What Is The Role Of Social Media In eLearning?
In this blog, I will share the best ways to use social media in eLearning. I will also cover the importance of social media in the ever-growing world of online learning and walk you through the best ways in which course creators can leverage different social media platforms.
Despite the physical distance, Facebook and Instagram have brought people closer than they have ever been before. Recently, the use of social media has become immensely popular in the education industry. It allows learners and instructors to connect outside the formal learning environment, share ideas, create peer groups to share their opinions regarding the course, or discuss content and activities. eLearning professionals are starting to rely heavily on social media platforms to share supplementary course materials, promote learning practices, and respond to learners’ comments. Additionally, social media presents an easy and quick way for learners to connect with course instructors, ask questions, and clear doubts.
Why Is It Important To Use Social Media In eLearning Courses?
Almost every modern-day learner has a digital presence today. These learners are highly familiar with the ins and outs of social media platforms and are habitual of consuming information online. So, embracing social media and incorporating its features into the teaching and learning processes can have a positive impact on the learners.
Instructors can provide video lectures, and quizzes, tag learners, and have them participate in group discussions. In this way, learners will not only gain knowledge in an interesting and engaging way but will also get the flexibility to learn from wherever they want and whenever they want.
Here are some of the top reasons why using social media in eLearning has become extremely important today:
1. It Gives Learners A Sense Of Community And Belongingness
Being connected with like-minded people gives a sense of comfort and belongingness. Creating a Facebook group creates a community to help learners get to know their peers and share their thoughts and ideas. It also helps the course facilitator better understand the needs and answer any questions learners may have about the course.
The presence of online communities and study groups provide essential support to the learners and ensure that they feel encouraged and motivated. In the absence of face-to-face contact with their peers, it is easy for learners to fall behind or feel a lack of enthusiasm. Social media effectively deals with all these situations by making it possible for learners to have a strong network of support and maintain a healthy interaction with others.
2. Social Media Is The Fastest Way To Contact People Or Share Crucial Information
Another important reason to leverage social media in eLearning is that it provides you with a quick and easy way to contact people. For example, if you want to share an update regarding the upcoming lesson, you can create a Facebook post or Instagram story about it. And just like that, it will reach all your learners within minutes. In addition, Facebook live and Instagram live allow instructors to share content, educational videos, and material with learners in real-time, as well as respond to questions instantly.
3. It Can Help You Make Your Approach More Student-Centric
Interactions on social media are flexible. Learners can ask questions and present challenges to both the instructors and other learners who take the course. Therefore, anyone who knows the answer can jump in and answer the question or present a unique idea. In some instances, having the ability to interact in a Facebook group is even better than having a live instructor. In the classroom setting, there is only a certain amount of time allotted for answering questions but asking questions on Facebook offers more flexibility and does not have such time limits.
4. Social Media Is Easily Accessible
Another reason why social media can be beneficial for eLearning is the fact that it is easily accessible on smartphones, PCs, and tablets, thereby making it convenient for instructors to respond to the queries of the learners at their convenience and without needing to log into a specific platform. All they need to do is set up notifications! This is also true for learners as they can see the comments of everyone else taking the course and glean important insights from other people’s ideas. This improves the overall interaction between learners and instructors.
How Can Instructional Designers Leverage Different Types Of Social Media In eLearning?
Currently, we have a wide range of different types of social media platforms meant for different purposes. While Instagram is mostly focused on sharing pictures and short videos, Twitter allows users to share their thoughts in just 140 characters. YouTube is a video-centric platform, while Facebook is dedicated to bringing people together and allowing them to seamlessly connect with others they know.
Therefore, before you start using these platforms for eLearning, it is important to understand their core functioning. This will help you provide great value to your learners and save your time, as an instructional designer and/or course facilitator.
Let’s look at the most popular social media platforms and the best ways to leverage them in eLearning:
Facebook is the largest and most widely used social media platform in the world. It has over a billion daily active users.
Here are some of the best ways you can use Facebook to enhance eLearning:
- You can create an open or closed Facebook group for your classes and share course content, assignments, quizzes, etc., with the group members.
- If you don’t want to create a group, you can create a course page to share educational materials. You can even promote and market your upcoming courses on your Facebook page.
- Learners can use Facebook Messenger to personally contact you and ask questions or clarification.
- Facebook allows you to share video content so you can share bite-sized and engaging videos with the learners.
- You can encourage the learners to participate in group discussions by sharing compelling questions, articles, and images.
- To make eLearning on Facebook more interesting, you can conduct Facebook contests.
Instagram is another cool kid in the world of social media. The platform is experiencing a massive surge in its popularity. People, especially the younger generation, love Instagram and everything that it offers.
Here are some of the tips and tricks to effectively leverage Instagram in eLearning.
- If you teach some kind of craft like filmmaking, painting, video editing, graphics design, etc., you can create an Instagram page for it. There, you can share the progress of your learners through posts, stories, and reels. It is a great way to showcase their talent and motivate them to do even better.
- You can also use your Instagram page to share course-related updates and important announcements.
- Moreover, you can do Instagram giveaways for your learners, conduct fun challenges and competitions, and share interesting facts and stories.
YouTube is the favorite social network of most online educators. This is because it allows them to create high-quality videos and share them with the learners quickly and easily. So, if you want to share extensive course videos with your learners, or if you like to share supplementary video content, YouTube should be your first choice. A great thing about YouTube is that it allows you to post videos almost anywhere. You can pin them, share them on Facebook or Instagram, or even tweet them. Your learners can do the same too. So, you can encourage them to record a presentation on their subject and share it with you. You can then post their videos on your YouTube channel. This will help them enhance their understanding of the content and boost their confidence.
LinkedIn is a completely professional social networking site. Instead of sharing pictures of their pets or having personal conversations, people usually use LinkedIn for their career-related and professional activities, which makes LinkedIn a great choice for eLearning. You can encourage your learners to publish weekly articles and posts about what they are learning on LinkedIn. Ask them to share the feedback and comments they have received on their articles with the class. LinkedIn also has the feature of groups. These groups allow professionals in the same industry to come together and share their insights and experiences, seek guidance, and develop meaningful connections. You can create an eLearning group specifically for your course and share your articles, videos, or supplementary materials regularly with the learners.
Pinterest is a social network solely dedicated to pictures. A unique feature of this platform is the “board” to organize the content. Users can create boards around a theme and then “pin” relevant images to it. These boards can be easily shared with others.
So, if you want to create engaging infographics and vision boards for your learners, then Pinterest would be perfect for you! Create a Pinterest board dedicated to your course or a particular topic of your course, and add relevant images, graphs, charts, or bite-sized infographics to it. In addition to providing valuable information in a visually appealing format, you would also be able to keep all the content related to one topic in a single place.
The Bottom Line
If used in the right way, social media can act as the best companion for your eLearning course as it provides you with endless possibilities and opportunities to improve your eLearning, and allows you to make learning more fun and engaging. It also helps you connect with your learners outside the formal learning environment and provide them with a more flexible and friendly learning approach.
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