The presence of Social Media in e-learning10 min read
Social media has become an indispensable part of modern life. Many of our social lives have taken place online rather than in the “real world”. In today's fast-changing environment and fast-paced lifestyle, technology has kept us updated and made daily activities more enjoyable and productive, trade and commerce more smoothly; and communicate more easily despite the distance.
Along with the information sharing revolution, technology has also influenced the educational process. Online courses are offered, allowing those interested to learn even outside the confines of a classroom and without the full supervision of a professor. Thanks to modern technology it has become easier to learn, as well as in many other respects, giving it the infamous prefix “e-” to denote its inclusion in the list of all things Internetized.
Social media platforms are considered a good way to share ideas and transfer information, based on a favorable environment for distribution through the “Share” button. Let us take a closer look at how social media can be used in the dissemination of information and the learning process.
The rise of social networking in the classroom isn't about how many people “like” your posts. The collaborative environment and open forums that social media encourages, along with the rapid information sharing it facilitates, means that students can accelerate the development of the creative process, think critically and communicate in certain ways when they use it.
Social media promotes self-directed learning, which helps students actively seek answers and make independent decisions for themselves. These social media skills can be directed and refined when reinforced in a classroom setting to produce better learning outcomes and critical perception. Social media also allows students more freedom to connect and collaborate beyond the physical classroom. It means that students anywhere can start experiencing a globally connected world long before entering the workforce.
Social media provides a tool for more seamless, online communication between students, teachers and parents, who can check and answer questions. Social media also allows for more e-learning opportunities. As remote work and online classes become more and more popular, training students to work remotely is an important lesson, and social media can help with that. It is essential to understand the impact of social media on education before using it, but we firmly believe that it will help students progress in the field of technology.
E-learning offers many ways to communicate through social media to engage students. Fanpages, forums, chat groups or hashtags are intended to push posts with course-related content to students, thereby helping to build a sense of community in the classroom. Online communities and study groups provide much-needed support to learners and ensure that they feel encouraged and motivated. Social media platforms, audio and video lessons, chat rooms, instant messaging, broadcast text messaging, and homepage announcements engage users on social networks. Additionally, on-screen explainer videos are becoming increasingly accessible and inexpensive to create and provide yet another channel for communication.
Currently, badges, logos, and leaderboards are often thought of as collectibles, interactive top races, and loyalty rewards. Badges are visual rewards earned as learners progress in a course or curriculum. They help show progress and make incremental learning more visible. Whenever possible, provide a place where learners can prominently display the badge to take advantage of the learning chemistry gamification.
Convenience and extensibility
Collaborative learning through social media allows employees to work together, learning more abundantly through interaction with others. And with social media, learning can happen in an intimate setting, anytime from anywhere. Social media can help encourage the exchange of ideas and knowledge and support collaborative work, all while organically and easily edited by users themselves — without the expensive expert input.
Think about every digital technology you use. Everything is personalized – some even use your name – and boasts different customization options from your browser to your email, social networks, and streaming devices. In e-learning, personalization can affect the learning environment, such as font sizes, colours, backgrounds and themes, audio, video, text and graphics. Facilitators support students and learn content with games, quizzes, online discussions, adaptive learning approaches, tutorials, and more.
Organizations should now actively seek to leverage social media communities to enhance education and learning. Because by creating an open or closed group for courses, uploading course content, assignments and tests, sharing relevant links and encouraging discussions and collaborations online, you'll meet your learners exactly where they are – and where they want to be.
6 Social Media Tools Ideal for e-Learning
Facebook's main advantage over other social media platforms is that it is the most widely used, with more than two billion daily users. It's no surprise that Facebook is home to many communities, fostering virtual connections. Therefore, it has considerable potential for e-learning. It's a social network with billions of users, storing detailed statistics about their interests, hobbies, friends, social status, income and other similar data.
Besides, e-learning content can benefit from a longer Facebook post. It's also a handy way to create an online community based on specific courses you offer or for your eLearning business as a whole. For course-related feedback and collaboration, you can also use it, but it's probably better to use your LMS's built-in forum function (if available) so this content stays in your control in the long run.
Last but not least is the application platform. This allows you to create web-based applications embedded in Facebook and even monetize them. This can and has been used for e-learning, including some super e-learning platforms. However, as with any proprietary platform, you have to think about whether the trade-off of giving up control is worth the extras the platform offers.
The world's largest video archive, a genuine social network in its own right, is just a social network that doesn't use text but uses video as a starting point. The key ingredient is everything: your uploaded content is widely shared on the Internet, then it is possible to view it, “like” or “hate” it, add comments, post “reaction videos”, reply”, annotate it, share and subscribe to your channel. Compared to Twitter, using YouTube for Online Learning is simpler.
Many YouTube channels are doing just that, for example, offering foreign language lessons, cooking lessons, music lessons, and everything related. This works excellent for visually teachable material, but YouTube doesn't make it easy to accompany your videos with text, slideshows, quizzes, and more. To do this, you will need an actual LMS platform.
YouTube's greatest strength as an online learning resource is that it's a free and easily accessible video archive. Videos intended for educational purposes are believed to have various pedagogical benefits, including improving thinking through visual clues, enhancing learning proficiency, and increasing student engagement. Instructors can easily select a video talk on a related topic to share with their class to make the lesson more fun and interesting. They can also upload their video content and create YouTube playlists depending on the subject.
Better use YouTube as a supplement to your existing LMS portal, one that offers free or ad-sponsored trailers, lessons, and free previews to engage people to subscribe to your paid content.
Twitter's biggest draw is its significant limitation: you have to include your content at 140 characters.
This limitation makes it difficult to use Twitter for E-Learning in general. Even if your content may somehow be relevant, Twitter still encourages quick tweet consumption, so it's not the best place for a profound learning experience. There's also the fact that Twitter offers several mechanisms for saving, cataloguing, and viewing tweets later, in addition to pretty flexible hashtags; it's more like a stream of messages than a store of content.
On the other hand, the 140-character limit makes Twitter a helpful platform for micro-learning. Especially combined with the abundance of mobile applications, it allows you to use Twitter as a mechanism for delivering short eLearning content (flashcards or reminders of short lessons). Besides using Twitter for e-learning distribution, you can also use it as an additional tool to your main e-learning platform. It excels in real-time feedback and discussion and as a marketing tool for your e-learning service and to promote new courses and content.
Twitter is also very popular with young people. If your e-learning content is primarily targeted at them, it makes Twitter ideal for connecting with your desired audience.
Instagram is like Twitter, but its limitation is all about visual content. Images or videos are only 15 seconds long. Based on pictures and with news feeds more tailored to user interests, Instagram can be an odd choice for educators. Your learners may follow you, but they'll most likely see your posts in the streams of other people they follow. And while they may like and comment on your posts, sharing those posts on Instagram — to individuals or groups — may repost your messages on several social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and others, including the hugely popular Chinese Weibo). So, you can use it as a convenient way to crosspost your content to different audiences.
The app is popular with the younger demographic and is photography and video-based, quite fun to use. You can take advantage of this by incorporating it in your exercises as a light research tool (ask your learners to collect images related to what they are studying.
Pinterest's search engine can provide thousands of educational materials, from infographics to ways your students can use as learning supplements. Infographics cut down information into small-sized data for easier mental digestion and better memory recall. Instruction or how-tos can serve as the practical component of the abstract and theory, allowing learners to experience what they have learned in real life.
Pinterest boards help organize the educational resources you find online. Instead of wasting time keeping track of your visited websites and saving bookmarked web pages in your browser toolbar, all you have to do is pin them to a table containing all relevant data for a particular category. These Pinterest boards are also shareable, so encourage your students to share them with others.
Unlike the rest of the group, this social network is all about your professional life. After all, it started as a highly regarded resume page that recruiters and HR teams can use to find potential hires. As such, using it as an e-learning tool may not be great, but it can be of great benefit to your students. For example, if you're in the business of providing professional training, you're primarily serving people who want to up their skills to improve their employability and get better jobs.
These are exactly the people who will benefit most from a well-built LinkedIn profile, but you'd be surprised how many of them don't have or have a neglected, incomplete profile. Teaching your students how to create the perfect profile and leverage LinkedIn can make a huge difference in their professional lives after they complete your courses – which increases the rates they recommend your e-learning to others and come back for more.
If your lessons aim at people looking for work, you shouldn't just hand it over to LinkedIn. Still, you should organize a class to teach them how to make a good CV, prepare for an interview, and the like, where LinkedIn and online reputation management should generally be a core part. And suppose you offer courses in business administration and management. In that case, LinkedIn user posts are full of information from big players and longtime business people that you can point out to students.
Social media is becoming an increasingly popular medium for online educators. However, if the options above seem overwhelming (and they can be), remember that you don't have to use any of them. Or, if you want to use them, they don't need to be a core part of your course.
Social media works best as a complement to your course—a way to connect with learners outside of the pre-developed aspects of your course. These interactions help learners stay engaged and provide another way of relating to you. But don't necessarily force them to join your course if they don't make sense or if you don't want to manage another communication platform.
If you are confused about the presence of social media in e-learning, contact Groove Technology for further support.