Baird & Fisher make a compelling argument that social networking and social media can support neomillennial learning styles in both online and face to face models of education. Rooted deeply in adult and social learning theories, the concept of social networking and social media to enhance student learning has become not an emerging trend, but a necessity.
The basic theories to support these new design strategies are largely based on Knowels and Mager. They assert five learning assumptions about adult learning, which include self concept, experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and a motivation to learn (p. 6). From this theory, Baird and Fisher tie pedagogy, and andragogy and learning outcomes to applications in educational technology.
Baird & Fisher use research by Gagne as a baseline to tie theory and pedagogy to educational technology. He Gagne developed “9 Types of Instructional Events” (p. 7) that is which are the lens through which learning is viewed. They note, “This is a unique way of understanding the way that external instructional events, such as social media, can lead to internal learning processes and forseeing ways that new technologies can empower improved modes for learning.” (p. 7).
Although they get a bit too far into the weeds with when expounding on HTML code and more back-end technical specifications, they do make some great discoveries regarding the possible applications of some social media including podcasting, wikis, tagging, and blogs. One of the article’s greatest strengths is it’s its bibliography which was filled more with HTML links rather than academic journals. This is a sign that research is rare on these topics and more writing and publishing is required. A consideration that is still debated however is the concept that neomillenials are “wired” to use these tools while more adult learners are not. The jury is still out whether this is something that should be debated. Further research is definitely needed in this area to determine if age gives learners an edge when using social media.
Baird, D. E., & Fisher, M. (2006). Neomillennial user experience design strategies: utilizing social networking media to support “always on” learning styles. Journal of educational technology systems. 34(1), 5.