How SoC and LoU differ

Levels of Use (LoU) are the third dimension of the CBAM model. Although it may sound similar to Stages of Concern, there is a difference between the two dimensions. Stages of Concern focus on people’s reactions, feelings, perceptions, and attitudes towards the change initiative, whereas LoU focuses on the behaviors of individuals undergoing a change initiative and portrays how people are acting in regards to the innovation. LoU provides another way to see where individuals are on the implementation bridge, which contributes to understanding the progress in implementing the change initiative. In addition, LoU framework contributes to being able to predict which is likely to occur further down the road as the change initiative continues to occur.

The eight LoU levels:

Level 0: Nonuse

Level I: Orientation

Level II: Preparation

Level III: Mechanical Use

Level IVA: Routine

Level IVB: Refinement

Level V: Integration

Level VI: Renewal

To further understand an individual’s LoU, the main eight levels are further divided into two main categories: Nonusers and Users. While reading the descriptions of LoU, keep in mind that although they are presented in a hierarchy fashion, they do not always occur in a set order. View a PDF of the LoU Graph.

Levels and categories of LoU

It is important to take the time to learn the behavioral differences between the different LoU under the two different categories of Nonuser and User. Even though the levels may be listed under the same category it does not mean that all of the levels under that category will react to change initiatives in the same manner. Learn about the different Levels and Categories of LoU.

How to assess LoU

Learn how to assess LoU through Branching and Focus Interviews.

Video tutorial by SEDL


Levels and categories of LoU


These are individuals who are not currently using the innovation. Researchers have identified four different types of nonusers:

0.  Nonuse: Individuals at this level have little to no knowledge about the change initiative. At this point, they are making no attempt to learn about the change initiative either. If they attend a training session for the change initiative, they are likely to sit in the back of the room grading papers or working on a different project rather than pay attention to what is being said.

I.  Orientation: Individuals at this level are beginning to learn about the change initiative. They are just starting to gather and read available information about the initiative and are beginning to develop an opinion on the change initiative.

II.  Preparation: At this point, the individual has decided they are going to use the change initiative. They may be gathering the materials they will need for implementation so they are prepared for using the innovation. In order to move from the orientation phase to the preparation phase, the individual must have a date set for when the change initiative will be implemented their classroom.

III.  Mechanical Use: During this phase, individuals have already implemented the new change initiative. However, at this point they are focusing on day to day use. These individuals are not spending much time reflecting on their implementation efforts, nor are they focusing on meeting the needs of their students. In a program evaluation we would not include these teachers’ student data as part of the experimental or implementation group. Instead, they would be considered non-implementers.


These are individuals who have begun to use the innovation. Researchers have identified four types of users:

IVA. Routine: Individuals at this level have stabilized their use of the new change initiative. They have moved past the day-to-day implementation phase of those in the mechanical use level; however, they are still giving little to no thought to the process of implementation and where they are in that process.

IVB. Refinement: Individuals are beginning to give more attention to implementing the change initiative at this level. They are beginning to vary their implementation style with the hopes of better results.

V.  Integration: During the integration phase, individuals are beginning to collaborate with one another. Through the collaboration, individuals will make changes to the implementation of the change innovation with the hopes of having better results for their students. This phase is very important and innovation leaders should do all they can to help and guide individuals to this phase.

VI.  Renewal: Individuals at this level are beginning to explore major changes to the innovation or may be replacing aspects of the innovation with something different. These individuals consider these changes with the students’ needs at heart.

How to assess LoU

There are only a few ways to assess an individual’s LoU. The two most common and respected ways to assess an individual’s LoU are the two LoU interviews: the LoU Branching Interview and the LoU Focus Interview. Both of these interviews use decisions points to help determine an individual’s LoU.

Branching interview

The branching interview is constructed so that the facilitator gains the most amount of information about the participant’s use of the innovation in as little time as possible. The interview always begins with the same simple question “Are you using the innovation?” If the participant responds “no”, then the facilitator gives them the appropriate follow-up question and vice-versa if the participant responds “yes” to the same question. The first goal of the facilitator is to determine if the participant is a user or a nonuser. Next, the facilitator must refer to the definitions of the levels to determine the individuals specific LoU. Hall and Hord (2011) provide an excellent example of a branching interview in their book: Implementing Change: Patterns, Principles, and Potholes.

Keep in mind that the Branching Interview alone cannot provide enough information needed for a complete evaluation of an implementation effort. As always, use multiple sources of data when completing the evaluation.

Focus interview

Similar to the Branching Interview, the Focus Interview uses decision points, and LoU definitions to make individual LoU decisions. In addition to those measures, the Focus Interview also uses more detailed indicators of each LoU called categories. These categories are:

  • Knowledge
  • Acquiring information
  • Sharing
  • Assessing
  • Planning
  • Status reporting
  • Performing

With the use of these categories facilitators are able to ask more specified questions to determine the individual’s LoU. During this process the facilitator will fill out a form, referred to as a matrix, to help organize and analyze the information gained during the interview.

In order to administer the Focus Interview, one must undergo a rigorous training and certification program. Trained facilitators will be able to make the formal interview feel like a conversation to the participant. The interview will last approximately 30 minutes or less.


Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2011). Implementing change, patterns, principles, and potholes. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.