The Use of Social Media to Facilitate Real-Time eLearning

The Use of Social Media to Facilitate Real-Time eLearning

Njoroge P. Kahenya (Africa Nazarene University, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2000-9.ch010
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The case study focused on the motivation behind usage of social media as alternative tools to the institution's eLearning program, by online classes' facilitators, at a local private university in Kenya. The case study involved 45 faculties involved in facilitating online classes. The survey applied questionnaires generated using Google docs, one of the social media tool used by the same faculty to communicate with students enrolled in the online classes. The primary reasons why facilitators used social media tools were; the learners were already using social media for non-academic purposes and therefore the need to factor in tools which students are conversant with and comfortable to use; social media tools were seen to offer a fast real-time communication; some social media tools enabled group discussions on the go; and, social media are informal tools for general instructions and guidance with regard to the course requirements.
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Theoretical Perspective

The basis for the usage of social media tools by both the learners and the facilitators is pegged on three theories. These theories are the Uses and Gratifications Theory (Katz, Blumler & Gurevitch, 1974), Control Theory (Glasser, 1990) and Technological Determinism (Mcluhan, 1962). The theories can explain the relevance of social media in eLearning. In particular the theories can explain the role of social media in communication, in the designing and implementation of course content, and also in content delivery. Social media also has a major role to play in assessment of learning outcomes as far as speed of feedback delivery is concerned.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Class: These are class conducted through the distance learning mode using eLearning platforms such as the Moodle.

eLearning (Electronic Learning): It is the learning process that focus on the distance learners and it is normally conducted through electronic gadgets and platforms.

Social Media Tools: These are social networking sites and applications such Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Short Messages Service (SMS), Twitter, Google docs, blogs, YouTube among others.

ELearning Programs: These are the students’ portal and the specifically the Moodle.

Facilitator: Facilitator also referred to as tutor or faculty. It is a faculty responsible with facilitating online classes.

Data Bundles: Internet service providers normally sell their data for browsing the Internet in specific bundles. For example 1GB of data is sold at a particular price.

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