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Impact of Social Media on Lifelong Learning

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Educational System
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Developing New Skills

Introduction

Social media is a collection of websites, applications (Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin) and other platforms that enable us to share or create content and also helps us to participate in social networking. Social media plays an important role in promoting lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is the continuation of conscious learning throughout the lifespan at one’s own pace, time and at different places.

We live in a global village where everyone is connected to one another in a vast network generated by the internet and social media (Abhishek Karadkar, 2015). Social media have contributed to an information society in which people can get access to knowledge and establish connections with others around the world efficiently. The acceleration in technological innovations are in many ways facilitating the lifelong learning by helping learners in

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  • Developing new skills (eg. cooking, sewing, public speaking, programming, etc)
  • Self-taught study (eg. learning a new language, researching a topic of interest, etc)
  • Learning a new sport or activity (eg. practicing martial arts, learning how to ski, performing physical activities, etc)
  • Learning to use a new technology (handling smart devices, using new software applications, etc)
  • Acquiring new knowledge (taking a self-interest course through online education or classroom-based course) (Valamis.com, 2019).
  • Importance of social media in promoting lifelong learning

Social media helps in promoting lifelong learning through the following:

Educational System

According to Forbes, there are about 1 billion social media accounts all over the world, which connect almost all of the countries of the world with each other (Bartleby.com. (2019).This new form of media is playing a vital role in content sharing in the educational system, the rest of society and for the lifelong learners. Underlying the popularity of using social media in formal learning is the fact that teachers and students have recognized the benefits of social media for learning, such as boosting interaction and collaboration, accessibility of learning resources beyond the classroom, and the development of online communities consisting of users with common learning interests and experiences (Kind, Terry & Evans, Yolanda. 2015). Generally students are using social media platforms such as Facebook to participate in social discussion by sharing images and pictures, posting their comments, disseminating ideas, and so on. . Social media interactions exist in real time that is it is timely, relevant and practical. When a person submit a query via a social network, they receive immediate feedback from other users with practical experience. Even teachers and educators found social media more accessible for the professional learning endeavors, both for their own personal learning and for engaging students.

Continuing Professional Development

Today things are changing at an astonishing rate, so people cannot stop learning. Liked it or not, we must remain open to learning all the time so as to keep up with everything that is happening around us. In order to get and maintain a proper job it is necessary for people to acquire new skills throughout all their careers. For that massive open online courses are increasingly and continuously offering courses, which help to make their students more employable (Colas, 2019). People’s skills and talents must be constantly reshaped to meet the changing needs of the workplace. For many businesses social media is strong tool for business promotion and marketing. For example a businessman use social sites like Facebook, Instagram to promote his products and to create awareness about his business to people.

Social media offers healthcare professionals opportunities for continuing professional development that can help in improving practice and services. Today, useful and even life-saving information overflow the social media platforms, thereby, creating awareness. There are many online sites that provide medical support where people can easily and anonymously seek medical advices. Even Doctors along with other medical officers use social media sites to make the population aware of some diseases and even suggest about the necessary precautions to be taken. To illustrate, when the Ebola virus hit West Africa, there was panic everywhere. The radio and T.V stations created awareness. However, the social media did more. People posted useful and detailed information on the social media network on how the virus spread and how it can be prevented. Pictures and videos of people who had this virus were also available on the social media sites. Useful information’s were disseminated and people took precautions. Countless lives were saved (Jarvee, 2019).

Developing New Skills

Social media helps in developing new skills. People has learnt a lot through social media especially on YouTube. For examples, cooking recipes, sewing, and hairdressing, or even learning of different types of languages. Many housewives have been able to set up their own business by viewing videos on YouTube. Continuous learning via social media make people believe in their own individual potential. As a result, they enjoy the positive feeling that comes with mastery. 

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