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How the Game Works    

The Diffusion Simulation Game was created in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. The Web version was led by Dr. Ted Frick with designers Barbara Ludwig, K. J. Kim and Rui Huang. The DSG is based on a board game originally developed by Dr. Michael Molenda and Marjorie Cambry.

Your Objective

In this simulation you will be playing the role of a change agent in a hypothetical school. Your objective is to persuade as many of the staff members as possible to adopt a particular innovation - peer tutoring.

You are a reading specialist who has just been assigned to conduct a federally-funded project at James Whitcomb Riley Junior High School, located in a mixed urban/suburban area of Centralia City.

Your Resources (The Calendar)

Whatever strategies you will use will, as in real life, require an investment of your time and energy. Therefore, you have been given two years' time to achieve your objective. This time period is represented on the game board by a calendar showing one school year with 36 working weeks: you will cycle through this calendar twice, simulating the passage of two years (a total of 72 weeks).

Each activity of the game will cost you one or more weeks. The game is over when you have used up all your weeks or have achieved 100% adoption, whichever comes first.

Getting Adopters

Gathering Information
Since you are dealing with a human change process you will undoubtedly want to get to know the staff members pretty well before approaching them directly. Who are they ... what are their values... what social roles do they play? You can dig out this information by investing some of your time in one or more of the information-gathering activities listed on the game board under information.

Note that some of the diffusion activities such as "Talk to" require that you gather information about that person before you can approach her/him.

Diffusion Activities
There are a number of tactics to choose from in attempting to gain adopters; in fact, thirteen different diffusion activities are listed on the game board. During the game, you will carry out the activities by clicking the link which corresponds to title of the activity of your choice. After submitting your selection, you will receive feedback regarding the outcomes of the activities you have chosen.

Influence Points & Adoption
The success of a move can be gauged by the number of influence points it produces. These points will be registered next to staff member who has been influenced. As you can see, each staff member requires a certain number of points to move from awareness to interest to evaluation/trial. When a person has completed all these stages, s/he has been influenced to adopt peer tutoring, and the adoption column can be marked... You have an adopter!

**Note that two of the different diffusion activities, compulsion and confrontation, may have serious consequences in terms of your overall strategy. Consider this carefully before you use them.

A Final Word About the Play of the Game

There is no need to rush through this game. As there is a great deal of information to sift through and analyze, you will want to spend time carefully planning your strategies and evaluating the consequences of your moves.

The outcomes of your moves are intended to reflect the probabilities discovered in the field research on the implementation of innovations in real schools. Nevertheless, as in real life, there is an element of chance in any situation involving personal interactions. Human behavior is not always logical or predictable. So don't be discouraged by setbacks in what seems to you to be an appropriate strategy. Keep in mind that the research indicates that one critical factor in gaining acceptance of a new idea is the effort and tenacity of the change agent!

Starting Play: Begin the Game!

The First Move
To start play, you must obtain PERSONAL INFORMATION for any five staff members. To do this, go to the information table and select "Personal." Then, you will be prompted to choose the five people for whom you want information. Once you have submitted your five choices, the personal information will be displayed in the column next to the titles of the corresponding staff members. You will also notice that one week will have been marked off your calendar -- the time it took you to obtain this information!

Subsequent Moves
After the first move, you can perform any activities listed in the INFORMATION or DIFFUSION ACTIVITIES tables. Continue to perform activities until the two years has been used up. Remember, your goal is to influence as many persons as possible to adopt the innovation during the two years which you have this job. Good luck.

Questions or Comments? Email the Diffusion Simulation Team.