Social Networking Advantages and Disadvantages in Language Learning

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The study conducted by Yunus, Salehi, and Chenzi indicated that using social networking tools in writing classes in language learning and teaching contributes to leaners’ understanding and development and helps learners gain more confidence in increase motivation in language learning process. The participants of this research study were EFL students from a state university in Malaysia. Data was collected through an online discussion board. This study highlighted that in today’s world with the rapid change in technological era, being equipped with technological tools and technical skills both for learners and instructors is important for life-long learning and effective teaching.

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Prasojo, Habibi, Mukminin, Taridi, and Saudagar’s research study attempts to investigate the social networking advantages and disadvantages in English writing courses. The participants of this research study were 60 EFL learners from two state universities in Jambi, Indonesia. Focus group discussion and demographic questionnaires were used to collect data in the study as a qualitative case study. The results of this study showed that the participants in the study were familiar with many types of social networking tools used in the study, and this revealed that the social networking tools which the participants were familiar with provide many advantages to learners in language learning settings as a supplemental learning tools. As well as its advantages in language learning, social networking tools also have some disadvantages for learners as a pedagogical tool in language learning environment. Firstly, it sometimes might be difficult to get signals or connection for learners to be able to connect since some internet providers might cause difficulties and troubles for signals and connection. Secondly, the participants in the study needed to have a good quality operator for them to be able to write and send their tasks wherever they are. Thirdly, some of the participants were not familiar with any of the social networking tools and this caused them some difficulties to make use of them as a supplemental pedagogical tool for their assignments.

Anderson, in his paper, also investigated the benefits and challenges of social networking tools in language learning environment. In his paper, Anderson list thirteen overarching benefits: awareness of and potential interaction with others, enhanced media/digital literacy, motivational increases,  increased informal participation in institutional, social and political activities,  academic and personal identity growth and social capital acquisition,  training in attention management and self-organization,  increase in course participation, integration of formal with informal learning,  potential creation of ‘generative learning communities,  opportunity for multimedia communication skill development, resource discovery, annotation and curation, research study dissemination and collaborator recruitment, support for continuing relationship of life-long learning. Despite the benefits of social networking sites for language learning both for learners and teachers, there are some challenges of these social networking tools as learning supplemental tools such as the challenges of adoption, both by faculty and by the institution, cultural resistance, pedagogical issues, privacy concerns and institutional constraints. 

Anderson also highlights social media platform not being conducive for education since it may contain an explicit controversy towards conviviality and homogeneity and it may lack the critical components of disagreement and discourse.  

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