No one can deny the impact social media sites have had on the everyday internet user. Using and updating Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Spotify is now everyone’s second nature. Many users view social media as a way to connect and make friends, and as a valuable marketing tool. Others view time spent on social media sites as voyeurism, and worse, a complete waste of time. However, no one can deny the potential and real-world usefulness of social media tools in e-Learning. A 2012 study by Rossafri Mohamad titled “The Effectiveness of Social Networking Applications in E-Learning” shows that social networking increases student motivation and understanding. The study also proved that the increases were not dependent on students’ computer skills- encouraging information for organizations looking to educate a wide variety of individuals and not just early technology adapters.
These 10 social media tools are ideal for an e-Learning platform: they encourage collaboration, enable user-generated content and input, facilitate both formal and informal learning, provide a way to share, and encourage engagement and performance tracking.
- Podcasts – Podcasts are a great medium for distributing content because they can be played on computers and mobile devices and appeal especially to auditory learners. They are quick and easy to record and can provide a little more hand-holding for popular support, help and learning topics.
- Blogging – An easy way for students and users to write first-hand accounts of case studies and experiments, project results, lessons learned, cultural customs and travel tips, and more.
- Facebook – An instructor can easily create an open group to share information, ideas, quizzes, questionnaires, pictures, videos and more, plus students can talk freely about any course issues or concerns.
- Webinars – An easy way to initiate face-to-face collaborations through audio, video, Power Point presentations, documents, drawing tools, screen sharing, and chat. It only takes a first-time user around 2 minutes to set up a webinar account and get started. Meetings can be archived and replayed for further learning.
- Google Collaboration Tools – Google’s collaborative learning infrastructure includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, team website creation, videos, conversation, email, IM and photo sharing, and more. Because these tools are available via a web browser, authorized users can easily share knowledge, leave feedback and generate content.
- Online Brainstorming – A great way to engage visual learners by creating mind maps and encouraging creative problem solving.
- LinkedIn – This professional network offers the advantage of quantifying users by their resume and accomplishments. Instructors and educators can engage with each other with how-to tips, recent development news, opinions and more.
- Twitter – Twitter can be used to connect learning communities or classrooms to a specific event or topic, to share updates, insights, pictures and videos. A form of microblogging, communicating across individuals is as easy as creating a #hashtag.
- YouTube – One of the most excellent resources for e-Learning, it’s free and can be used by instructors to broadcast teasers or tutorials. Students can watch the videos at their own pace, and make comments and suggestions.
- RSS Reader – A way for students to keep up to date in rapidly changing fields and topics. By aggregating new posts on web and news sites, students can save valuable time.
The use of social media tools in e-Learning cannot be underestimated, and is poised to revolutionize the way organizations and schools communicate to their users. For more information on better ways to engage your students in an ever-changing industry, contact us via our website or any of our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn!