Students, social network technology and learning in higher education: Visions of collaborative knowledge construction vs. the reality of knowledge sharing.

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Despite visions of social network technology (SNT) for collaborative knowledge construction, recent research in secondary schools suggest that students use these tools mainly for knowledge sharing of study-related artifacts. We extend these findings to higher education settings and report on two survey studies that map characteristics of students’ self-directed use of SNTs for study purposes, in undergraduate university programs (N = 264) and teacher training colleges (N = 449). The combined findings confirm that students use SNTs extensively for uploading, linking and downloading study-related artifacts in peer-directed SNT groups. They regard these practices positively and believe they improve academic achievements. Sharing was predicted by positive attitudes toward sharing and collectivist value orientations, motivated overall by prosocial reasons and less frequent in competitive study programs. Use of shared materials was associated with performance-avoidance achievement goals and lower GPA. Findings, directions for future research and implications are discussed in the context of learning theories, as well the knowledge sharing literature.


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Last updated on 04/14/2021