The diffusion of innovations in intensive ESL programs

Fredricka L. Stoller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The process of successful innovation diffusion in English language teaching (ELT) programs is poorly understood. The research reported here contributes to the small but growing ELT innovation literature, shedding new light on components of the diffusion process in one ELT context: the US intensive English program (IEP). The study examines the facilitative and inhibitory roles of 13 frequently cited perceived attributes of innovations (e.g. complexity, originality, feasibility). An analysis of survey data from 43IEPs and case-study data from three IEPs reveals that certain attributes are perceived to have a stronger facilitative effect on the implementation of innovations than others. Because the 13 attributes were not perceived to be mutually exclusive by study respondents, a factor analysis was run in order to clarify the interrelationships among them. In the final factor solution, three factors were extracted: a Balanced Divergence Factor, a Dissatisfaction Factor, and a Viability Factor. The three factors suggest a 'zone of innovation' phenomenon and three 'pathsto-innovation'. These distinct paths, each associated with different types of innovations, highlight a new set of perspectives on the role of perceived attributes of ELT innovations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-327
Number of pages28
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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