How Social Media Tricks Can Improve Student Engagement

Education Technology Insights | Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Whether people adore or despise social media platforms, they impact students' expectations and behavior.

FREMONT, CA: It can be challenging to maintain students' attention when the majority of their learning occurs online, but looking to social media techniques for inspiration can help. They are designed to be engaging and habit forming, serving as a constant source of distraction for the students, encouraging them to connect and interact online. While remote learning clearly serves a different purpose, it can be beneficial to consider how social media lessons can enhance students' experience and support their learning.

The following are some social media tricks to improve student engagement.

Maintain an emotional connection

Although research has linked increased social media use to anxiety and depression, many students turn to social media when they want to feel better when they are bored and want to be entertained, or lonely and want company, or when they want the dopamine rush associated with 'retweets' or 'likes.' Surprisingly, research indicates that actively creating social media content benefits one's wellbeing. Unfortunately, this is a type of behavior appears to be becoming more prevalent. University lectures are frequently designed to be difficult for students, which can result in anxiety. Furthermore, students may associate distance education with feelings of isolation. If there is insufficient scaffolding, asynchronous activities can leave students frustrated and unsupported, and online lectures can become highly functional, effectively supporting learning outcomes but failing to inspire and motivate. Rather than being physically immersed in the experience, surrounded by their peers' chatter and proximity, many students are now studying alone in their rooms.

Connect immediately

Meeting new people is a necessary component of attending university or college. If students establish a new peer group that can provide social and academic support, they will feel more connected. Along with making them happier, it can also reduce their likelihood of dropping out and increasing their success chances. Students can connect via social media–public profiles on apps that allow students to communicate their interests. They use large-scale social media events to connect with like-minded individuals, while smaller, private groups and direct messages are used to develop relationships and seek support. Historically, face-to-face lectures have provided a structure for even the most socially awkward students to connect with like-minded peers. However, as many universities move to online classes, some current students have found it more challenging to communicate with their course group. They have not had the opportunity to speak as they exit the lecture hall by sharing problems and ideas. As a result, they are missing out on the camaraderie that comes with working alongside students who share common interests. This decreases their social motivation to study and their ability to persevere when the course becomes tricky.

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