How does students' general academic achievement moderate the implications of social networking on specific levels of learning performance?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Computers and Education, 2020, 144
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© 2019 This study examines to what extent the use of social networking sites impacts different levels of learning. In particular, we examine how post-secondary students' general academic achievement, reflected by grade point average scores, moderate these impacts. The impacts of social networking noted in the literature vary considerably, with positive and negative implications on student learning noted. Examining the moderating effects of students' general academic achievement may address the reasons for such inconsistency in impacts observed. To better understand the implications of social networking on student learning, we examine the implications of student time spent in total on Facebook and on different reasons for using Facebook through a series of ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions. The data on students' social networking use is collected via a survey and data retrieved from institution records on student performance. The context of this study is a first year equation and problem solving centric subject, consistent with the subject matter emphasised in business and STEM disciplines. The findings indicate social networking use puts students at risk who are generally lower academic achievers; in particular their performance is lower across the least difficult levels of learning performance with greater Facebook use. In contrast the performance of higher academic achievers is not significantly impacted. The findings highlight the importance of considering students' general academic achievement as a moderator of the relationship between social networking use and learning performance, and also the importance of considering the impact on specific levels of learning.
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