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Are you a risk-taker?

This week’s #etmooc sessions have led me down the path of diffusion of innovation theories and I have started to collect together some interesting research sources. I want to explore if and how crossing the chasm can be expedited. However, it will take me a little while to gather my thoughts around this. In the meantime, I am interested in identifying differences in personality traits between the groups.


As I consider myself to be a (resourceless) innovator, I find it frustrating listening to objections from those further behind in the cycle. For instance, yesterday I went to a day school as part of my masters programme (in multimedia and elearning). One of my peers, who I respect, is an educator for the clergy. He once again pointed out to me the ‘dangers of online interactions’, explaining that recent disciplinary hearings have all been about inappropriate behaviour on social networks. I was reluctant to argue face to face that perhaps this was a reflection of the profession rather than the technology. I would also venture to suggest that one of the affordances of the internet is that these behaviours may be outed sooner than was otherwise possible. But, presumably laggards and the late majority would take some persuading to agree to this argument.

I am not naive to the fact that there are potential problems when using the internet. However, even though I am innately curious and certainly not averse to taking a risk, I wonder why I seem to be instinctively aware of the dangers. For instance, how did I know, without giving it too much thought, not to click on this link. picture of you (2) Incidentally, I am also amazed that anyone every thought that sitting on this guy’s knee might be a good idea. But lots of children did, and with the encouragement of those in authority, including parents.


Does this instinctive awareness mean that I am more willing to try out new ideas because I know i won’t get my fingers burnt (give or take a few sleepless nights)?

How did I learn to know when to be cautious?

Is it something that can be taught?


2 thoughts on “Are you a risk-taker?

  1. You raise some interesting points about risk-taking and the link with innovative behaviours here Deborah (Deb?). In your final questions you rightly ask whether the ability to assess risk (in a digital world) can taught and/or how it might be learned. I guess whilst some of the aspects of being active in an online world can be taught, teaching about assessing the potential risk associated with a particular activity is a much more complex thing. Perhaps this is (like climbing a tree) can only be gained through experience … which of course begs the question, if you choose not to be particularly active, how do you ever gain the experience? And what are the consequences then?

    1. Thanks for your comments, Ian. These early reflections were provoked by last week’s sessions with Doug Belshaw and Will Richardson. One of Doug’s 8 elements of digial literacies is confidence. However, in the chat window I suggested that confidence online involves taking risks, and whether that can be taught and I was argued against. I really need to look at the archive again to reviews the conversation. I find it difficult to follow the thread in those chat sessions!

      In Will Richardson’s session, he suggested that it was up to early adopters to convince others. But I think that in some instances the skill/experience/confidence gap is too wide. For instance, although I love to share my passion for technology I think that sometimes I am the wrong person; and it is better if the skills/knowledge are shared between people closer together on the diffusion bell curve.

      The Riskit programme you are involved with and the Scrollwheel video you shared are both very relevant and so I am very pleased you took the time to comment here. As I’ve mentioned in the post I do want to explore these ideas further.


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