If we asked you about the greatest disadvantage of online learning, how would you answer? It’s the lack of interaction between the learner and some kind of community.
In a classroom, the student collaborates with others on different projects. They ask questions and interact with the professor. They can chat with their classmates. Even if the chat is irrelevant, it makes their time in the classroom more bearable.
Back in 2012, Mark Edmusson, a professor at the University of Virginia, published an opinion piece that got really popular. In his opinion, online education created a monologue rather than a dialogue.
A social learning network is a real solution to a real problem. Let’s see how that makes sense.
How Teachers Use Social Media for Learning
Teachers at all levels use social media tools to connect with their students. Here are only a few of the methods they implement:
- They create private Facebook groups, which the students can join. If someone doesn’t use social media or doesn’t want to be part of the group, they don’t have to. These groups serve for sharing information, quizzes, ideas, videos, and all kinds of learning materials. They also serve as discussion points. Anyone can ask a question and anyone can join the discussion.
- LinkedIn also allows its members to join groups. This is useful for corporate learning, and it works in the same way as a Facebook group works for younger students.
- YouTube is considered a social media network, too. It’s full of educational videos, which the teachers recommend and the students watch in their free time. Many educators show these videos in the classroom.
Is this enough? No. We want to extend the use of social media into the area of e-learning.
Can Social Media Learning Exist as a Standalone Concept?
Yes, it can, and that’s where the future of learning is heading to.
Let’s talk about the LearnMate WordPress theme, which perfectly explains the concept. When you develop online courses through this theme, you’re not offering a monologue to the learners. You’ll offering a collaboration hub.
The learning process is based on conversations. Of course, the video lectures are still present. However, it’s the discussion that drives the process, and all learners are invited to join. Through these discussions, the learners can ask questions and the educator can respond. But other learners can conduct online research inspired by those questions, so they will share and discuss resources. That kind of collaboration is much more effective than the one that occurs in a traditional classroom, don’t you think?
The course developer can add all important questions in the Questions Bank, so the learners can find answers without the need to start a new discussion thread.
This format of collaborative online learning is effective, since it adds the element of healthy competition. When the learners see that others are motivated and make progress through the lectures, they will be inspired to do the same.
Collaboration is also essential for writing projects. We all know that students tend to order their papers from https://edubirdie.net because they don’t know how to approach the research and writing process. It’s a common reason for dropping out of an online course or failing a campus-based one.
When they pair with other learners, they collaborate through all steps and support each other. Teamwork makes academic research and writing much easier. By adding the social network element into online courses, the developers can greatly decrease dropout rates.
Why Is Socializing Important, Anyway?
The role of social media is perfectly clear: it contributes towards greater socialization. But why should we take education in that direction? Shouldn’t studying be a solitary process?
Infusing social networks in the learning process keeps the students informed all the time. They learn from the updates that others post. If they get stuck in the middle of the learning or writing process, they can ask. They can directly connect with the educator, so they won’t even feel the negative sides of distance learning.
The method works for corporate learning, too. Research shows that 70% of workers turn to their colleagues or members of their personal professional network when they try to solve a problem. It will be easy for them to do that when the eLearning platform offers tools that directly connect them with other learners.
[idea]Top 5 Social Learning Strategies You Must Apply On Your eLearning Website[/idea]
How Will the Future of Learning Look Like?
The future of education is in the eLearning concept. By 2022, the industry is expected to reach $243 billion! We’ll be seeing more students opting for online-based courses, and more employees turning to online learning with the intention to progress in their career.
The social media element can enhance online learning processes. It fixes the flaw of instruction-based learning. It transforms the model through collaboration, discussions, and a lot of communication between the learners and the educator, as well as within the learning community.
Elizabeth Skinner is an avid online learner and an aspiring course developer. Her intention is to get everyone interested in knowing more. The Internet gives us so many opportunities to grow that it would be a shame to ignore them.