Can Facebook be used effectively for e-learning? While many people will refer to using Twitter as a potential part of an elearning environment, at least in terms of micro-blogging and fast communication, fewer will suggest Facebook as a learning platform.
Facebook by its raisin d’être makes it easy to network and connect with others. Most of your potential learners will have a Facebook account, and have at least a rudimentary knowledge of how to use it (so no learning curve for navigating a dedicated LMS required).
But Facebook is not very effective for keeping any learners on track. By its very nature it positively encourages users to navigate away to new posts from friends, view interesting photos, interact in messages and chats – all of which has zero to do with learning your course!
Another factor is that Facebook isn’t established as a platform for learning. Many people may even resist Facebook for learning, because they view Facebook as part of their social life, and distinct and separate from work and learning. People often consider anything commercial or educational on Facebook an intrusion into their personal life space!
Learning is usually most effective when the environment can be contained, providing a location where learning focus can be maintained, and for better or worse Facebook is just not setup for this type of use
Facebook is essentially about entertainment and keeping in touch with friends. Sadly it’s also becoming the main news source for many people, which I view as an incredibly sad development, and an indictment on our society today.
Trying to create learning content within Facebook isn’t easy, and probably going to be largely ineffective due to the inherent distractions. It could be used to supplement learning – using Chats and Groups for example, but any modern LMS will provide this anyway.
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