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Designing for Learning Using Social Networking

Matt Bower (Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Design of Technology-Enhanced Learning

ISBN: 978-1-78714-183-4, eISBN: 978-1-78714-182-7

Publication date: 3 August 2017


Social networking platforms such as Facebook have infiltrated the lives of many students, and as such it is natural to consider how they can be effectively used to enhance learning. This chapter provides a comprehensive review of social networking in education from a design perspective. Social networking is defined based on Boyd & Ellison’s seminal definition of connected profiles, and is distinguished from social media for the purposes of investigation. Facebook, Edmodo, and other social networking platforms are briefly described, before summarizing the wide variety of social networking usage reported in the research literature. The various benefits of social networking in education are distilled from the literature, including their capacity to facilitate community building, collaboration, reflection, and expedient access to learning. Issues surrounding the educational use of social networking are also organized into themes, for instance privacy concerns, distraction, cyber-safety, and technical constraints. The implications of findings from the social networking literature are synthesized into learning design and implementation recommendations. The chapter concludes with a discussion of open questions and areas for further investigation.


Bower, M. (2017), "Designing for Learning Using Social Networking", Design of Technology-Enhanced Learning, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 219-260.



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