Social Media is an integral part of our lives. From the moment we wake up till we hit the sack at night, most of our waking hours are spent on social media. In fact, even before sleeping, we tend to surf the net. So, pretty much the first and the last thing we do in our lives is being on social media.
Therefore, teachers and professors are incorporating social media into online learning more than ever now.
There are several advantages of online courses. However, not every online course can be carried out using social media. Plus, not every social media platform can be utilized for the same.
This write-up deals with outlining the benefits of social media for online learning. Then we will take a closer look at the various social media platforms that prove effective when it comes to online learning.
Advantages of Using Social Media for Learning
Social media allows students to connect with any academician or student in any part of the world by clicking a mouse. Let’s elaborate on the pros of it-
- Simple learning- during the pandemic one thing is clear, students can learn online. At the same time, they can explore any course online, access important information, notes and lectures. Plus, there is an opportunity to indulge in multiple courses online.
- Stay updated- with things trending on social media students can access any lectures online. They can follow multiple experts in their field of interest. Several papers are available online for any student to read and learn. They can watch lectures streaming online and even subscribe to various websites.
- A platform for talent- as an expert yourself, you can share your notes, thoughts, lectures online. This will benefit others and you will create a base of followers who will appreciate your efforts. It can be a great motivation for you and the students. If you have something valuable to share, social media is your platform.
- Exposure- by exposure we mean global exposure. You can connect with any student in any corner of the world. Exchange notes and share your knowledge. With videos and tweets going viral in a matter of seconds, you can influence millions and be the voice of change.
- Online networking- discussions on online forums are a major tool of interaction for the students these days. Their communication isn’t limited to their schoolmates. They can discuss, raise doubts, build a network and connect with students from all over the world. This has created a student community online that stays connected.
Using Social Media for Online Learning
Now that we are aware of the benefits of online learning through social media, let’s understand how to use social media for online learning. As mentioned earlier, not every course or social media platform gels together. Therefore, all the more need to understand the relation between the two and pick the best combination.
- Facebook- you must be a caveman if you do not have a Facebook account. Perhaps the best social media platform is Facebook thanks to billion-plus subscribers. You can start an online page or a group for learning. You can hold discussions, lectures, disseminate information, start classroom groups. By using hashtags, you can direct students to other links. Although Facebook is a public forum there are some privacy settings as well. Such features allow you to keep your discussion group private and let only interested parties participate.
- LinkedIn- is a more professional social media platform. Since most people connect on LinkedIn to enhance their professional skills, they are more open to connecting with others and taking an online course. Career ambitious people prove to be the best learners. In fact, you can ask them to post small write-ups about your course, thereby enhancing your credentials as well. LinkedIn offers the feature of creating a group to hold discussions.
- YouTube- it’s no brainer that visual aids help retain information better. As an educator, YouTube becomes an obvious choice when you wish to connect with students by creating learning videos and posting the same on your channel. You can even ask your students to make presentations and post the same on your channel for other students. Further, as a student, you can access any video for free. This social media platform gives you the opportunity to be a part of several learning communities and benefit from them. The best part about YouTube videos is that you can post them and share them anywhere.
- Pinterest- if you wish to brainstorm ideas and save the same with your students Pinterest is your platform. It allows you to create ‘boards’ where you can pin your ideas, opinions, and images. You can share your ideas with anyone in the world. It is perfect for making visual presentations to share your ideas. As an educator, you can start a project and have your students share and pin their ideas on it. It is actually a smooth platform for collaborating with students on a project.
- Twitter- has its limitations in the sense that Twitter is best used for advertising your course. From the learning perspective, it has limited use. You can still connect with students and encourage them to follow you. Discussions can be initiated once students comment or retweet or reply to your tweet.
- Instagram- like Twitter, Instagram has limitations too when it comes to online courses. Your students can follow you and read the comments posted by you. But all is not lost. You can still use this platform if you teach art or craft. It will help you share images and track the progress of your students via pictures. Further exploration of Instagram reveals that learning communities do exist on it. Plus, as a student, you can trend your learning journey on Instagram.
- Blogs- the last on our list is blogs. As an educator, you can write your notes or share your video regularly on it for your students to read or learn. On the other hand, students can express their ideas by writing. It is an effective way to connect with other students, educators, and bloggers.
- Skype- this one helps in taking online sessions. As an educator, you can hold group discussions, have your students share their screens to present ideas, disseminate lectures, and much more.
Social media is here to stay. It is a major part of the youth today. Technology and social media have opened whole new opportunities for online learning. Critics may find it distracting but when incorporated effectively, it is an awesome way to learn. It allows you to explore, connect, voice your opinion and in general broaden your horizon. What’s more? It ensures continuous learning for anyone.