Traditionally, social media and education don’t mix. Widely understood as the most efficient of procrastination tools, Facebook and Twitter can be an easy and comforting distraction from work, whether you’re looking at pictures of cats or watching those delicious recipe videos. But what happens in online learning? When you’re encouraged to use as many online tools as possible, is it possible to separate these social media distractions? The answer is probably no. Depending on your willpower, it can be difficult to remain focused in an online space, but there’s no need to see social media as the enemy. See our top five ways to improve your online education experience through eLearning below.
1) Follow the right people
What you’re exposed to on social media is all down to where your interests lie, who you follow and what groups you subscribe to. With that in mind, the best way to improve your learning experience through social media is to follow people and groups that are directly related to your subject. Taking a degree course in accounting? Accountancy firms with active social pages will often post or share blogs with topics relating to their field, and subject specific pages like Accounting Today tackle the deeper issues and are a fantastic source for day-to-day accountancy news. Follow inspirational people in your field on twitter, or pages dedicated to your subject to generate ideas for your personal project to become more active in discussion forums.
2) Share, Share, Share!
The discussion forum is the central hub for online learning. It allows you to drop in and out of conversations at any time, bounce your ideas off your peers, view alternative answers to difficult questions and share interesting articles with your class. Helping to create a sharing culture with your peers is an easy way of staying updated with the events of your chosen field. If your online learning class has its own closed Facebook group, sharing these articles is really easy, but if not, combining step one and step two of this guide can ensure everyone in your online class is well informed.
3) Suggest a closed Facebook page
As mentioned in the last point, using social media as a place to share ideas is invaluable in online learning, and is often more convenient than logging on to a VLE to post in your forum. With Facebook’s privacy settings, your online class can have a completely undisturbed space to swap ideas and suggest helpful links. Embedding your learning in social media turns Facebook into an extension of your study tools.
4) Use Twitter as a learning and resource tool
Social learning is active, current learning. Keep an eye on what’s trending and use this to inform your work. Are there any issues in the news that could be viewed or affected by your course specialism? Reinforcing learning through social activity and current news topics increases understanding, leading to greater retention. Some online lecturers use hashtags on Twitter to create learning spaces for students, sector influencers are often more active on Twitter; it’s the perfect tool for modern research.
5) Have fun!
It doesn’t have to be all work all the time. Share that pet video, link someone to that funny article or picture; online or on-ground, you’re a class and the best way to learn is to enjoy yourselves.
Coventry University College Online offers Coventry University Accounting and Management degrees in a flexible online learning model. View our courses here, and see how online learning could improve your career.