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'In computer-based education, each student can learn at his/her own pace.
This is a good thing, because there is no worry that some students might fall behind others
and develop [ a sense of ] inferiority complex.'

In this example, is 'a sense of' necessary?
Is there any difference in meaning between 'develop a sense of inferiority complex' and 'develop inferiority complex'?
Comments  
In fact, I think the writer got confused mid-sentence between the two phrases, a sense of inferiority and an inferiority complex, and ended up melding the two.

Please feel free to disentangle them and use either.
Given the following definition, the phrase, 'a sense of' is...non-sensical:

inferiority complex

n. A persistent sense of inadequacy or a tendency to self-diminishment, sometimes resulting in excessive aggressiveness through overcompensation.

So, it translates as, 'a sense of a sense of inadequacy'.

The sentence has other problems. Maybe it should be simply written this way:

This is a good thing, because students won't tend to feel inferior if they fall behind others.



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You want "develop a sense of inferiority"
or "develop an inferiority complex";
not "develop a sense of inferiority complex"
nor "develop inferiority complex".

CJ
To me, the term 'inferiority complex' is much too clinical for the context.
...The sentence has other problems....
For instance, I'd be interested to know how 'working at your own pace' can stop you 'falling behind'...

MrP
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"working at your own pace" implies that your rate of progress is not measured against the rate of progress of others also completing the same program of study. When there is no time limit to accomplishing a task, and when no comparison is ever made to the progress of others who began at the same time, the student can't ever be behind (nor ahead of) the others. Nevertheless, if the student sets for himself a certain time goal such as to finish the whole course in two months, I suppose that having waited until Day 58 to begin (of the 60) would place that student considerably "behind" -- but behind in terms of his own goals, not in terms of what other students have accomplished.
That said, technically, self-paced learning cannot actually stop you from falling behind, of course, because the concept of falling behind doesn't even exist in that learning model. To stop you from falling behind is to do what is impossible logically, or at least what is logically undefined. I imagine that's the little quirk in logic you may have been focusing on, Mr. P. Yes?

CJ