Humans are social beings and naturally like to be social. Social media offers numerous opportunities for both personal and professional purposes i.e., right from connecting with family and friends to like-minded professionals. Research also concludes the fact that people are logging on to social networking sites like Twitter; Facebook and LinkedIn like never before.
Social media has witnessed a sea of change over the past few years. Apart from networking, it also enables people to teach others to develop 21st century competencies. Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of social media learning:
Support Interaction: What is the difference between traditional and social media learning? The traditional method is a typical classroom kind of learning with little chance for interaction. However, social media learning takes the form of interaction which is a highly effective form of active learning. It helps network with people of similar passion and goals. It helps to share ideas and experiences, and obtain competencies implanted in real life, unravel opportunities and recommend the path to success.
Natural Learning: According to research, people go to work to improve their relations with their colleagues rather than secure a good pay package. In one Telecom Company, the management kept employees from meeting each other during the coffee or lunch breaks. Soon, there was a drop in the employees’ performance levels. This, therefore, proves that social networking has a direct impact on the way people learn and work.
Easy Access: Social networking sites help access information anytime and anywhere. It also facilitates access of information of a diverse kind on a given topic with ease and efficiency. In turn, it supports lifelong learning processes and professional development.
Multiple Learning Styles: Social media learning involves accessing information through a range of visuals, text and perceptions on a given subject. It also encourages one to actively participate by posting content on social networking sites. It helps users post or express individual views, thereby generating tons of content onto the site.
Uncertainty: Social media is subjected to continuous change. Hence, this lacks the required structure to fit into the exact learning need.
Performance Tracking: A critical step for learning is measuring. However, at present, measuring tools are there but a few.
Managing Social Networking Sites: Once logged into a site, one gets invitations to log on to other similar sites. Thus, logging on to many sites is not possible for one person. Hence, its difficulty to manage and eventually becomes cumbersome.
In spite of these disadvantages, learning through social media via higher technology has a greater impact on learning and is appropriate for a professional environment based on competency. The latest advantage of this media is its ability to impart knowledge effectively. But often, many corporates are overlooking the advantages of learning offered by such media. The need of the hour is to help corporates understand the advantages of social media learning for employee training and knowledge sharing which is often overlooked.
In the present scenario, social media is turning out to be relatively inexpensive and accessible learning platform rather than just a place for networking. “Humans are social beings, hence learning through social media will surely impact the way for one to learn.