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Research indicates a direct connection between student motivation and their academic performance (Marinak & Gambrell, 2008). This makes it necessary for pedagogical systems to integrate various elements of motivation for learning during curricula development. The effectiveness of an element in motivating student’s learning will depend on the ability of the elements to possess items that students find interesting (Whyte, 2007).
Thus, integrating interesting activities into the learning curriculum will influence student’s engagement (Alexander, Ryan, & Deci, 2000) and hence enhance their overall performance (Pewewardy, 2002). Although most scholars support the significance of student motivation for learning, the major issue is identifying the actual elements that motivate student’s learning.
People are different and may respond differently to situations (Deci & Vansteenkiste, 2004). Thus, it is always necessary to perform an efficacy analysis for identifying the influence of a particular learning approach on student’s motivational levels.
This paper proposes a research study that would investigate the influence of social media websites on the motivational levels of EFL students. EFL students are non-native speakers of English (Egbert & Thomas, 2001). These students may have difficulty in understanding the courses taught in school owing to their language limitations. Since communication is a significant element for effective learning (Jin & Cortazzi, 1998) EFL students must improve their understanding of English to succeed, and this is achievable through edutainment.
Social media websites have increased in popularity over the past decades (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). These website systems are common for young people, mostly within their schooling years. Since students are usually motivated to learn through activities they enjoy doing (Wigfield, Guthrie, Tonks & Perencevich, 2004), social media websites present an opportunity as a tool for edutainment. Research Questions
The proposed research study will focus on investigating the influence of social media websites on student’s motivational levels. The following questions will guide the research:
- Why is student motivation necessary?
- Why should social media websites be used to motivate students?
- What is the popularity of social media websites among EFL students?
- How often do EFL students use Social Media websites?
- What is the importance of group learning among EFL students?
- What is the relationship between social media based edutainment systems and EFL student’s performance?
To study the relationship between student’s exposures to social media based learning and academic performance. The study will target a group of 200 EFL students. These students will be divided into two groups (control and an experiment group), each comprising of 100 participants.
The participants will be exposed to a social media based learning tool, which allows students to study together via twitter, Facebook and Youtube. The control group will comprise of EFL students that are not exposed to the social media based learning program. The academic grades of all the participants will be compared before and after the experiment. The difference in the academic results will be used to judge the influence of the social media tool on student’s performance.
It is anticipated that social media based learning will lead to an improvement in academic performance via increased student motivation. The proposed research study is limited to EFL students only. The difference between EFL student’s performances before and after they are exposed to the social media website, will inform the basis for concluding the research study. However, it is expected that student’s motivation will be positively influenced by social media based learning.
Alexander, P. Ryan, R. & Deci, E. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 1-7.
Deci, E. & Vansteenkiste, M. (2004). Self-determination theory and basic need satisfaction: Understanding human development in positive psychology. Ricerche di Psichologia, 27(2), 17–34.
Egbert, J. &Thomas, M. (2001). The new frontier: A case study in applying instructional design for distance teacher education. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 9(3), 391-405.
Jin, L. & Cortazzi, M. (1998). The culture the learner brings: A bridge or a barrier? Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Kaplan A. M. & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! the challenges and opportunities of social media, Business Horizons, 53(1), 61-65.
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Marinak, B. & Gambrell, L. (2008). Intrinsic motivation and rewards: What sustains young children’s engagement with text?, Literacy Research and Instruction, 47(1), 9-26.
Pewewardy, C. (2002). Learning styles of American Indian/Alaska native students: A review of the literature and implications for practice. Journal of American Indian Education, 41(2), 3-6.
Whyte, C. (2007). An additional look at orientation programs nationally. National Orientation Directors Association Journal, 15(1), 71-77.
Wigfield, A. Guthrie, J. Tonks, S. & Perencevich, K. (2004). Children’s motivation for reading: Domain specificity and instructional influences. Journal of Educational Research, 97(12), 299-309.