Technology Acceptance Model

Advances in computing and information technology are changing the way people meet and communicate. People can meet, talk, and work together outside traditional meeting and office spaces. For instance, with the introduction of software designed to help people schedule meetings and facilitate decision or learning processes, is weakening geographical constraints and changing interpersonal communication dynamics. Information technology is also dramatically affecting the way people teach and learn.As new information technologies infiltrate workplaces, home, and classrooms, research on user acceptance of new technologies has started to receive much attention from professionals as well as academic researchers. Developers and software industries are beginning to realize that lack of user acceptance of technology can lead to loss of money and resources.
In studying user acceptance and use of technology, the TAM is one of the most cited models. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was developed by Davis to explain computer-usage behavior. The theoretical basis of the model was Fishbein and Ajzen’s Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA).The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is an information systems (System consisting of the network of all communication channels used within an organization) theory that models how users come to accept and use a technology, The model suggests that when users are presented with a new software package, a number of factors influence their decision about how and when they will use it, notably:Perceived usefulness (PU) – This was defined by Fred Davis as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance”.Perceived ease-of-use (PEOU) Davis defined this as “the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free from effort” (Davis, 1989).The goal of TAM is “to provide an explanation of the determinants of computer acceptance that is general, capable of explaining user behavior across a broad range of end-user computing technologies and user populations, while at the same time being both parsimonious and theoretically justified”.According to the TAM, if a user perceives a specific technology as useful, she/he will believe in a positive use-performance relationship. Since effort is a finite resource, a user is likely to accept an application when she/he perceives it as easier to use than another .As a consequence, educational technology with a high level of PU and PEOU is more likely to induce positive perceptions. The relation between PU and PEOU is that PU mediates the effect of PEOU on attitude and intended use. In other words, while PU has direct impacts on attitude and use, PEOU influences attitude and use indirectly through PU.User acceptance is defined as “the demonstrable willingness within a user group to employ information technology for the tasks it is designed to support” (Dillon & Morris). Although this definition focuses on planned and intended uses of technology, studies report that individual perceptions of information technologies are likely to be influenced by the objective characteristics of technology, as well as interaction with other users. For example, the extent to which one evaluates new technology as useful, she/he is likely to use it. At the same time, her/his perception of the system is influenced by the way people around her/him evaluate and use the system.
Studies on information technology continuously report that user attitudes are important factors affecting the success of the system. For the past several decades, many definitions of attitude have been proposed. However, all theories consider attitude to be a relationship between a person and an object (Woelfel, 1995).In the context of information technologies, is an approach to the study of attitude – the technology acceptance model (TAM). TAM suggests users formulate a positive attitude toward the technology when they perceive the technology to be useful and easy to use (Davis, 1989).A review of scholarly research on IS acceptance and usage suggests that TAM has emerged as one of the most influential models in this stream of research The TAM represents an important theoretical contribution toward understanding IS usage and IS acceptance behaviors. However, this model — with its original emphasis on the design of system characteristics – does not account for social influence in the adoption and utilization of new information systems.

Posted in Technology | Tagged | Comments Off

Do Nutritional Supplements Work? Some Surprising Facts

Some big, unfounded rumors are circulating about nutritional supplements.And they’re circulating under the guise of science and experience. But instead of helping you make wiser choices for your health, they do the opposite. They make it harder.Because these false tales ignore volumes of research and several thousands of years of human healing practices using food, herbs and minerals.What fallacies am I talking about?A December 2013 editorial published in The Annals Of Internal Medicine, titled “Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements” concluded:”We believe that the case is closed- supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.”[1]Now here’s the thing… I agree we need to pay attention to results of the studies the authors referred to when they came to this conclusion. This editorial refers to several recent studies. Each of these studies underscores some important reasons why nutritional supplements don’t work in specific situations.But other than that, they’re dead wrong.Because if anything these studies only highlight the mistakes people and doctors make when it comes to using supplements. Simply put, when people choose poor quality supplements and use the wrong supplement for the wrong reasons, supplements don’t do much good.In contrast, as hundreds of people who have consulted with me as a doctor have discovered, when you choose the right, high quality supplement for the right health concern, you’ll see the benefits.The key is to make knowledgeable choices.A single article is too limited to cover 40 plus years of knowledge I draw from in recommending supplements to my patients. But I can offer some basic guidelines that will help you make better choices when you use supplements.Here’s what you need to look out for in order to ensure the nutritional supplements you use work.Get The Right Dose Of NutritionThree of the studies the editorial team used to make their case showed multivitamins did little to change the risk of brain problems, cardiovascular issues after a heart attack or overall health risks for older people.I wasn’t surprised by this.In trying to cover the whole spectrum of nutrition without overdoing it in any one area, multivitamins usually only offer a small percentage of the nutrients you need to take care of a specific health concern. And often enough they include nutrients you don’t even need depending on how you eat.For example, most multivitamins contain 400 IU or less of vitamin D. While this is the official recommended daily allowance for vitamin D, most holistic doctors would consider this a drop in the bucket when it comes to raising your blood vitamin D levels.I have my patients get blood tests to assess vitamin D levels and then recommend supplements accordingly. Often enough, I recommend at least 1000 IU – sometimes as much as 5000 IU – to get them to healthy vitamin D levels in the blood.Multivitamins provide a baseline for nutrition. Not strategic intervention that can really make a difference.And this brings me to the next issue…Choose The Best Nutritional Supplements For Your Specific NeedsJust because vitamin A supplementation worked for your neighbor, doesn’t mean it will work for you.Perhaps you eat lots of winter squash and chlorella, rich in this vitamin. You don’t need a supplement.Not everyone needs the same amount of supplementation.Supplementation works best when it’s tailored to your individual health concerns, eating habits, lifestyle and genetic makeup. When adding supplements to your diet, start with you – with what you’re struggling with and what you know are your weak points.This is why studies involving people without any nutritional deficiencies to assess the effectiveness of supplements may have had less significant results.It’s also why multivitamins have limited effectiveness. The higher quality ones may give you a nice nutritional base. But they do little to offer you the strategic nutrition that thousands of studies have shown can make a difference with specific health concerns.But it doesn’t matter what dose of supplement you choose, if you don’t pay attention to this next issue, you won’t get what you need…Choose Natural SupplementsSynthetic versions of vitamins can not only be less effective, they can be dangerous. As the Annals of Internal Medicine editorial team correctly pointed out, some research has shown that vitamin A supplementation can in fact increase your risk of lung cancer.However, if you get the precursor for vitamin A that’s found in chlorella and other whole foods – beta carotene – you don’t have to worry. Unlike with vitamin A, your body only converts the beta-carotene it needs and gets rid of the rest.Natural substances are hard to mimic in a chemistry lab. We may do a pretty good job, but several different vitamin studies have shown that synthetic forms of vitamins – like the ones used in several vitamin A and E studies – can disrupt the way your body uses nutrition.But even if you go natural, you still need to pay keen attention to the next criterion…Make Quality A PriorityListen, do you think some wilted spinach that’s been sitting in your fridge for 2 weeks will give you the same nourishment as that spinach picked from your garden minutes ago? Of course not!So why would you assume all supplement ingredients are of the same quality?Sure they may be natural ingredients. But natural doesn’t necessarily mean quality.Plenty of manufacturers scoot by with ingredients your body can’t use – or contain little concentration of the active compounds you’re seeking. Multivitamins are particularly notorious in this area. If you pick one up at random from the local pharmacy, I can just about guarantee that many of the nutrients in the multivitamin you selected will be hard for your body to use and offer limited benefits.For example, calcium carbonate – found in many multivitamins as well as calcium supplements – is much harder for your body to breakdown and absorb than calcium citrate.[2]When it comes to botanical supplements, their quality depends heavily on how they were sourced and processed. For example, if eleuthero root is harvested in the winter months, when much of the plant’s energy is stored in its roots, you’ll get a much higher concentration of active ingredients, eleutherosides. However, not every eleuthero producer takes care to harvest at this time, leading to a range of potency when it comes to eleuthero supplements on the market.However, as good as a high quality extract or isolated ingredient is, rarely can they compete with the best form of supplementation.The Best Nutritional Supplements Are Made With Whole FoodsWhile we’ve discovered some applications for isolated vitamins and plant compounds… and while I sometimes suggest my patients use certain extracts or isolated vitamins… when it comes down to it, nothing beats the complex chemistry of food for giving your body the best nutrition.Nutrients found in food work together to nourish you in incredibly complex ways. It’s like a symphony with hundreds of players. And often enough, when we try to isolate nutrients, we miss out on powerful health benefits.For example, when it comes to the supplement, eleuthero, scientists have found that some of the isolated compounds, eleutherosides, seem to increase immune health. But they also found that none of the isolated eleutherosides worked as well for strengthening your immune health as taking whole eleuthero.[3]3 Tips For Finding Nutritional Supplements That WorkAs a doctor who’s witnessed hundreds of people recovering excellent health thanks to the use of nutritional supplements, I know this widely publicized editorial from the Annals of Internal Medicine has the potential to cause tremendous damage. By referring to a few non-representative and poorly designed studies to condemn nutritional supplements as a whole, the authors have robbed people of health options that can make all the difference.But I also understand the need, highlighted by the studies referred to in the editorial, for better understanding of how to choose and use supplements more effectively.Here are a few suggestions:

Do your research. Go beyond the headlines and ask questions. Get information that addresses all the questions I raised in this post. Learn more about the health concern you have, the nutrient you’re considering using and the company that produces supplements that provide this nutrition.

When in doubt, consult with a professional like a holistic doctor. As part of our professional work, we keep up with the research. In addition, we have our years of practice to draw on in seeing how supplements work on a case by case basis. A holistic doctor can help you determine the quality of a supplement. And they can help you decide if it’s the right one for your needs.

Consider using supplements that have already gone through rigorous quality assessments. For example, supplement distribution companies like Emerson Ecologics set high standards for the supplements they carry in order to help practitioners like me make good choices more easily. While you will need an official practitioner recommendation for purchasing from them, you will know that the supplements they carry are well vetted.
Become The Expert: Know The Best Supplements For YouThe most important thing you can do to use supplements effectively is to know yourself. Get to know your body and note how supplements work for you.And keep this in mind: Studies are important. But they also only capture a snapshot of the reality. Your unique biochemistry may not fit into this.Because of this, you can know better than any doctor or researcher what supplement works for you. When it comes down to it, no one else can do as good a job as you in making the final decision about which are the best nutritional supplements for you.While professionals like me can help you with guidance and advice, you need to be the expert when it comes to your health.Sources:[1] Eliseo Guallar, MD et al. Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(12):850-851-851[2] Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. Office Of Dietary Supplements.[3] Steinmann GG et al. Immunopharmacological in vitro effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus extracts. Arzneimittelforschung. 2001 Jan;51(1):76-83.

Posted in Health | Tagged | Comments Off

Budget Travel – Travel For Cheap On Any Budget

Are you thinking about traveling this summer, but are afraid that the high gas prices will make it to expensive for you to take the trip you want to take? There are ways to travel for cheap and they are called budget travel. Here are some tips to help you travel without giving up what you want to see and do, but staying within your budget.First, do not bother driving this year because it is just too expensive. You can book a flight package for a cheaper price than the gas it will cost to get you to where you want to go. This is true unless you have a large family and a very good van that gets tremendous gas mileage.If flying is to expensive, then you can take the Greyhound to save money. If you purchase your bus ticket early enough you can get them for a very cheap price. This is a great way to travel on a budget, but if you do decide to take the bus plan ahead because buses tend to run late and they don’t always stop when you want them to. Take things that will keep your children occupied and yourself occupied. Video games, magazines, coloring books, and other easy to pack childrens games are great for the kids and a couple of good books and a radio can keep you occupied.If you decide to travel by bus, then you might want to make multiple stops on your way to your final destination. Maybe plan out a 2 week trip and go 10 hours the first day to a good destination, then stay overnight a couple of nights and take the bus the rest of the way the next day. You can do this on the way back on a slightly different route and actually get to see 3 or 4 great places instead of just one.Second, you can book your entire package all in one. My friend and I recently went to Orlando for 4 nights and 5 days and we were able to package our hotel, rental car, and flight all together for about $350 each. That is a pretty good deal considering we stayed in a 4 star resort that had 3 pools, nice clean rooms, and a couple of restaurants right on the complex. Plus we were only a few minutes away from all the Disney parks.Last, be flexible with your trip. You can save quite a bit of money if you fly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check all the different dates and pick the best times to fly. You should check all the major online travel sites because it is hard to know which one will give you the best deal, but if you check them all you can find the best deal without any issues and make your trip a success on a budget.Budget travel is going to be the name of the game for many families this year and you should consider using these tips along with many other things like eating at buffets, cooking meals, and avoiding any unnecessary expenses along the way. If you are organized, plan well, and check out all of your options you will be able to take your vacation this year and get the relaxation you need.

Posted in Travel | Tagged | Comments Off