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NRTH 101: Diffusion of Innovation Theory


The short 3 credit hour courses in this series introduce various significant theories and frameworks that are relevant to nursing informatics knowledge, skills, and applications. This particular course focuses on the Diffusion of Innovation Theory.

Each course consists of a lesson, assigned readings and supportive Power Points, and are evaluated by completing a multiple choice final examination. Passing Grade is 60%.

You will receive a customized digital certificate of completion with your final mark included, worth 3 credit hours upon successful completion.

The Diffusion of Innovation Theory was first discussed historically in 1903 by the French sociologist Gabriel Tarde (Toews, 2003) who plotted the original S-shaped diffusion curve, followed by Ryan and Gross (1943) who introduced the adopter categories that were later used in the current theory popularized by Everett Rogers. Katz (1957) is also credited for first introducing the notion of opinion leaders, opinion followers and how the media interacts to influence these two groups. The Diffusion of Innovation theory is often regarded as a valuable change model for guiding technological innovation where the innovation itself is modified and presented in ways that meet the needs across all levels of adopters. It also stresses the importance of communication and peer networking within the adoption process.

In simple terms, the diffusion of innovation refers to the process that occurs as people adopt a new idea, product, practice, philosophy, and so on. Rogers mapped out this process, stressing that in most cases, an initial few are open to the new idea and adopt its use. As these early innovators 'spread the word' more and more people become open to it which leads to the development of a critical mass. Over time, the innovative idea or product becomes diffused amongst the population until a saturation point is achieved.


This course is intended to provide the learner with the opportunity to:

  • Identify the category characteristics of innovation adopters in the Diffusion of Innovation theory as applied by Rogers.
  • Recognize the suitability and application of the Diffusion of Innovation theory in the field of nursing informatics specialization.
  • Describe the process and factors that ensure successful evolution along the S curve to the point of saturation.
  • Transpose the Diffusion of Innovation theory to their own development within the field of nursing informatics.


Learners will be assessed using the following methods:

  • Final Exam - worth 100%
  • Passing Grade: 60%


A digital Board Approved Certificate of Completion will be issued for 3 contact hours once the course is completed (California Board of Nursing Approved).


Tuition is only $20. Once registered in our secure commerce area you can select the course and pay using PayPal (to process your credit card, bank withdrawal or e-check payment), Company/Institutional Check or Money Order to register for the course. Please note, if you elect to pay using e-check, check or money order, there will be a waiting period before enrollment, until the payment has cleared. Once registered, you will be manually enrolled to access the course within the course area, and your user name and password will be emailed to you. You can register at any time, since this is a 1 to 1 course and is done at your own pace. Click button to enroll in NRTH 101 now!

Course Content

Diffusion of Innovation Theory, S curve adoption scale, change, theory, application to technology and health care innovation.

This course has been designed for prepare nurses to meet the requirements of various certification programs, e.g. VI. Models and Theories.

It will also serve as an excellent short CE course for nurses who wish to brush up on their knowledge of nursing theories and frameworks.

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