Social media in higher education: A review of their uses, benefits and limitations

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


As a prevalent type of internet technology for social interaction and collaboration, social media have been increasingly used for educational purposes. This paper presents a review of the research work on their uses, benefits and limitations for teaching and learning in higher education contexts. It covers a total of 77 articles published from 2010 to 2019 which were collected from Scopus and Google Scholar. The uses of social media revolved around two major areas—as a learning management system and a means to enhance students’ engagement. The benefits of using social media covered students’ satisfying experience in collaborative learning, engagement in learning activities, real-time communication, and knowledge sharing, as well as communities of practice; and such benefits have been shown to have a relationship with the improvement of learning outcomes. The limitations covered concerns about blurring boundaries between public and private life and between teachers and students; the effectiveness for the construction of knowledge; a lack of pedagogical and technical skills; and compatibility with instructional design. The studies also reveal the changing role of teachers and their need to innovate teaching practices with effectively utilised features of social media. Finally, the results suggest future work to be done for promoting the educational use of social media and enhancing their effectiveness, such as support from institutional policies on technology-enhanced learning and the promotion of teaching innovations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology in Education. Innovations for Online Teaching and Learning - 5th International Conference, ICTE 2020, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsLap-Kei Lee, Leong Hou U, Fu Lee Wang, Simon K. Cheung, Oliver Au, Kam Cheong Li
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event5th International Conference on Technology in Education, ICTE 2020 - Macao, China
Duration: 19 Aug 202022 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference5th International Conference on Technology in Education, ICTE 2020


  • Engagement
  • Higher education
  • Interaction
  • Learning outcomes
  • Social media
  • Web 2.0


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