Social media has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, so surely it seems logical for organisations to implement these powerful and influential tools into their business strategy as a main ingredient for eLearning and development?

 

According to a 2015 study conducted by oursocialtimes.com;

Gen Y’s spend on average 2 hours a day on their smartphone and use 6 apps per day. They will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and while individual social networks may fluctuate from one year to the next, the reality is that we live and breathe social media and it is here to stay.

Here are some thoughts on the world’s most widely used social media channels and their appropriateness as a vehicle for eLearning.

 

Facebook Icon

Pros:

  • Polls and surveys give users the opportunity to provide valuable feedback on eLearning courses.
  • Creation of Facebook groups allow users to join interest niches and collaborate on topics with like-minded individuals.
  • Facebook gives users the ability to share course materials including links and videos. This automatically creates a useful resource hub for users to access as and when they require.
  • The app platform enables the creation of web-based applications embedded in Facebook.

Cons:

  • The main limitation with Facebook is the ability of the course leader to lose control of discussions.
  • There may be issues around security especially when information is being shared between users.
  • It can be distracting for the learner as they may get side-tracked by other information.
  • Lack of valuable reporting available such as feedback and performance reports.

It is important to ensure that a clear policy is implemented and that the rules are understood and adhered to by all users.

 

twitter for eLearning

Pros:

  • The character limit allows content creators to provide bite size chunks of information to users who may require learning content quickly and in short frequent bursts.
  • Supporting the main LMS platform, Twitter can offer real-time discussion and feedback.
  • eLearning courses can be promoted on the platform through advertisements and tweets.
  • The use of hashtags encourage discussions allowing users to identify trending topics.
  • Custom Twitter lists can be created detailing course user information. Appropriate course materials and content can then be pushed out to these lists.

Cons:

  • Character limitation creates an inability to provide a deep eLearning experience.
  • Twitter has been created as a messaging stream rather than a content repository, so can be difficult to retrieve full proof, accurate information.
  • Direct messages can only be sent to one user at a time.
  • Like facebook it can be distracting.
  • There is no archive or storage repository available.

 

LinkedIn for eLearning

Pros:

  • Provides users with valuable published articles in a specified subject area.
  • The establishment of  focus learning groups, allows users to provide insights into discussions, comment on topics and provide constructive feedback for improvements.
  • The ability to build relationships with like-minded members enables the collaboration of ideas.

Cons:

  • This platform is more beneficial for users than for course creators.
  • It needs to be regularly updated and can be time consuming.
  • Similar to the other social media platforms, it can be distracting with the abundance of information available to the user.

 

Instagram for eLearning

Pros:

  • Allows for cross posting of information across a range of social media platforms.
  • Focused on visual aspects of learning that may be best suited to certain learning styles and methods.

Cons:

  • All about visual content rather than words and so only suitable for certain subjects.
  • Not suited to storing useful content information and visual images can cause distraction rather than in-depth, valuable learning.

You tube for eLearning

Pros:

  • YouTube gives users the ability to share videos of eLearning course information and material.
  • Enables the creation of brief instructional or informational videos, tips, guides and how tos.
  • Enables the creation of an online resource page for users to access video materials.

Cons:

  • Difficult to incorporate text with visuals and better suited to subjects that can be taught visually.
  • Can be expensive if viewed by large volumes of users.
  • Requires set up effort to ensure correct usage, this can be time consuming.

 

Conclusion

 There are many pros and cons of social media as a useful aid for eLearning. Some platforms are better suited as a vehicle for eLearning purposes than others.

The bottom line is that a successful eLearning strategy should incorporate the social media tools that work best for you and your users.

Totara Social, an exciting addition to Totara LMS is an Enterprise Social Learning Network, specifically designed to encourage collaborative working styles and knowledge sharing amongst employees. For more information on this please visit

https://www.synergy-learning.de/totara-social/ or contact us on +44 (0) 28 9042 2000 for more information.