PurposeDigital India’s attempts to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. This research examines three questions: What is the educational importance of social media in Indian higher education? What gains and dangers does it pose when used for formal learning? Could informal learning via technology powerfully supplement learning through the formal system?Design/methodology/approachIn total, 640 students were contacted through email lists provided by their institutions after these institutions had obtained their consent to participate in the study. The response rate is worked out at 44.84 per cent. Telephone interviews were conducted with 22 “veterans” in the field of higher education in India. All this provided areas of importance on which this study is based.FindingsIndia is no doubt experimenting with more creative methods of learning and teaching. Educational technology is at embryonic stage compared to many of the advanced countries. The results show that even when all facilities are present, students are not fully taking advantage of the benefits technology affords for formal learning. Not only is there a digital divide between generations but also within generations. How the technology is integrated into the learning process is important. The entire learning infrastructure is certainly available in India and it is struggling to meet student expectations and offer a more dynamic and appropriate pedagogy.Practical implicationsThis paper throws light on models explicit to the Indian scene in how students can benefit from social media beyond the classroom. It discusses challenges in its adoption in Indian higher education and ways to meet these challenges.Social implicationsTechnology-led learning brings about a difference and the present generation in India is better equipped to tackle the challenges of the workplace, will be helpful to their employers and would fit well into a global business environment.Originality/valueBecause of the relative newness of the approach in India and fairly restricted use in the Indian higher education system, the impact of social media on student engagement in the higher education sector in India is not fully known.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 12, 2018