GLOKALde July 2016, ISSN 2148-7278 Volume: 2 Number: 3, Article 2
ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN LEARNING: Benefits and Drawbacks-How Social Presence Theory Explains Conflicting Findings
Social media play a powerful role in education to bring initially the outsider to become an accepted member inside an academic group that develops to become a community of learners. This role essentially allows an incoming student to post up images and ideas gradually and in small steps safely to produce an online identity which is agreeable to others. Many research studies now support such a role in the educative process. After such social presence is achieved then any role quickly becomes a distraction from engaging in academic collaborative learning transactions. Emerging research studies are now revealing these mixed results associated with social media (notably Face book) in education-particularly the drawbacks that time expended on social media leads to weaker academic achievements.
In this study the role of social media is opened up using reference to social presence, and other forms of virtual presence, that helps to explain why the benefits of social media are limited to the early stage of a learning cycle, and in later important learning stages that social media should be sidelined into a separate forum for support and counseling, away from the main academic forum where learning takes place. This presentation explains why Face book has shown improved learning was achieved in some studies, and less learning achieved in other studies.