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postgraduate thesis: Using social networking environments to support learning engagement inhigher education

TitleUsing social networking environments to support learning engagement inhigher education
Authors
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lu, J. [卢洁]. (2012). Using social networking environments to support learning engagement in higher education. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4832943
AbstractLearning engagement is essential for fruitful and meaningful learning outcomes. Although many researchers have collectively claimed that social networking technologies in the Web2.0 era possess great potential to foster learning engagement, the existing literature demonstrates the pedagogical significance of more empirical and systematical inquiries into their applications for effective teaching and learning in various educational contexts. A social networking environment (SNE) is an online environment established with these technologies in which various tools, people and resources are dynamically connected. This study aimed to investigate the roles of such an environment in supporting learning engagement in higher education, and to identify factors that affected how students engaged in learning activities in the SNE. Informed by the literature on knowledge construction, collaborative learning and intrinsic motivation, learning engagement was conceptualized as a multidimensional construct that incorporated cognitive, social and emotional components of the learning process. This study was a single case study. It spanned a period of six months with a class of 55 undergraduate students enrolling in an elective university course in mainland China. A SNE, which integrated blogs, wikis, social bookmarks and tagging, file repositories, group spaces, and social networking facilities, was implemented to support designed learning activities that emphasized reflections and social interactions for achieving course objectives. Data collection and analysis combined qualitative and quantitative methods. Multiple-source data was obtained from interviews, observation, questionnaires and student learning artifacts, and was analyzed through content analysis, social network analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. The analysis revealed a number of roles that the SNE could play in supporting learning engagement. In terms of social engagement, it could serve as a social medium for (a) facilitating self-presentation and self-expression, (b) supporting articulation and development of personal social networks, (c) encouraging various levels of participation in social interactions, and (d) enabling personalized feedback. In terms of cognitive engagement, it could afford a hybrid of individual and social learning by (a) supporting development of personal learning portfolios, (b) facilitating peer and teacher feedback, and (c) creating the transparency in a distributed learning environment which enabled students to access multiple perspectives, learn by observation, and utilize metacognitive skills for self-regulated learning. In terms of emotional engagement, it could be used as a vehicle for developing a socio-affective structure of the learning community by (a) inducing expression of emotions and feelings, (b) fostering socio-emotional interactions, and (c) contributing a sense of being connected to others. Factors in cultural, socio-contextual, technical, and individual dimensions were identified that affected learning engagement in the SNE and needed to be addressed in pedagogical interventions. This study has both theoretical and practical implications. By proposing a construct incorporating cognitive, social and emotional elements of engaged learning, it deepens our understanding of the relationship between learning engagement and educational use of social networking technologies in higher education. For practicing teachers, a set of pedagogical principles is suggested based on the findings of the study for facilitating learning engagement in the SNE. Implications for software designers and educational administrators are also discussed.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectSocial media.
Education, Higher - Effect of technological innovations on.
Dept/ProgramEducation
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188742

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLu, Jie-
dc.contributor.author卢洁-
dc.date.accessioned2013-09-08T15:07:50Z-
dc.date.available2013-09-08T15:07:50Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationLu, J. [卢洁]. (2012). Using social networking environments to support learning engagement in higher education. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4832943-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/188742-
dc.description.abstractLearning engagement is essential for fruitful and meaningful learning outcomes. Although many researchers have collectively claimed that social networking technologies in the Web2.0 era possess great potential to foster learning engagement, the existing literature demonstrates the pedagogical significance of more empirical and systematical inquiries into their applications for effective teaching and learning in various educational contexts. A social networking environment (SNE) is an online environment established with these technologies in which various tools, people and resources are dynamically connected. This study aimed to investigate the roles of such an environment in supporting learning engagement in higher education, and to identify factors that affected how students engaged in learning activities in the SNE. Informed by the literature on knowledge construction, collaborative learning and intrinsic motivation, learning engagement was conceptualized as a multidimensional construct that incorporated cognitive, social and emotional components of the learning process. This study was a single case study. It spanned a period of six months with a class of 55 undergraduate students enrolling in an elective university course in mainland China. A SNE, which integrated blogs, wikis, social bookmarks and tagging, file repositories, group spaces, and social networking facilities, was implemented to support designed learning activities that emphasized reflections and social interactions for achieving course objectives. Data collection and analysis combined qualitative and quantitative methods. Multiple-source data was obtained from interviews, observation, questionnaires and student learning artifacts, and was analyzed through content analysis, social network analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. The analysis revealed a number of roles that the SNE could play in supporting learning engagement. In terms of social engagement, it could serve as a social medium for (a) facilitating self-presentation and self-expression, (b) supporting articulation and development of personal social networks, (c) encouraging various levels of participation in social interactions, and (d) enabling personalized feedback. In terms of cognitive engagement, it could afford a hybrid of individual and social learning by (a) supporting development of personal learning portfolios, (b) facilitating peer and teacher feedback, and (c) creating the transparency in a distributed learning environment which enabled students to access multiple perspectives, learn by observation, and utilize metacognitive skills for self-regulated learning. In terms of emotional engagement, it could be used as a vehicle for developing a socio-affective structure of the learning community by (a) inducing expression of emotions and feelings, (b) fostering socio-emotional interactions, and (c) contributing a sense of being connected to others. Factors in cultural, socio-contextual, technical, and individual dimensions were identified that affected learning engagement in the SNE and needed to be addressed in pedagogical interventions. This study has both theoretical and practical implications. By proposing a construct incorporating cognitive, social and emotional elements of engaged learning, it deepens our understanding of the relationship between learning engagement and educational use of social networking technologies in higher education. For practicing teachers, a set of pedagogical principles is suggested based on the findings of the study for facilitating learning engagement in the SNE. Implications for software designers and educational administrators are also discussed.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48329435-
dc.subject.lcshSocial media.-
dc.subject.lcshEducation, Higher - Effect of technological innovations on.-
dc.titleUsing social networking environments to support learning engagement inhigher education-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4832943-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEducation-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4832943-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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