The Efficacy of Social Media Technologies in Academia: A Pedagogical Bliss or Digital Fad?

Charles Kivunja


Efficacy of a teaching strategy technically refers to the ability of that strategy to produce a desired or intended learning outcomes. To date, there is little information on the efficacy of social media technologies in academia and it is likely to be some time before their effectiveness is proven. It is therefore legitimate to ask the question, is their use in education a pedagogical bliss or merely a digital fad? To answer this question, this paper reports the current results of a study being conducted at a University in Australia to investigate the efficacy of using Google Circles Learning Communities (GCLC) social media technologies to facilitate teaching, learning, assessing and curriculum development for 2nd year, Bachelor of Education students in a pre-service teacher training award. The digital structures for the study were set up in the 1st trimester of 2015 with a small cohort of only 35 students. Those structures were then used in the 2nd trimester to conduct a formal research study involving a much larger cohort of 106 students. As the research is still ongoing, finalized results are yet to be obtained. The results reported here are drawn from the findings in the data gathered over the first five weeks of trimester 2 relating to the use of cutting-edge social media technologies to help students engage with and develop the Super 4Cs skills of the 21st century, namely Critical thinking, Collaboration, Creativity and Communication. The results indicate that while there is some anxiety among students about using social media technologies for academic work, there is a willingness to have a go. The data also provide evidence that students are keen to engage with the Super 4Cs of the 21st century, and that the use of social media technologies gives them an opportunity to do so. In particular the data provide evidence that the use of these technologies has potential to bridge gaps between internal and external students.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.