When you hear the word innovation, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?  Innovation does not apply to all change.  There are times when change means an addition to software, moving a physical item, or introducing a completely new technology.  In my experience, I have found that when people hear the word change, it causes concerns about what is to come.  However, sharing the word innovation gives people hope that something better is coming.  Innovation and change can, and do, work together, as Dron stipulates, “innovation and change tend to happen at the edges between communities when people are able to shift between systems, communities, and disciplines” (Wenger as cited in Dron, 2014, p. 523).  Technology is a common area for both change and innovation as new designs come forward on a regular basis and anyone who works in education needs to aware of the effects (be they large or small) on learners (Dron, 2014, p. 260).  Reading about this topic made me wonder, who is responsible for managing the waves of innovation and change that come into the world of education?  Who is there to ensure the students have a smooth experience in amongst all the new ideas and tools?


Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press.

4 thoughts on “Innovation

  1. Hi Kathy,

    You posed an interesting question, “who is responsible for managing the waves of innovation and change that come into the world of education? Who is there to ensure the students have a smooth experience in amongst all the new ideas and tools?”

    This is the same question I posed to myself too when changes happen in my own setting. I think we (educators, decision-makers, stakeholders, learners) have to play our part in managing the waves of innovation and renewal that are happening within our own environment. From a system standpoint, a change can be minimal on our part but it could have a huge impact on the other part of the system. In one of my blog posts, I suggested that we need to shift our mindset that we are learning designers- change agents and leaders in the “learning enterprise” (Kenny, Zhang, Schwier, & Campbell, 2005). Hence, it is vital that we self-educate ourselves on the tools and emerging technologies so we can effectively advocate for what is best for the learners and lead the learning evolution, Ambata-Villanueva (2019).

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    I agree that each player has a role in managing innovation, change, and adjustments. Your point that some changes that seem minimal to one group may cause major hurtles for others connects to my thoughts regarding managing advancements. For instance, the ID might think that he/she is making a small adjustment, but students may think it is a large change. Does the communication around the new item change how the users see it? I think it is always a careful balance between the design and the user.

  3. Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for your thought provoking post. As I was reading, it made me think of something my brother said to me years ago. He works for Microsoft and he once told me that they have an abundance of tecnologies already created, but the world is not ready for them yet. Your post made me think of this as you stated “I have found that when people hear the word change, it causes concerns about what is to come”. So many of us are creatures of habit, that when we hear the word change, it is immediately looked at as a neagtive, opposed to the good it may bring.

    I think that the waves of innovation lay from supply and demand. The student/learner drives the change based on boredom, apathy and the need for improvement. The younger generation, or the generation that has never known life without the internet seems to be a driving force (in my opinion). The fact that 51% of facebook users are between 13-17 yet that number jumps by margins in the older population to 78% – 81% (West, 2019). This tells me that the innovation and change is brought about by the younger generation.

    I don’t think new technologies are supported for students/learners and I feel this burden falls to the instructor. It seems that there is a heavy burden placed on students to just assume the responsibility of learning the new technology and an even bigger burden on the instructor who may also be learning the new technology.

    Thank you for your post Kathy, I always enjoy getting introspective ☺
    – Kerry

    West, C. (2019, September 26). Social media demographics to drive your brand’s online presence. Retrieved from

    1. Thank you for bringing up the idea that Microsoft has created technologies that have not yet been released due to concerns with how the public will handle them. I have heard this before, though I do not know where; I appreciate you mentioning it with your brother’s (as an employee) endorsement. I agree with you that most of us are creatures of habit, making change a challenge.
      Dron (2014) states that “the braiding of technologies that defines and characterized distance education present both threats and opportunities” (p. 251). It is unfortunate that we tend to look at the threats before the opportunities. Your point about the younger generation being the drive for new innovation made me think of digital natives and immigrants and how varying experiences can play a role in the ability to accept the change. I agree that those who live in a world that has always had substantial technological advancements may be more open to changes than those who view technology still as something new. You may enjoy Ruth’s (2019) recent post on regarding digital natives and immigrants.
      In our history there was once a time when cave drawings were considered an innovation and the best technique for instructional design (Crawford, 2015, p. 115). If those of the time had not accepted that innovation it is impossible to know where we would be today with technology. Would we be able to take an entire degree without physical presences at the school? As educators and instructional designers, it is our responsibility to consider innovations with an open-mind and help guide students away from being concerned with the new and recognize the opportunity.


      Crawford, C. M. (2015). The Distance Education phenomena: From initial interactive activities to a full onslaught of multimedia instructional support. In A. Scheg (Ed.), Critical examinations of distance education transformation across disciplines (pp. 112-142). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

      Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & T. Anderson (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press.

      Ruth, S. (2019). Digital Natives and Immigrants: Learning in the Digital Age [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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