There is an abundance of new educational learning methods gaining in popularity between teachers and students: blended learning, mobile learning, e-learning, distance learning to name a few. Lately, a specific trend has been taking over the educational world – social learning.

This type of learning uses methods such as awards, ranking, peer feedback and review to make the lessons more interesting for students and motivate them to further investigate the concepts they learn at school.

The number of students interested in the top educative social media tools is constantly on the rise. Although students are the ones who love social media the most, they are not the only ones who benefit from this trend. These tools are also useful for teachers because they can easily establish better communication with their students and colleagues from all over the world.

Social learning: What is it?

The term Social Learning was first used in 1977 by behavioural psychologist Albert Bandura. His theory of social learning indicates that children are inclined to learn by observing the behaviour of others, then copying it. By paying attention to the way adults behave, children model their own behavior as a way to be accepted.

Peer review is commonly practised in the classroom – this is a method that uses Bandura’s Social Learning Theory whereby students check out the work of their classmates and learn from their examples. Scientific studies have proven with scientific studies that this method improves writing and information retention skills.

In a study from 2009, Moloudi proved that these students also recognise the effects peer review has on their own improvement.

Repetition is a crucial element, which clearly enhances the memory of students. In 1985, Ebbinghaus showed that the memory is improved by around 20% with each repetition. The contemporary platforms for social learning enable students to repeat the most important things they learned in class and consult with their peers.

This is exactly why many educators are interested in adopting new, technology related techniques that improve the motivation and learning capacity of their students.

How does social learning work?

Smartphones and tablets are like a virus infecting today’s classrooms. The entire world is coming online and students are no exception. The increasing popularity of social media proves that students all around the world are willing to collaborate and connect with each other, so teachers can implement web technology with an educative purpose.

The practices of peer review, encouragement and support between the students can be greatly enhanced with the use of the right social media tools.

The starting point for getting most information isn’t printed materials anymore. Newspapers and books seem to come behind online platforms like Google, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Students can remember everything more easily if they learn through visual presentation, which is enabled by these platforms.

This new form of literacy doesn’t come as a surprise when considering the global trends of technology. The quality of social learning depends on the ability of the teacher to motivate students, along with the   proper tools. With the implementation of these methods, students will be able to increase the amount and quality of information they absorb.

The aim being to motivate them so they are interested in researching the concepts that they learn in class. Since the entire world is coming online, it’s time for the conventional system of education to be transformed according to the new trends.

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