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Exploring education-related use of social media: business students perspectives in a changing India

Jehangir Bharucha (Hassaram Rijhumal College of Commerce and Economics, University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India) (Lincoln University College, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 24 January 2018

Issue publication date: 31 January 2018




Within a connectivist learning model, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the adoption of social media for educational purposes in India, a hitherto unexplored area of research. The basic research thrust is on students’ experiences when social media is incorporated into higher education. This research tries to gather evidence on the effectiveness of this role and its potential future role as a facilitator and enhancer of learning in the Indian system.


The current research draws on the perspectives of the students regarding the adoption of social media for educational purposes. The data collection was done in two separate stages. Stratified random sampling was applied and a structured questionnaire was sent via e-mail. Usable responses were received from 568 respondents. The second stage consisted of an exploratory qualitative study using in-depth interviews and reflections of 250 students from the original sample.


Four clear themes emerged from the responses collected via the structured questionnaire and particularly from the in-depth interviews. These include: widespread usage of social media, definite usage in business education, strengths of social media in business education and the flip side of learning with social media. One thing is certain: social media will continue to play an important role in the Indian education sector. A number of colleges and universities in India are including social media in their pedagogy, but the challenge lies in effectively aligning it with curriculum.

Practical implications

Despite the widespread use of online social media for communication and entertainment, the use in the educational sphere seems to be less. This year-long study tries to gather evidence on all these issues. No doubt social media’s contribution in the classroom depicts a rising interest in technology as a tool to assist learning but it also reinforces a paradigm shift in the way students learn.

Social implications

With nearly a billion people on mobile phones, the online system certainly has vast potential to create the right kind of learning. As this study has shown at a micro-level, technology-led reach and easy access is bringing about a socio-economic difference in the lives of Indian learners. While this study certainly supports digital learning in India it points out that higher educational institutions are yet to exploit its full advantage for better student engagement.


One key characteristic of this generation is that they are very education oriented. Due to the relative freshness of the approach in India and fairly restricted use in the Indian higher education system, empirical studies are limited and the impact of social media on student engagement in the higher education system in India is not known.



Bharucha, J. (2018), "Exploring education-related use of social media: business students perspectives in a changing India", Education + Training, Vol. 60 No. 2, pp. 198-212.



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