Exploring the roles of social participation in mobile social media learning: A social network analysis
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Authors: Norman, H., Nordin, N., Din, R., Ally, M. and Dogan, H.
Journal: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Social media is increasingly becoming an essential platform for social connectivity in our daily lives. The availability of mobile technology has further fueled its importance - making it a ubiquitous tool for social interaction. However, limited studies have been conducted to investigate roles of social participation in this field. Thus, the study investigates roles of social participation in mobile social media learning using the "ladder of participation and mastering." Participants were students taking an educational technology course in a local university. The study was conducted in a four-month period. Data was collected from discussions while learning among the students a social media platform, Facebook groups, on mobile devices. The data was analyzed using a social network analysis tool, NodeXL. Data was analyzed based on egocentric networks, betweeness centrality, and closeness centrality. The findings revealed that there are four roles of social participation in mobile social media, which are: (i) lurkers; (ii) gradually mastering members/passive members; (iii) recognized members; and (iv) coaches. The findings also indicated that over the course of four months, learners can inter-change roles of social participation - becoming more central or less central in learning discussions. As a result, a roles of social participation continuum for mobile social media learning is proposed. Future research could be conducted in other fields to investigate whether the continuum produced could be used to understand the relationship between mobile social media learning and social participation roles.