Examining Collaborative Knowledge Construction in Microblogging-Based Learning Environments

Tian Luo, Lacey A Clifton
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 365-390

The purpose of the study is to provide foundational research to exemplify how knowledge construction takes place in microblogging-based learning environments, to understand learner interaction representing the knowledge construction process, and to analyze learner perception, thereby suggesting a model of delivery for microblogging.

Up-and-coming digital native learners crave the real-time, multimedia, global-interconnectedness of microblogging, yet there has been limited research that specifically proposes a working model of Twitter’s classroom integration for designers and practitioners without bundling it in with other social media tools.

This semester-long study utilized a case-study research design via a multi-dimensional approach in a hybrid classroom with both face-to-face and online environments. Tweets were collected from four types of activities and coded based on content within their contextual setting. Twenty-four college students participated in the study.

The findings shed light on the process of knowledge construction in mi-croblogging and reveal key types of knowledge manifested during learning activities. The study also proposes a model for delivering microblogging to formal learning environments applicable to various contexts for designers and practitioners.

There are distinct learner interaction patterns representing the process of knowledge construction in microblogging activities ranging from low-order to high-order cognitive tasks. Students generally were in favor of the Twitter integration in this study.

The three central activities (exploring hashtags, discussion topics, and participating in live chats) along with the backchannel activity formulate a working model that represents the sequential process of Twitter integration into classrooms.

Microblogging allows learners omnichannel access while hashtags can filter the global noise down to meaningful bytes of information to target formal and informal learning. When shared amongst global users for participatory communication, it gives access to collaborative knowledge. This study gives practitioners and designers a working model to leverage microblogging and connect to their tech-savvy learners for more connected learning.

Future research may include experiments of this proposed model for delivering microblogging in: prolonged studies; compared to other microblogging methodologies; in non-hybrid delivery models such as asynchronous-only; in other academic or professional disciplines; or in other educational age ranges.

knowledge construction, social media, microblogging, Twitter
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