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    How Does Social Media Facilitate Formal Learning?

    We live in a highly-connected world. From updating our ‘friends’ regularly on Facebook about the latest movie we saw, some of the most happening places we visited, uploading pictures of our vacation and making them slightly envious to uploading even the minutest details of our lives on Instagram and Snapchat, the concept of ‘personal space’ has gotten blurred. Thanks to the thriving power of social media that has had a significant impact on us and the way we function and process things. 

    The frenziness that has taken a toll on everyone today due to the presence of social media is highly undeniable. All this while when you’ve been engrossed in peering into others’ personal lives or we must say, maintaining social contact, did you ever realize there is much more to it?

    Well, yes there is. If we refer to the 2012 study titled “The Effectiveness of Social Networking Applications in E-Learning” by Rosaffri Mohamad, we conclude that social networking increases student motivation and understanding. 

    That being said, we must understand that social media has also revolutionized the way people consume information today and that it plays a crucial role in the online learning sphere. Most educational institutions, course designers, teachers, and even organizations have started to rely on social media platforms to disseminate information and educational material, incorporating them in various e-learning courses and training programs. 

    So, let’s jump directly into learning how social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Youtube, and others alike facilitate formal learning. 

    How can social media be used for learning?

    The potential and value of social media in e-learning is immense. Have a look below at how they have endless possibilities on offer when it comes to formal learning. 

    Facebook

    With over 2.45 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide. Referring to this, you can easily imagine the humongous possibilities it extends to everyone and its widespread reach which makes it a great tool for marketers. 

    When we talk about its role in e-learning, Facebook groups are what instantaneously strikes our mind. It facilitates easy collaboration between learners and trainers over different groups wherein they can share course-related information, ideas if any, and much more. 

    Some of the various ways in which you can take advantage of this social media platform as an instructor are: 

    1. Create closed and open groups to interact and bond with students
    2. Create polls to get feedback about a course or training program you’re thinking to implement
    3. Upload course contents for easy access to students
    4. Create questionnaires to know what topics your students are actually interested to study and prepare your course material around it
    5. Do make use of images, videos, presentations, private messaging, and other such features to make learning fun and interesting

    Twitter

    Expressing oneself in 140 characters, slightly hard, isn’t it? But, it is the trend today! No one, literally no person today has the time or rather wants to read something which is too lengthy. After being inspired by the concept of Microlearning, Twitter decided to promote micro-sized content. 

    In the case of e-learning, course owners make sure they include bite-sized content even if it involves taking assistance from any of the top eLearning content providers for microlearning.  

    With Twitter, students can easily connect over a particular topic, upload related pictures, share meaningful highlights, etc. The different ways in which an instructor can best utilize this channel are: 

    1. Post regularly on different topics and keep your learners engaged
    2. Create hashtags which are retweetable
    3. Create regular chat events
    4. Encourage learners to like, comment, and retweet the provided information
    5. Follow subject matter experts and other relevant personas in order to gain more knowledge

    LinkedIn

    As the world’s largest professional networking site, LinkedIn boasts of more than 610 million members. The numbers are evidenced enough of the social platform’s indispensability. 

    Although a professional network, LinkedIn proves to be extremely advantageous in the e-learning sphere too. Instructors can exploit the tool to its highest potential by different means and these include:

    1. Be a part of various discussions and groups on the platforms
    2. Encourage learners to participate in those discussions
    3. Share course material, how-to tips, latest trends and developments with learners

    YouTube

    YouTube is one of the leading video sharing platforms of today. It dominates almost every industry, even e-learning. Wondering how?

    Instructors can create videos related to different topics and upload them on the platform for easy access by learners. This not only supports a class but also is one of the best resources to be referred to later by learners in case of any queries. They can upload teasers for attracting the attention of learners towards a course and upload tutorials for in-depth learning. 

    Google Plus

    You really doubt Google Plus’ capabilities to facilitate learning, don’t you?

    Well, let us clear all your misunderstandings. 

    For a long time, learners have been relying on Google Plus communities for their learning. And, one of the main reasons for this is less distraction in comparison to other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter. 

    “The ability of G+ to host communities with video embeds, comments plus Google hangouts surely makes it the strongest social media platform for e-learning.”, says Steve Rayson

    The Epilogue

    Social media has come a long way. Long gone are the days when it was just known to be a medium used for personal contact and socializing. Today, it is one of the most preferred tools for facilitating learning, both formal and informal. 

    Every social media platform serves learners in its own way and it is up to them to choose where they’d like to consume information. Apart from Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, and Twitter, there are other social media tools too which can be used for e-learning. These are podcasts, blogging, online brainstorming, webinars, RSS reader, and others alike. 

    So, now that you’re aware of the innumerable possibilities social media has to offer in the e-learning landscape, why not start implementing them today? Take the plunge and do let us know how you incorporated social media into your e-learning strategy. 

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    How Does Social Media Facilitate Formal Learning? 2
    Vaibhav Jain
    Vaibhav is a specialist in Website Development whose goal is to never write a boring article. His enthusiasm for online business has spanned over two years, accompanying his articles with thorough knowledge about Website Development and many other topics. He also enjoys playing Cricket and is a Fitness enthusiast.
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