Social Media Impact on English Language Learning

Introduction

The popularity of social media websites and social networks increases among the students every year (Akbari, Eghtesad, & Simons, 2012, p. 2). Referring to the students’ focus on social media websites, educators are inclined to use the resources of social networks and media websites to stimulate the students’ learning activities (Clark & Gruba, 2010, p. 165). From this point, while finding new methods and approaches to motivate students to learn the English language, it is reasonable to refer to social networks and media websites. The extensive research on the role of social networking websites and social media websites in motivating the students’ progress in learning the English language is necessary.

Research Questions

To understand the role of the social networking websites and social media websites in affecting the students’ learning motivation, it is necessary to find the answers to the following major research question:

How can educators motivate students to learn the English language with the help of social networking websites or social media websites?

This major question is associated with a range of other significant sub-questions:

  1. What methods can be used to enhance choosing social networking websites and social media websites for learning the English language?
  2. What are the sources of the students’ motivation in this case? Which aspects of using social networking and social media websites are attractive for students and can be used to motivate learning the English language?

Thus, researching the connection between the students’ motivation, learning English, and using social networking and social media websites, it is necessary to answer the following list of questions which can help educators use the websites’ resources:

  • Can the work with the social networking websites and social media websites serve as the motivation stimulus for students?
  • What possible negative consequences of using social networking and social media websites should be noted and addressed by educators?
  • What are the potential benefits of motivating students to learn the English language with the help of social networking websites or social media websites?

The rationale for the Research

The research on the connections between the students’ motivation, educators’ methods, and the use of social networks and social media websites is important and necessary within the modern educational environments because of the obvious popularity of social networks among the students. The focus on these popular resources can motivate students to pay more attention to learning English to support the relations developed with the help of networks and improve the language competency. Educators are inclined to use technologies and web resources to motivate the students’ learning activities, and the focus on social networks and social media websites addresses the current tendencies in the educational environment. From this point, further research is necessary to discuss the approaches and techniques in motivating students to learn the English language with the help of social networks and social media websites.

Literature Review

Students and educators discuss the use of social media and networks in studying as a highly motivating practice (Akbari, Eghtesad, & Simons, 2012, p. 2; Clark & Gruba, 2010, p. 165). The main factors to increase the motivation are the opportunity for informal communication and active socialization (Luo, 2010, p. 87; Sockett & Toffoli, 2012, p. 139). Thus, the use of Facebook and other social networks can be discussed as contributing to students’ multitasking activities (Blankenship, 2011, p. 40; Taecharungroj, 2013, p. 259). Nevertheless, the researchers state that there are many positive and negative aspects of using social media websites in learning the English language because of the specific character of the media resources (Mills, 2011, p. 345; Pino, 2008, p. 66; Shaltry et al., 2013, p. 20).

While discussing the factors which are not directly associated with the students’ learning activities, Okoro notes that the use of social media is a beneficial approach to reduce costs and increase potentials (Okoro, 2012, p. 67). In their turn, Razak, Saeed, and Ahmad discuss the concrete area in students’ learning activities, and they focus on the benefits of using social media technologies for improving the English learners’ writing skills (Razak, Saeed, & Ahmad, 2013, p. 187). However, despite the stated benefits, Stack and Kelly pay attention to the fact that the use of social media cannot contribute to accomplishing the education goals because of a range of associated challenges (Stack & Kelly, 2006, p. 6).

Methods

The research will be based on examining the existing literature and previous investigations on the topics related to the researched field. Much attention will be paid to examining the important connections between the use of social networks and social media websites and students’ motivation in learning the English language. The research conclusions will also be based on the analysis of the participants’ responses to the questions about the role and effectiveness of social networks and social media websites in motivating them to learn the English language.

References

Akbari, E., Eghtesad, S., & Simons, R. (2012). Students’ attitudes towards the use of social networks for learning the English language. ICT for Language Learning, 5(1), 1-6.

Blankenship, M. (2011). How social media can and should impact higher education. The Education Digest, 76(7), 39-42.

Clark, C., & Gruba, C. (2010). The use of social networking sites for foreign language learning: An autoethnographic study of Livemocha. Proceedings Ascilite Sydney, 5(1), 164-173.

Luo, L. (2010). Social networking websites: An exploratory study of student peer socializing in an online LIS Program. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 51(2), 86-102.

Mills, N. (2011). Situated Learning through Social Networking Communities: The Development of Joint Enterprise, Mutual Engagement, and a Shared Repertoire. CALICO Journal, 28(2), 345-368.

Okoro, E. (2012). Integrating social media technologies in Higher Education: Costs-benefits analysis. Journal of International Education Research, 8(3), 255-256.

Pino, D. (2008). Web-based English as a second language instruction and learning: Strengths and limitations. Distance Learning, 5(2), 65-71.

Razak, N., Saeed, M., & Ahmad, Z. (2013). Adopting Social Networking Sites (SNSs) as Interactive Communities among English Foreign Language (EFL) Learners in Writing: Opportunities and Challenges. English Language Teaching, 6(11), 187-198.

Shaltry, C., Henriksen, D., Wu, M., & Dickson, P. (2013). Situated Learning with Online Portfolios, Classroom Websites and Facebook. TechTrends, 57(3), 20-25.

Sockett, G., & Toffoli, D. (2012). Beyond learner autonomy: A dynamic systems view of the informal learning of English in virtual online communities. ReCALL: the Journal of EUROCALL, 24(2), 138-151.

Stack, M., & Kelly, D. (2006). Popular media, education, and resistance. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(1), 5-26,344-345.

Taecharungroj, V. (2013). Homework on Social Media: Benefits and Outcomes of Facebook as a Pedagogic Tool. International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning, 3(3), 258-259.