Here is my response to Heli’s question on why do people leave the course (MOOC) in her comments to my previous post?
Why do some people leave the courses of MOOC? That is a question that requires a complex answer.
First, I think there are lots of emotional attachments when people are learning on networks, with some of the critical factors that would impact their “stay or go” yet to be explored. Based on my observation, many people would have difficulties in using technology in their formal learning, partly because of the lack of access, and mostly due to a lack of skills, especially when first exposed to the online environment. No one wants to look stupid, and so many people would be afraid to even post their writings publicly. This is a common issue, when learning online. So, the first challenge to overcome is: how to overcome the fear of being perceived as being “incompetent” in posting, commenting or communicating?
The second challenge could be a lack of motivation, due to the lack of connections, engagement and feedback when learning online.
The third challenge could be a feeling of chaos when exposed to a vast array of networks, and could easily be overwhelmed with the abundant information.
The fourth challenge could be the identity issue. Most people would find it hard to identify themselves in an open network, where their voices would hardly be heard, and so they might soon retract from participation and retreat to their own real life community, in order to re-define their identity.
Finally, the challenge due to a perceived threat on personal security, privacy and over-powering by the powerful others could easily diminish one’s desire to connect and network. Who knows who are on the other side of the network?
I still think many people may be more comfortable with the instructional approach face – to – face, and have more trust on the “authority figures – like professors” rather than someone who are raising their opinions or posting their beliefs with personal stories. I will have to re-visit some of the research findings to dig deeper into this critical issue.
How about your views?