oa South African Journal of Information Management - Use of social media platforms for improving academic performance at Further Education and Training colleges : original research
Background : The National Certificate Vocational (NC[V]) curriculum offered by Further Education and Training (FET) colleges was introduced in 2007 to address the skills shortage in South Africa. Information Technology (IT) lecturers encountered a number of challenges in delivering lessons throughout the course, which affected the academic performance of learners. The biggest challenges identified were the lack of adequate contact hours for the course and inconsistency in the way in which final examination papers were set.
Objectives : The aim of the project was to investigate the use of: (1) a knowledge portal for verifying the quality of assessments by lecturers and (2) social media to increase contact time with FET college students in an attempt to improve their academic performance.
Method : The NC(V) level 3 student test scores for 2011 were compared to those of 2012. In addition to the test scores, students also received a questionnaire so as to determine their perceptions on social media usage. Lecturers also received a questionnaire on their perception of the knowledge portal.
Results : The data collected from seven lecturers and 38 students indicated a 35% (from 30% - 65%) improvement in academic performance after the introduction of the interventions, that is social media and a knowledge portal; an indication of the importance of electronic media in enhancing learning.
Conclusion : The research offered FET lecturers an additional method for learning and teaching in that they could use the knowledge portal to set up quality assessments for the students and social media to increase contact learning time.
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