5 Ways Social Media Can Help Your Online Learning

It seems like an obvious pairing on the surface: the digital technology of social media married with the digital technology of online learning. They each have more in common with the other than they do differences, but it hasn't been thought of as much of a traditional pairing as using social media for things like fun or business. But in this post, we take a look at the top 5 ways you can use social media to your advantage when it comes to online learning.

1. Connecting with Classmates is Easy and Fast

One of the hurdles of online education is the lack of face-to-face interaction with your fellow students, as traditional education has that in abundance. If you're ever stuck on a problem or want to get someone else's opinion, you can just turn to the person beside you and ask away.

This isn't always the case with online education.

Take into account social media, which almost everyone uses. It's ubiquitous, available on a variety of platforms and channels, and makes for a quick and easy way to connect with classmates. If you're looking for another opinion on how to approach the work, just send out a message on Facebook or tweet your question.

2. Time Zones are of No Importance

The beauty of online education is students from all over the world can connect via one course, giving you a vast wealth of knowledge to tap into. And with social media bridging the gap between you and another student halfway around the world, you don't have to worry about figuring out time differences and when an appropriate time to call is.

Instead, let social media do all the work for you with all that's required is the aforementioned Facebook message or tweet. It'll be waiting for other students when they wake up or finish work, letting you go on with your day instead of having to schedule around obstacles.

3. You Can Find Almost Anything on Twitter

We're all so familiar with hashtags, it's a bit difficult to explain to a non-tweeter what exactly they are. But in case anyone's reading this who isn't familiar with Twitter, hashtags are a way to congregate similar words or phrases into one central location.

How does this matter for online education?

Very importantly. Let's say you're studying early American history and want to ask someone of authority their thoughts on a particular war. You could tweet something like #WhiskeyRebellion, which would take you to the page where all tweets containing that hashtag are located. And chances are, you'd run into other people who either study or teach that topic, giving you access to material you just can't find in a textbook.

4. Flexibility Takes on a Whole New Dimension

If you're a loyal reader of our articles (and many thanks if you are!), then you know we've talked a lot before about how flexible online education is. You can study when and where you want, not letting things like lecture times and in-person exams hinder your progress.

With social media, though, flexibility is at an even higher level. You can sync hashtags with Facebook and Twitter, narrow down the information you're looking for using social media's sophisticated algorithms, connect with others on a tablet, smartphone or computer, and save a ton of money because social media is mostly free.

5. Blogs Will Become an Invaluable Resource

Quick, can you name as many professions as you can where reading blogs will not only help you with the tasks at hand, but is also actively encouraged?

While online education isn't technically a profession, it is an industry where blogs are incredibly proliferative. Many colleges and universities feature a section on their sites where real students maintain blogs, writing about their own experiences and offering tips and pointers. It's important to remember that online education isn't just about learning the material in the syllabus, but also to take in the experience as a whole.