Social media in undergraduate learning: categories and characteristics

May 7, 2017

This study investigates the core categories and characteristics of the social media technologies (SMTs) that undergraduate students choose to use in their own learning, outside of the formal curriculum. Within a mixed method research methodology, this inquiry employed 30 semi-structured interviews and an online survey (N = 679) to explore why and how undergraduates across disciplines view SMTs to be a meaningful part of their own university learning. Together, the qualitative and quantitative results demonstrate that several contextual relationships exist, including an important relationship between the particular ways of meaning making students identified and the specific social media technologies they use for their university learning. While no differences were found for general social media use, there is a significant relationship between particular ways of making meaning and use of specific SMTs, indicating the importance of learning context and social media affordances.

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education