Facebook has been thought to be a distraction from education and productivity, but a new study from Stella Wen Tian of the University of Science & Technology of China (Suzhou Campus) and Angela Yan Yu, Douglas Vogel and Ron Chi-Wai Kwok of City University of Hong Kong, are suggesting that Facebook can have a positive influence on social learning and academic learning.
Social learning is a communication theory that looks at how attitude and behavior are shaped by observing and imitating others. The researchers believe that Facebook serves two functions: both social and educational.
On the one hand, Facebook enhances personal relationships through interaction, and on the other hand, by seeing their friends active in education, along the ability to join school groups, collaborate, discuss, schedule courses, and so on, Facebook is providing students with a platform that positively influences participation in education.
The team says that, “Facebook greatly influences college students’ social life and shows good potential in coping with the challenges that students face.” They conclude that, “Educational institutions may need to adopt active (but somewhat restrained) actions to utilize existing social network applications such as Facebook for education. Teaching activities will need to be appropriately designed for different target populations. The breakthrough point may start from students’ social learning.”
The study was published in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations.