Learning management systems and social media: a case for their integration in higher education institutions
Higher education institutions across the globe rely on learning management systems (LMSs) to deliver course content, assess student learning, and maintain effective communication. However, contemporary learners may prefer to use popular social media platforms to share knowledge and collaborate with peers. Higher education institutions can benefit by fusing the best features of social media and LMSs into course delivery systems, particularly in online settings. This study investigates the technological and pedagogical integration of social media and LMSs in higher education institutions that incorporate these technologies into their course delivery infrastructure. From the 36 peer-reviewed papers examined, the identified benefits of successful social media-LMSs integration were classified into six categories: access to learning materials, student recruitment, communication and peer support, improved results, a single access point to both online environments, and speed and reliability. Three categories of disadvantages were also established: need for ongoing support, social media distractions, and technical and security issues. We propose that a close inter-relationship between social media platforms and LMSs enhances course outcomes within a social constructivist framework and satisfies learner needs for social interaction. This study’s findings will benefit educational institutions seeking to enhance engagement with online learner communities.
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