Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Improvement of Students' Academic Performance by Using Social Media through Collaborative Learning in Malaysian Higher Education

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Improvement of Students' Academic Performance by Using Social Media through Collaborative Learning in Malaysian Higher Education

Article excerpt


The social media have infiltrated the 21st century generations of Internet users, making it a very active means of communications, particularly among students of higher institutions of education. Consequently, academic activities in institutions and faculties are increasingly carried out through the social networks, such as Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. These are essentially used in order to connect with current and prospective students and also to deliver instructional content. Questions arise about the impact of social media on academic performance and the possibility of using them as an effective pedagogical tool to improvement academic performance. A pilot study of undergraduate and postgraduate students at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) was carried out to obtain preliminary results of usage of social media currently. Results obtained show that social media affects positively and significantly collaborative learning with interaction with peers, interaction with supervisor, engagement, perceived ease of use, and perceived usefulness.

Keywords: social media, students' academic performance, collaborative learning and higher education

1. Introduction

Social media is generally used on a regular basis by millions of people across the globe for different reasons. A big portion of social media users is made up of youths where most of them are college students. In fact, a recent survey of 3000 students from across the US shows that 90% of college students use Facebook and 37% use Twitter (Dahlstrom et al., 2011). Given the popularity of social media, a number of universities are using them as marketing program and as a means of communication with current and prospective students and also the alumni. University professors are embracing the social media for effective discussions and dealing with their students in matters relating to academics and improving learning benefits through better communication within and outside the classes. However, recent reviews show over-participation or addiction of students to social networking may have a negative impact on their academic performance (Kirschner & Karpinski, 2010). This has spurred discussion among faculties, across disciplines and from various schools in relation to the effectiveness and stability of social media as a teaching tool.

Considering the standard undergraduate class in which the instructor's goal is to create a fascinating atmosphere that encourages deep learning, throughout class periods most students are usually on Facebook instead of following along with the instructor's demonstration. Some are even bold enough to respond to a mobile phone call in school although most professors are strict about that.

The purpose of this study is to develop a general framework that defines the key direct and indirect drivers of academic performance. Particular interest is specifically based on the impact of collaborative learning using social media. Observations of students and a search of current literature indicate that students' academic performance is a function of collaborative learning, skills of students, students' characteristics, academic competence and time spent on social media use.

2. Literature Review

There has been great concern among concerned individuals in education and parents on the growing usage of Facebook and its effect on pedagogy specifically among students in colleges (Abramson, 2011; Kamenetz, 2011).

Studies have shown that Facebook is the most popular social tool used where 85to 99% of college students use it for different purposes (Hargittai, 2008; Jones & Fox, 2009; Matney & Borland, 2009).

On this basis, curriculum developers have been examining the learning environments and different activities with the aim of internationalizing learning and teaching in the way that will recognize and respect and also usefully engage the ethnic and cultural diversity of students. Social media communication and collaborative technologies capabilities such as threaded bulletin boards are used to support internationalized teaching and learning and have been found to be effective in this case (Leask, 2004). …

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