The use of Social media in online learning is needed in education

Hello i am Oitiretse Rashidi Tshotlego from Botswana,The use of social media is very important in education as it can help students to use it online learning especially in distance education practice, many people use social media daily and again it divert the attention of learners in education. Some students end up missing tutorials and prefer to chat in social media, is time now the institution to use the platform in learning setup.


It is a good approach, but the problem is that the students spend so much time there not for the learning purpose but for other trivial things. I strongly believe that social media is a good approach as the platform is already created.

Hi Oitiretse
Thank you for sparking off the topic of social media use in education. As Naleen notes - these platforms are already there so educators should take advantage of them - especially as students are familiar with them. I wonder how many others have had experience of students being distracted by social media as opposed to making valuable use of it for digital education
kind regards

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Dear all,
At the Open University of Sri Lanka, few lecturers are successfully using social media for education. Namely Facebook and Google groups. Their students are active and it works very well. During last three years, about 3 papers were written but didn’t progress to publish as full papers as far as I know. I believe that this is a good option for mature students.

However, distraction by social media is always there.



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I believe that the problem is that there are students without mobile literacy as well as some lecturers too. OUSL is a good pace to initiate these kind of moves as there are a considerable number of students looking for connecting each other due to the fact they meet only once or twice a week where the situation is totally different to full time students. Even in University of Moratuwa i feel that there is a attitude issue where students believe the social networking is not for studies. Most of them consider social networks as a mean of providing entertainment rather than knowledge.

to share one of my experience, when I start a research on mobile learning, most of the people were in the mindset that it will be a waste of time and will end up with no results. I think we need a change of attitude with respect to Sri Lankan context, rather it may be a global issue.

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Social media online learning is good because it’s educative, help improve our learning, it give more insight information and networking

Yes, but there is a need of inspiring them and let them see those advantages. Unless they will not be able to have a positive mindset towards it.

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Welcome to the discussion Kwame Boateng - and thank you for your contribution - please feel free to share more about yourself or more ideas
kind regards

and this is so great a problem we mustn’t sweep under the carpet. Notice that it’s the reason @oitiretset opened this discussion, and the topic is expressive. Students are 100% correct that social media are not for academic work, as @cnaleen points out, but we must solve the problem of distraction before the damage reaches unmanageable level.

Very many educators have lamented he extent to which Facebook distracts students (Al-Rahmi et al., 2014, Junco & Cotten, 2012, Chen & Bryer, 2012, Dahlstrom et al., 2011, Junco, 2011, Roblyer et al., 2010, Ajjan & Hartshorne, 2008, etc). Did you know that Facebook distract students such that some computer science professors in the United States of America (USA) argued for banning use of laptop during lectures (as reported by Rockmore in 2014)? Interestingly, many educators have been working to engage students on social media (including Matzat and Vrieling (2015), Andersson et al (2014), Bugler (2014), Yang et al (2014), Megele (2014), Goodband et al (2012), Lam (2012), Willems and Bateman (2011), Bosch (2009), Reuben (2008), and Sendall et al (2008).

I think creative use of social media with learners (something similar to what @neerjasood is doing with WhatsApp) is the solution. Also, the Open University of Sri Lanka cases in the success story by @udithaw are worth understudying and copying.
Does anyone here vote for banning use of social media or any device as a solution?

can we ban the use of knives saying that it can be used to kill someone? what we have to do is to make a culture which utilizes those social media to gain and share knowledge. it may take time but unless we start it they may be not aware about those advantages.


I am using social media in addition to face to face contact sessions, practical sessions, teleconference.
It helps the students to review material, discuss assignments, share their views, clarify doubts, get additional material. If face problem in download print material then material is also shared.
Even teachers share their concerns which are address by program coordinator at university.
Feedback was also collected on various issues using Whatsapp.


I have to agree with Chris - the views expressed in this discussion have been excellent

Really admirable use of social media resources Neerja

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Welcome Uditha
and thank you for this contribution which has sparked further interesting responses
kind regards

Hi everyone, I love this topic even though I am coming in late. The use of social media is very important especially for Open and Distance Learners as they have few opportunities to interact outside of Digital technology. For my Institution for example, learners are an]ble to send in their quries, their complaints and geberal questions through social media such as whatsup and facebook. thsi I beleive helps the Institution to get feedback on how our students perceive our service and what suggestions they are making for immprovement. I support the use of Social media as it goes beyond support to the actual discussion onCourse materials.

thanks Lechani - the ready use of WhatsApp and Facebook at your university for student feedback is very valuable as you clearly point out

I will encourage all the students to take their learning serious because it doesn’t make them ignorance but will help them know what’s right and to achieve great.

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I have some reservations regarding the ‘openness’ of these platforms but I am also aware that "groups’ like in facebook and Whatsapp can be used quite effectively for collaboration by students. I feel more comfortable with the closed LMSs like moodle. I think that there can be ways for making the online courses within moodle more appealing and attractive for students. – Discussion forums, chats, wikis, quizzes, videos, and many other activities can all be provided in these closed safe online spaces.

You’re welcome @ulrick.sutherland. Your reservations about social media and thoughts on LMS are quite in order. I like to put into consideration factors at play regarding use of technology in learning and teaching. Some of them are cost, skill, friendliness of tools or familiarity of learners and teachers to tools, stability of connectivity (some tools demand high bandwidth which is absent in many areas like mine). Many learners don’t have all these.

For instance, when I discussed with some lecturers and students in the university where I work, in my volunteer project to help them use technologies, they were unanimous about Facebook. Before the choice, I told them about many technologies (including LMS) both proprietary and free/open-source, ones that are traditionally educational technologies and ones that are not but can be used (including social media). Why did they choose Facebook? Convenience, based on the factors I listed.
At the time, the university had BlackBoard LMS installed, but nobody used it until its subscription couldn’t be renewed. The university trained some lecturers who had unattended-to discouraging hiccups using the system. Students were yet to be trained. Though I was unhappy, I couldn’t intervene, because of administrative procedures, for I wasn’t in the team handling all that. I initiated the project to test informal alternative, which worked well. My training the students and then retraining the lecturers for use of the LMS was something none of my project participants was willing to participate in. All these happened before I assumed my present official role.

Question for all:
Which is better: to institutionally prescribe technologies, train learners and educators and expect (or mandate) everyone to use them, or to sensitize educators, train and allow them to choose their technologies and sensitize and train their learners? Or is there any other approach that promises best results?