Meet Induja.

Induja is keeping up with the coursework okay, but she doesn’t see the need to contribute to those discussion pages. She doesn’t want to say the wrong thing and have everybody see it! It’s okay, if she’s stuck, she’ll just ask Google. Or, if she really has to, reach out to the course facilitator.

But how do we know we’ve got an Isolated Induja? And, more importantly, how do we help her?

Spotting Induja in the Class Console

Induja’s been working through the course, but not really joining in. You’ll spot Indujas when you sort by comments.

Supporting Induja

Depending on your course and context, a low count (or no count) for comments may or may not be an issue. We do know that learners who don’t feel connected in an online course:

  • are less likely to reach out for help if they need it,
  • have fewer positive feelings about the course, and
  • are at a higher risk of "dropping out".

Tell Induja what’s in it for her

So… as with our other persona Rony not completing tasks, Induja might just need some gentle encouragement to join in to discussions and a little bit of what’s in it for her when she joins in.

For instance, joining in can mean more than just feeling connected, it can also support learning as they’re seeing multiple viewpoints and needing to explain ideas from the course to other novices.

Hi Induja,

I can see you’re making some good progress in the course - well done. What I have noticed though is that we’ve been missing you in the discussions. We include these discussions for you to be able to share new ideas, opinions and experiences and collaborate with others.

A lot of learning in the course, happens not just in the pages we created, but in the conversations you and your fellow learners will have. Just like in a face to face class.

All of the discussions in the course should make completing the assessment easier as well, so I do encourage you to take another look at the discussions and give them a go.

Show Induja what's in it for her

If you are able to convince Induja to contribute to a discussion, make sure you (or another learner) responds to her contribution. In your reply to Induja, give her personalised, valuable feedback and feedforward. Make any learning from the discussion explicit. This way she directly sees the benefit of contributing. She will also see that you are putting effort into discussion and so she should as well.

Scaffold Induja into discussions

Try to take some of the pressure off Induja. Instead of asking her to do her own post, you could start Induja out by just asking her to comment on something another learner has said. This might help her take the focus off worrying about what she’s said being right because she’s focused on what someone else has shared.

You could even share this range of discussion responses to help give Induja a bit of structure for her contributions to discussions.

Leveraging Induja’s strengths

Induja’s hesitancy to contribute to discussions and fear of saying the wrong thing, is related to a desire to get things right - this sometimes points towards some perfectionist tendencies. We can work with that. You could try to leverage these tendencies by setting a discussion where there is some missing or incorrect information and learners need to discuss what would be needed to make the information correct.

Induja is just one of the online learner personas we've explored in our series on the six online learners who need your help (now!).