This article highlights the role of social media in facilitating learning, identifies the potential negative aspects of social media use, and points out the gaps that Tianmei's World Academy (TMWA), the world’s first decentralized networks of classroom school concept, fills in this area.
The deregulation of the education sector worldwide has put a lot of pressure in creating more nurturing learning environments, especially during the lockdowns of the Covid19 period, when it was almost impossible for people to continue with face to face interaction and were forced to move all learning activities on online platforms. As a result, the use of social media platforms has seen a steady increase. This essay focuses on the role of social media role in contributing to the creation of a nurturing learning environment, as well as the threats that it poses in this respect.
Literature on social media and e-learning environment
The educational sector is gaining heavy push with new entrance of institutions into the sector due to change in people's attitude towards education and the changing scope for students'engagement in different courses as a result of Covid19 pandamic. This paradigm shift is partly influenced by the social media (Davis et al., 2015). Similarly, the majority of the players in the academic sector have restructured their services to online classes or various forms of e-platforms. Therefore, the online plaforms and social media have brought educational services to our doorsteps allowing for the transfer of knowledge from educators to students virtually. Given its’ format, it can be described as a high contact, consumer and people-based service (Gibbs and Maringe, 2008)
This aspect is extremely important considering the number of the global population that partakes in online social networks — e.g. Facebook has 2.80 billion monthly active users (Facebook, 2021), with 1.84 billion users visiting it every day. A survey by Lenhart et al. (2010) concluded that 37 per cent of adult-youth use a microblogging service like Twitter, and 70 per cent of young adults participate on one or more social networking sites like LinkedIn, Instagram etc. A similar study found that more than 36,000 students use at least one social networking site daily (Smith and Caruso, 2010).
The presence on social media is extremely important for the education sector. A study by Hayes, Ruschman, and Walker (2009) found a significant relationship between those who logged onto the social network and the likelihood of applying the knowledge gained to their studies. Also, the use of reports and reviews from users of social media platforms can help in providing feedback to the academic sector.
Tianmei's World Academy (TMWA) as the world first decentralized "network of classrooms” school concept is using environmental psychology knowledge to redefine where, when and how learning takes place by turning any available space into an alternative learning environment. It does so by identifying the exact elements that contribute to creating a nurturing learning environment and replicating it everywhere. Through this approach TMWA aims to maximize the increasing use of online knowledge through a global network, but creating local learning environments beyond geographical and financial barriers.
With the high rate of social media usage among internet users, particularly among the youth, Tianmei's World Academy aims to make use of global knowledge, but support each and every individual to discover what is most suitable for the self beyond a one-size-fits-all approach.
Just as the social media platforms provide opportunities that aid learning environments for intellectual interaction amongst students, it also comes with some dangers and threats, especially where there is no strong policy in place to control the unfriendly and unhealthy posting of material (Alwagait, Shahzad and Alim, 2015). There are material resouces on social media and e-platforms that could pose threat to learning attitudes (Linvill, 2019), in general. By making available more knowledge on how learning happens and how different elements of the environment influence learning outcome and mindset formation, Tianmei's World Academy (TMWA) aims to mitigate the risks posed by the social medial platforms, while still providing learning opportunities. At the same time, it also aims to contribute to the creation of a positive e-learning environment through posting positive quotes and other materials promoting personal growth, instead of chasing sensational titles to increase fellowship.
This article has shown that social media plays an impactful role on the educational sector by creating high-level interactivity among learners, especially during the Covid19 pandemic lockdowns. The social media and e-platforms have changed the frontiers of education, but without proper use, they can also pose threats to learning.
Alwagait, E., Shahzad, B. and Alim, S., (2015.) Impact of social media usage on students academic performance in Saudi Arabia. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, pp.1092-1097.
Abbas, J., Aman, J., Nurunnabi, M. and Bano, S., (2019.) The impact of social media on learning behaviour for sustainable education: Evidence of students from selected universities in Pakistan. Sustainability, 11(6), p.1683.
Akram, W. and Kumar, R., (2017.) A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society. International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, 5(10), pp.347-354.
Crittenden, V. and Crittenden, W., 2015. Digital and social media marketing in business education: Implications for the marketing curriculum.
Davis III, C. H., Deil-Amen, R., Rios-Aguilar, C., & González Canché, M. S. (2015). Social media, higher education, and community colleges: A research synthesis and implications for the study of two-year institutions. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 39(5), 409-422.
Facebook (2021) Facebook news. Available online: https://investor.fb.com/home/default.aspx accessed on 10 June 2021.
Hayes, T.J., Ruschman, D. and Walker, M.M., (2009.) Social networking as an admission tool: A case study in success. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 19(2), pp.109-124.
Könings, K.D., Brand-Gruwel, S., van Merriënboer, J.J. and Broers, N.J., (2008.) Does a new learning environment come up to students' expectations? A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(3), p.535.
Kalenskaya, N., Gafurov, I., & Novenkova, A. (2013). Marketing of educational services: Research on service providers satisfaction. Procedia economics and finance, 5, 368-376.
Maringe, F., & Gibbs, P. (2008). Marketing higher education: Theory and practice. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social Media & Mobile Internet Use among Teens and Young Adults. Millennials. Pew internet & American life project.
Linvill, D.L., (2019) Addressing social media dangers within and beyond the college campus. Communication Education, 68(3), pp.371-380.
Tuten, T., & Marks, M. (2012). The adoption of social media as educational technology among marketing educators. Marketing Education Review, 22(3), 201-214.
Van Belleghem, S., Eenhuizen, M., & Veris, E. (2011). Social media around the world 2011. InSites Consulting.
Smith, S.D. and Caruso, J.B., (2010.) The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2010. Key Findings. EDUCAUSE.
Article produced by: Binta Mide.
Marketing Assistant: Tianmei's World Academy China
Edited by: Adina
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