The emergence of the Internet as a tool for extension systems worldwide offers previously unimagined opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing. This descriptive study examined the diffusion of a Web-based resource which, if successful in the country of its development, may ultimately be expanded into the first global network for extension. Specifically, the study determined the perceptions held by extension agents with regard to the potential barriers to the adoption of eXtension, a Web-based educational resource. A random sample of 237 agents was selected to complete an online survey instrument which measured their perceptions of five potential barriers: (a) concerns about time, (b) concerns about incentives, (c) financial concerns, (d) planning issues, and (e) technology concerns. Agents tended to somewhat agree that concerns about time, concerns about incentives, planning issues, financial concerns, and technology concerns were potential barriers to adoption of eXtension. The capacity of Cooperative Extension to address and decrease these barriers will be critical determinants for the future success (or failure) of eXtension on both local and global levels. The lessons learned from this study may prove particularly educative for extension systems which have not yet developed their own Web-based resources, as the results point towards a need to pro-actively prepare extension workers with adequate training opportunities and technological resources prior to the launch of the innovation in order to minimize perceived barriers and maximize diffusion.

Keywords: Adoption, Diffusion, Technology, Web-based, Extension


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