Reflection on Topic 1 – Online Participation and Digital Literacies

I studied IT, more specifically systems analysis and design.  My tuition revolved around problem solving and adapting.  We were constantly reminded that change is the only constant.  As such, as an individual in the digital age my journey has revolved around adapting and embracing new technologies and creative problem solving.

As an individual, I think in terms of processes: identify a problem/ challenge, identify and research possible solutions using which ever tool I have at my disposal, extract relevant information and solve the problem.  Then…reflect.  Could I have done this differently?  Was my proposed solution effective?  For me digital literacy slotted right in with how I operate in my personal life…it is just the tools that differ.

ONL, for my development means more tools that I can use to solve a problem and it provides me with possible tools to reach more students.

My experiences from ONL so far has been a positive one.  Because of the many perspectives presented and the many different personalities in my group, my perception of the world around me has changed and my point of view has broadened.

For Topic1 my focus was on why people are scared to participate and how to encourage someone to participate in an online course and my research yielded the following:

  • Considering how to encourage someone to engage in something new or participate in a change of some sort starts with understanding ‘ why ‘ people feel apprehensive or resistant to do something in a different way.

The reasons people tend to resist change according to an article by Torben Rick (2011) can be summarized and applied to our scenario as follow:

  • Misunderstanding about the need for change:

From the scenario it is slightly evident that the individual does not really understand why he/she needs to do this.  Why is this so important for the learner to engage in this course?  The learner’s motivation seems ill defined.

  • Fear of the unknown and perceived lack of competence:

There is great anxiety on the part of the individual.  There is a log of unknowns for this individual such as whether his/her group members will be more experienced than him/her.  Is he/she going to be perceived as stupid.  The learner is clearly scared and feels that he/she lacks certain competencies.  The individual is also unclear as to the expectations of the course.

  • Threat to an individual’s comfort zone

Comfort zones protect us, gives us control and helps us to reduce risks and anxiety according to Allan Henry (2013).  Our learner will need to be motivated to push the boundaries of her comfort zone to achieve a level of “Optimal Anxiety”.  Normal levels of anxiety creates steady levels of performance but “Optimal Anxiety” can lead to increased levels of performance and increased productivity for our learner.  The phrase “Optimal Anxiety” was coined and developed by psychologists Rober M. Yearkes and John D. Dodson (Changeminds.org,2017).

From the aforementioned it is clear, that the learner needs to clearly define and understand his/her motivation for her need to engage in this online course and participate in this experience.  The learner will also need to realize the benefit of moving outside of his/ her comfort zone.

Henry, A. (2013). The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should). [online] Available at:http://ifehacker.com/the-science-of-breaking-out-of-your-comfort-zone-and-w-656426705 [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

Torben Rick. (2011). Top 12 reasons why people resist change – Understanding reactions to change. [online] Available at: https://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/change-management/12-reasons-why-people-resist-change/ [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

Changingminds.org. (2017). Yerkes-Dodson Law. [online] Available at: http://changingminds.org/explanations/motivation/yerkes-dodson.htm [Accessed 26 Feb. 2017].

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