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Social Media Provides Jet Fuel to Boost E-Learning – Part 1

How can social media boost effectiveness of traditional E-Learning courses? E-Learning and social media each facilitate the transfer of information across long distances and great divides. It should be simple, then, to find a symbiotic relationship between the two.

Let’s start with Twitter. The combination of Twitter’s forced brevity and its focus on topically-engineered “hashtags” provide an efficient way to aggregate snippets of information (that may also include external links) relevant to a specific subject. For instance, associating the #elearning hashtag to your tweet will include it among the vast sea of search results for E-Learning-related tweets.

How can instructional designers and course developers leverage the real time power of Twitter? Imagine a Texas Defensive Driving course developed in Storyline, Lectora, or other authoring tool. You, the student, open up the course and are pleased to find an embedded live Twitter feed on the right-hand pane that is automatically filtered to display tweets appended with the #TexasDefensiveDriving hashtag. This is a new kind of immersive experience in the E-Learning world: You would be able to share your own insights about the course in real-time—comments about the user interface, user experience, accessibility, content, and other important elements of instructional design.

What ramifications would Twitter integration like this have? For starters, it would make the lives of the instructional designers of that course easier. They don’t have to pull feedback from a scattered base. All the insight they need lies in that one hashtag. For that reason, I think this integration would also lead to the eventual phasing out of the traditional survey.

Who do you know that leverages the power of Twitter with eLearning? How are they using it or what obstacles prevent its use? I’d love to hear your stories.

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