My planned research paper will focus on answering the following research question: How might technology be used to ensure that mandatory, government regulated certification is achieved for volunteer firefighters who live in remote Ontario communities?
There are currently two theoretical frameworks that I am considering for my paper and those are Adult Learning Theory (ALT), and/or the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) since both seem applicable to my context.
Since being a legal adult is a minimum requirement to becoming a firefighter, utilizing ALT seemed like a no-brainer especially since the foundations of ALT revolves around principles such as task-oriented and problem-centred instruction, and accomplishing activities which utilize learner experiences while embracing mistakes (Knowles, 1984) which are central to firefighting certification.
As I am focusing on potential/current technology and how it may be utilized for certification of firefighters, TAM seemed appropriate since traditional certification of firefighters takes place through in-person, real time, practical training and testing yet in order for remote Ontario communities to have access to this certification there needs to be further vetting and acceptance of the perceived usefulness of using technology (Davis, 1989) especially when training for potentially life threatening environments.
Right now, it feels like I would need to incorporate both of these frameworks into my research as both the technology acceptance and adult learning are potentially key for successful implementation of remote certification. Further diving into these frameworks will need to be done but I am hopeful the rabbit-hole isn’t too deep. 🙂
Davis, F. D. (1989). Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), 319–339.
Knowles, M. (1984). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd Ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing.
December 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm
Hi Gavin, TAM sounds like excellent fit for your research question. I’m in the same boat as you in looking at 2 theoretical frameworks (in my case ALT and self-efficacy theory). As for adult learning theory, I get your association, but I think focusing on the technology acceptance may be more important than the adult learning aspect. You may want to direct your attention to literature that focuses on adults regarding TAM (not sure if there’s a distinction as I haven’t read into this theory) and use some concepts there rather than trying to juggle 2 frameworks…
December 3, 2018 at 9:58 pm
Thanks George. I really appreciate your insights. I am leaning towards TAM and will let it marinate a bit as I continue the research process. Hope you are well!
December 4, 2018 at 5:18 pm
I coincide with George in favoring the TAM theory. Considering the fact that the training program(s) need to rely heavily on distant education, technology plays a key role in the plan. Furthermore, speaking of technology perhaps you should give VR a serious thought since, even though those “toys” might come in pricey now maybe by the time your project is ready to roll the market could have soften the entry level.
The abstract of the article written by Hedberg and Alexander (1994) seems interesting. I did not go into the full content but if you like the idea, below is the reference for you to “be my guest”.
Best of luck, cheers!
Hedberg, J., & Alexander, S., (1994). Virtual reality in education: Defining researchable issues. Educational Media International, 31(4), 214-220, DOI: 10.1080/0952398940310402
December 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm
Most of the empirical evidence supporting TAM seems to be from the 80s and early 90s, back when technologies such as personal computers were still fairly new. I wonder if anything has changed since most of the people becoming firefighters these days would have grown up surrounded by technology? Or maybe TAM in this context is more relevant to the decision makers who might decide to fund a program that trains firefighters abroad using technology? Andragogy seems more relevant to the firefighters in training, so perhaps the choice in theoretical framework should be based on your intended audience–those deciding on funding or those interested in firefighter training.