I was very happy to discover a research report on the potential of using Facebook as a learning management system.
Facebook popularity and the ease with which most teachers and learners can create an account these days was, after all, one of the reasons our aPLaNet project team decided to include Facebook as one of the three Social Networks which may help teacher with their professional development easily and with complete autonomy.
Teachers Using Facebook for Continuous Professional Development
Here is a screenshot of a Facebook group created to continue Twitter conversations of #ELTchat, a Twitter discussion which takes place every Wednesday – you can read more about #ELTchat here and here and should you decide to join this group on Facebook, you will find it here!
There are numerous groups of teachers connecting on Facebook, beginning with major teacher associations such as IATEFL and TESOL International and moving to smaller, teacher created communities of practice with a general or a with a very focused aim, e.g. teaching Business English.
Teachers Using Facebook as a Learning Management System
In the article which is listed and linked below this post, the researchers look at the benefits of and shortcomings of using Facebook as such a system.
I can give show you a couple of examples – screenshots of groups related to trainees of mine on Facebook.
This group started out as a learning management system, but with many of its members having completed their courses, it soon became open to anyone following a DELTA course anywhere in the world. Its members share links, top tips for revision, and ask questions which range from the sublime “Could you please respond to my research questionnaire?” to the practical, e.g. “What time is the written exam tomorrow? I’ve forgotten!”
These days, it is functioning more as a Professional development tool for DELTA candidates.
Facebook as a Learning Management System
In this use, the teacher creates a closed or even secret group (not found in Facebook searches) and uses it to
- communicate socially after school hours
- post announcements
- upload or link to homework assignment
- share ideas and useful links for further study
- publishing exemplary work or
- publishing work that all are invited to comment on
Google docs links (for example of part of a draft assignment, as you can see above) are used to compensate for the lack of ability to share documents, powerpoints or pdf documents – this is mentioned in the research article, too.
My post was just a short introduction.
The article I have been talking about was posted in the British Journal of Educational Technology – please see details below.
It’s freely available for reading on the web and I recommend it very highly!!!!
Using the Facebook group as a learning management system: An exploratory study, Qiyun Wang1,*, Huay Lit Woo1, Choon Lang Quek1, Yuqin Yang1, Mei Liu2 – Article first published online: 9 JUN 2011
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2011.01195 © 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2011 BERA