Facebook eLearning (this is a link with photos – I couldn’t get WordPress to accept my screenshots.)

Facebook can be quite useful as new media elearning method. It can be useful for both asynchronous and synchronous learning. Furthermore, Facebook is a useful elearning method as it creates a high degree of social presence where users are able to represent themselves in an online environment. Additionally, according to the social presence theory, Facebook contributes to high levels of social presence as it it allows users to relate to one another in a common space .

For users to engage in this elearning method, they must have a Facebook account. You can learn more about creating a Facebook account here.

Once a user has created a Facebook account, they engage in the following features:

–          Link to ones friends

–          Update and see updates

–          Hold conversations (threads)

Facebook uses a common interface. Here is a screenshot of the Facebook Dashboard (Please note that all screenshots are from my personal Facebook account):

The Facebook dashboard constantly updates with a newsfeed of a users friends posts. These posts are useful to facilitate a discussion.  One can post photos, links, videos, or even take a poll or all those who are ones friend on Facebook. All of the tools that allow posts are views by all a users friends.

Posting is primarily a form of one-way communication, though it has options for two-way communication through the use of threading wall discussions. Posting allows, to an extent, for an increased social presence as it provides interaction through users.  Users in an elearning environment are able to interact in student-student and instructor-student.

Walls are essentially each users own interface that is available publicly for other users to create posts. Here is an example of two-way communication on a wall:

Email discussions to multiple users can be created, or you can write emails to single users. This type of discussion is done privately. This is mostly a form of one-way communication, though two-way communication is additionally optional as the email takes the format similar to a wall, but in a private setting. This feature can be useful for student-instructor interaction as it is asynchronous. Email allows for personal focus though it is not media rich. (Note: Private instant messaging is also available)

Additionally, Notes can be created. Notes are similar to a blog. Notes are a form of one-way communication.

Notes are not traditionally media rich, as they do not provide instant feedback, provide “body cues”, allows of the permission of natural language though they do provide a personal focus of the medium. Similarly to a blog, though notes are not media rich, they are useful for completing basic writing tasks as it provides such a space for users to simply write and accept comments.

The following is a comparison chart between Facebook and the LMS that I currently use for work (though we do use Facebook – it is not for LMS).

Facebook

My LMS

Dashboard

X

Walls

X

Discussion Boards

X

Email

X

Notes

X

Surveys

X

X

Webinars

X

Graphic Presentation

X

Videos

X

Grade Book

Announcements

X

X

From this, I can conclude that Facebook is useful as a function LMS as it provides the following:

  1. Distributes course information
  2. Allows for student-instructor and student-student communication
  3. Allows for student interaction with course resource

The LMS feature that Facebook does lack is that it does not provide a tool for online testing and grading activity.  Therefore, from this information we can conclude that Facebook would not be useful for online traditional testing (i.e. multiple choice, true or false) as it does not provide a tool for testing.

Facebook is useful as an elearning tool, even though it is not heavily rich in media, as it allows for a high levels of social presence and student-instructor student-student interaction. Also, Facebook is a useful elearning tool because it would already have a large presence among most audiences. Facebook would particularly be useful for course discussions and blog posting – similarly to how we do in class now.

I think that one of the best tools that Facebook has for elearning is one of their newest features, which is polling. Users can vote, add comments, or even ask their friends what they think. This is two-way communication. Facebook polling is a moderately rich media as it provides for instant feedback and allows for personalization.  (The following is a sample poll from a popular reality tv show – Bad Girls Club)

This would particularly be useful as a supplement to elearning discussions as it would provide raw information of how a discussion tended to go.

To further demonstrate the usefulness of Facebook as an LMS, I have created an activity so as to explain how Facebook can be used as an LMS.

 A Lesson on Widgets

Instructions:

(1)Create a Facebook note about what you think about Widgets. Make sure that you allow your Friends to see the note.

(2)Then, take the poll on the Instructors Facebook “What do you think about widgets?”

(3) Briefly share with us what you think about widgets in a Facebook post. You must add a video, picture, or URL to supplement your Facebook post.

(4) Additionally, you are required to make a thread on another students post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email your instructor.

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