, determine interventions supportive of these goals and write them in the space provided on the form. Third, determine any technologies needed to support the attainment of the goals.

Step Two: Use the form entitled History of Support Use to identify technologies used, desired, and needed. Sample items for this form are not included here.

Step Three: Select the appropriate MPT instrument(s).

A. Survey of Technology Use

B. Assistive Technology Device Predisposition Assessment

C. Educational Technology Predisposition Assessment

D. Workplace Technology Predisposition Assessment

E. Health Care Technology Predisposition Assessment

General Procedures for Using the MPT Assessment Instruments

All of the instruments in the MPT process (except the Health Care Technology Predisposition Assessment) have two versions: a provider version and a user version. The two versions are meant to be used together in order to identify characteristics of the milieu/environment, person, or technology that could lead to inappropriate use, or even nonuse, of the technology.

The MPT Model/Process is user-driven and person-centered. To gain the most benefit from the MPT instruments, the procedures listed below should be followed:

1. Ask the user (client, student or employee) to complete his or her version of the appropriate form focusing on current feelings and attitudes. [Instead, the user form may serve as a guide for an oral interview, if that seems more appropriate for the situation.]

2. Complete the provider version of the instrument and identify any discrepancies between your version and the user version. Also identify factors that may hinder the user's acceptance or use of the technology. Questions requiring information that you do not currently have should be left blank with a notation to obtain that information later.

3. Discuss with the user those factors that may indicate problems with his or her acceptance or appropriate use of the technology.

4. After you have noted the problem areas, work with the user to identify specific intervention strategies and devise an action plan to address the problems and to describe proposed interventions.

5. Commit to writing the strategies and action plans, for experience has shown that plans that are merely verbalized are not implemented as frequently as written plans. Written plans also serve as documentation and can provide the justification for any subsequent actions such as requests for funding or release time for training, etc.

NOTE: The MPT assessments are designed to inform, not to replace professional judgment. They are tools whose purpose is to indicate areas in need of further assessment and intervention, their overarching assumptions being that (a) each match of person and technology is unique and requires individual attention, and (b) technologies are means for achieving goals, not ends in themselves. In studies comparing known technology users to nonusers, the instruments have successfully differentiated the two groups. This only means the instruments have validity for identifying potential obstacles to the optimal use of a technology.

MPT Process Flowchart 2020.pdf

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