Social Learning

Using Twitter As A Learning Tool

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Twitter is a powerful social media tool used for micro-blogging and social networking. The fact that it is easy to access and simple to use, makes it a powerful tool to include in your eLearning toolkit. So, why not use Twitter as a learning tool? In this article, you will find 5 reasons why I chose to implement Twitter in a distance university course I was recently involved in.

How To Use Twitter As A Learning Tool

Twitter is a powerful social media tool used for micro-blogging and social networking. Google the stats of Twitter use and you will see numbers in the millions and billions. Twitter is hugely successful as it enables users to disseminate information quickly and easily through Tweets. It also makes searching for content easy through user generated #hashtags.

Twitter is easy to access, simple to use and it is a powerful tool to include in your elearning toolkit. In fact it may come as no surprise that Twitter has been voted the top learning tool for 5 years running by Jane Hart's Top 100 Tools for learning.

So why might you want to use Twitter as a learning tool?

Let me share 5 reasons why I chose to implement Twitter in a distance university course I was recently involved in:

  1. Relevance to the content
    The course I was tasked with designing included the impacts of social media as one of it's key topic areas. Therefore it made sense to actually utilize Social Media within the instructional design of the course - walking the talk.
  2. Bring current events into the content
    The subject matter of this particular course was rapidly developing where reference to current events and new technology developments were important. Twitter research activities provided an avenue in which I could pull very current events and technology developments into the course content without having to constantly rewrite the content each year or two. Twitter is great for linking to current events or examples within a subject.
  3. Access and mobility
    Twitter is extremely mobile meaning that students can utilize Twitter on their smartphones and complete activities while on the go. This meant the Twitter learning activities could go to where the students are - mobile learning - rather than forcing them to access the learning through a static computer.
  4. Bite sized efforts
    All Twitter activities were designed to be completed rapidly within 5 - 10 minutes max. This meant that these activities could be completed in small bite sized efforts and provided an interesting alternative to posting in a forum or other activities. It also invited students to engage with content in a different manner.
  5. Curation of content
    By using a unique #hashtag for each student cohort, students could potentially search tweets by other previous student cohorts and share information, resources and references. This increased the possibility of a community of learning being built over time that goes beyond the course timeframes and boundaries. Students could also use Twitter to 'favorite' and curate their own content to use within their assignments and assessments. The lecturer could also curate Tweets and use Tweets over the course to share student generated content - social learning.

In summary, here I've given 5 reasons why I used Twitter in a particular university course. Twitter can also be used in other environments for different types of learning experiences. There are many reasons why you might consider using Twitter as part of your learning toolkit, some may or may not be the same as mine.

Have you used Twitter as a learning tool? Please share your reasons for using Twitter in the comments below, or you can Tweet them to me @LoMinister. If you are interested in different elearning methods or want to read more about how I've used Twitter in activities you can also follow me on my blog - Madelearningdesigns.com.