A teaching model using social network sites

Vítor Santos, Filipe Montargil, José Martins, Ramiro Gonçalves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


New media and social network sites (SNSs) currently play an important role in our society and in our daily practices (Boyd and Ellison 2008; Lister et al 2009; Watkins 2009; Papacharissi 2011). This necessarily affects the way we learn together, as explored in research spanning several areas. Regarding higher education, Facebook has an increasingly prominent position and is more widely investigated as an instructional tool in the college classroom than most SNSs (Tess 2013). From the perspective of teaching and learning, the Web 2.0 is seen as an enabler of a vision in which the student will find information potentially contradicting the knowledge acquired through the traditional formal learning process (Santos 2009). This feature leads to a continuous discussion of the facts, topics and subjects having an awareness of a common range of formal established knowledge shared in a given community and, at the same time, the joint reflection and debate within this same community. This new reality, in which the roles of the teacher and the student (or the roles of who teaches and who learns) become fuzzy, difficult to distinguish clearly, also brings the need for new ways to understand, describe, and explain the learning process and the ways in which it develops. In this paper we use the concept of social e-learning (Martins et al. 2012), building on the connectivist perspective (Siemens 2004, 2006, 2008). Social e-learning can be considered as a learning process whereby the Internet represents a space for participation, sharing, and collaboration, with new opportunities to create, share content, and interact with others (Bennett 2012) - an open door to build more open and flexible knowledge, where students build and rebuild their own path. A concrete format for its implementation is proposed and a genuine experience is presented and discussed. The social e-learning model presented in this article has been successfully applied in a training course in the field of business communication, held by Citeforma. Citeforma is a Portuguese vocational training centre, jointly managed by SITESE (a services workers and technicians union) and IEFP (the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on e-Learning, ECEL 2016
PublisherAcademic Conferences Ltd
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218180
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Education
  • Learning communities
  • Social learning
  • Social media
  • Social network sites
  • Web 2.0


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