Social Learning Sites in Higher Education: Needs and Challenges

Ra’ana Malik, Nayab Javed & Azhar Majeed Qureshi

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to find out student’s experiences towards learning through social learning sites (SLSs) such as YouTube, blogs, Wiki-spaces classroom, Edmodo, Skype, Academia.edu, Research Gate etc. in sharing and learning new things or ideas in higher education and the challenges they faced. The participants of the study were students of BS Hons (Final semester) and MS from Lahore College for Women University, Lahore. 23 semi structured in-depth interviews and 2 focus group discussions with students were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to analysis the narratives of participants. The study concludes that SLSs are playing important role in social interaction and making new connections around the world. SLSs are of vital importance in distance education because it helps to take online lectures/notes from forums of different universities around the globe. Students are using SLSs for different learning purposes like to access online libraries, E-learning, E-books, exploring various databanks for research purposes etc. Shortage of computer Labs, outdated computers, weak internet connections, lack of competency in handling latest software were some of the challenges faced by students hampering the effective use of SLSs. The study recommends immediate and serious steps need to be taken by government and administration to improve quality of education at the college level. Students must be encouraged and facilitated to use SLSs keeping in view its benefits.

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