Transitional Challenge: An Issue of Trust and Faith in Emerging Technologies.

Transitional Challenge: An Issue of Trust and Faith in Emerging Technologies.

by Amando Respicio Boncales

Instructional Technology

Educational Technology, Research & Assessment

Northern Illinois University

Spring 2012

An introduction

How does a user or potential user react to the arrival of a new technology, platform, or new learning environment? The changes brought about by these emerging technology triggers many responses, acceptance or resistance. This paper is taking a position that a user’s issue of trust and faith in emerging technology is not being discussed in the field. And, if this issue has been discussed, it is not exhausted. Let us develop this concept.

This position paper is all about “Transitional Challenge,” (TC) a phrase to describe an issue of putting one’s trust and faith into any emerging technology or new environment.

There is a considerable amount of literature written to address learning new technology. Personally, I viewed none devoted to “issues and stresses” that an end-user experiences in changing from one format or environment to another. For example, Diane knows how to use her e-book reader but she prefer reading traditional book format because she wants to hold the book, feel the texture as she skims, and even smells  the pages as she goes. I ask her why not read the copy of the book in your e-reader, and she replied “I do not have trust and faith in my e-reader - I don’t consider it real” (Diane Malmgren, 2012).

This paper argues that “Transitional Challenge” is an unaddressed problem. So that students will know how to place themselves in this constantly evolving field of instructional technology, this issue needs to be address. The concept of “transitional challenge” exists.

My first experiences in an online class, as a student, made me aware that there is an impediment. That is the online environment itself. I was clueless as to what was going-on. Even if the syllabus and class updates are posted often in Blackboard, and even if the teacher is up-to-date- in sending remainders, I still longed to see my classmates and teacher in a live interaction. I wanted the face-to-face setting, because I did not have trust and faith in this new online classroom environment.

I discussed this issue with my classmates, the feeling of emptiness and disconnection to the new classroom environment, an abrupt change of class format. I wanted the good-old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. Little did I know that it is an unaddressed issue in the field of distance education. I came to realize this when I search online and did not find any answer specific to this nature. As I reflect to myself, this experience needs to be processed so that I can situate myself in the context of distance learning.

I decided to coined the phrase “Transitional Challenge” (TC) to describe the “state of discomfort” that I have personally experience, changing from traditional face-to-face class interaction to online asynchronous and synchronous class. TC is not addressed in the field of Instructional Technology. It has much potential and can be applied to any learner or end-user experiencing distrust with new technology or discomfort in using the emerging systems.

In order to overcome these challenges, it is important to constantly expose the user with the issue. Depending on the user’s ability to cope with change, the adjustment period may take more or less time. Basically, familiarization is the key. It is pretty obvious that there are many ways and strategy in overcoming the issue of Transitional Challenge and familiarization is just one of them. Another approach would be demonstration, since people want to imitate what other people do, “monkey see, monkey do.”

This paper is something new, in need of being discussed. So far, I have not seen the other side of the issue because it has not been formally debated. However, one thing comes to mind that people might think “Transitional Challenge” is the same as “Learning New Technology.” To make it clear, this paper states that Transitional Challenge is not the same as the former. TC is not about learning, but it is about the user putting “trust” and “faith” in the new platform or environment. For example, back to Diane’s case, she already knows how to use her e-reader, in fact she is using it every day to play “Angry Birds,” and occasionally using it to browse her Facebook page, but she still “hasn’t got the hang of it.” In other words, using e-reader as a replacement to traditional book is not part of her thinking pattern, hence e-reader “is not the real thing” (Diane Malmgren, 2012)

There are some related concepts that might mistakenly be equated to Transitional Challenge. One of them is Metacognition or “learning how to learn,” a higher order of thinking that involves active control over the thinking processes (Metacognition, 2004). Another idea or concept that people may associate Transitional Challenge is Hype Cycle.  Hype Cycle is about stages of social reaction that many technologies go through (Hype Cycle, 2011).

I found-out, as I constantly and continually conduct my readings, that there are no articles devoted to this topic. Furthermore, Transitional Challenge may manifest in various ways and forms, depending on the nature of the issue.

Discussion must begin on the topic so that the importance of Transitional Challenge will be better understood and appreciated. The application of Transitional Challenge as a concept is not only limited to the field of Instructional Technology, but to the various disciplines as well. It is a broad concept that needs to be refined, defined, and constantly tested. People should try to explore this topic and contribute to fully develop this concept.

It is my intent to write this topic as my position paper in the hope of starting a discourse addressing the issue of Transitional Challenge. This paper will serve as my jumping board, as I develop the topic for graduate school publication.


Diane Lea Pennial Woods-Malmgren. (2012). Faith and Trust in Emerging Technology.

Elhanan Helpman, & Antonio Rangel. (1998). Adjusting to a New Technology: Experience and Training. Retrieved from

Holistic Education Network of Tasmania, Australia. (2004). Metacognition - Thinking about thinking - Learning to learn. Holistic Education Network of Tasmania, Australia. Retrieved from

Vovici Blog. (2011). The Hype Cycle: Social Reaction to Adopting New Technology. Retrieved from