Learning through social media: a Promethean gift?

TitleLearning through social media: a Promethean gift?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCarr A, Thamizoli P., Rengalakshmi R., Balasubramanian K.
Start Page301
End page310
Date Published12/2018
KeywordsSocial media; Facebook; Informal learning; Learning process; Agricultural extension

In the last two decades, social media has become a powerful communication tool, utilised by billions of people worldwide (We are Social and Hootsuite in Digital in 2017: Global Overview, 2017). Both its promise and potential negative impacts have been discussed widely in academia as well as in popular media. Studies show that social media has the potential to offer an alternative pedagogical approach in integrating formal and informal learning and can enhance self-regulated learning among students in formal education. However, there has been a dearth of studies on the role of social media in non-formal learning-particularly in the agricultural sector-in developing countries. The present exploratory study was conducted in Tamil Nadu, India, amongst a large number of farmers who are using Facebook to learn about agricultural practices. A mixed methods approach was utilised, and survey data was collected from 386 respondents, while semi-structured interviews and observations were conducted with 10 farm households. The paper explores social media as a tool for a heutagogical approach which can help strengthen lifelong learning among farmers. The paper also warns that social media can get subsumed by social differentiation, such as gender and class, if adequate precautions are not undertaken in its design and use as a learning tool.

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