As K-12 organizations continue to increase adoption of cloud-based information technology such as Google Apps for Education, there is a need to understand the factors that influence behaviors of school leaders in adopting and using these technologies. The purpose of this study was to explore the motivations and learning experiences of school site administrators related to adopting Google Apps for Education as a cloud-based knowledge management technology. These administrators have used the software applications with varied purpose and success, and learning more from their lived experiences might assist in the development and implementation of effective professional learning activities to support successful technology adoption and use by school administrators. This study utilized a qualitative phenomenological research design utilizing activity system theory and a self-directed learning schema to analyze collected data. The researcher interviewed six school site administrators in California. The interviews were conducted face-to-face using a semi-structured interview protocol comprising of 17 questions exploring the motivations and learning experiences of these school site administrators. Three conclusions resulted from this study. First, school administrators learning and use of Google Apps for Education is strongly motivated by collaboration. Second, school administrators learn and use Google Apps for Education by transforming familiar objects also referred to as Production. Third, organizational environments impact school administrators' ability to understand and process informal learning. The research recommended two areas of practice organizations implementing a culture of informal learning while adopting a new technology may consider. First, create a purposeful culture of self-directed learning. By deeply understanding various components of the current learning experiences of administrators, organizations might be able to be purposeful in designing cultural norms that influence learning experiences. Organizations promoting embedded learning experiences, may benefit from providing training or resources related to effective practices within self-directed learning to increase learning application and effective sharing of skills through modeling. Second, organizations should align appropriate resources for systemic technological change. Organizations seeking an increased or differentiated use of technology may benefit from understanding the current organization culture. Activity system theory could provide metrics to better understand and measure organizational culture and monitor changes throughout an initiative.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Leadership, administration, and policy; Educational technology -- California; School administrators -- California -- Case studies; Non-formal education

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Purrington, Linda;