There have been extensive debates on either the positive or negative role of using social media for learning purposes; there are also relatively rare discussions on the right grouping method in the social media-enabled and project-based learning environment. In view of the above, the current research addresses the following two research questions: (1) Does the usage of social media influence communication among group members and their task performance? (2) Does tie strength moderate the relationship between social media usage and communication?
In this presentation, we will first discuss the literature on social media usage in Education and the properties of the strong and weak ties. We will then introduce the social constructivism theory as the major theoretical foundation. Third, the research model, hypotheses and methodology will be presented. Last, the data analysis results will be discussed and the conclusion will be given. After listening to this session, the participants will understand that students’ social media usage would positively influence communication in group, and the effective communication online would further boost group task performance. However, contrary to the theory of social constructivism, students’ social media usage (in general) would not directly influence group task performance. Moreover, contradictory to our natural perception, we found a weak tie (loose connection) between two groupmates on Facebook would strengthen the group communication, whereas a strong tie relationship would weaken the communication. This means groupmates with a close relationship on Facebook tend to communicate less in the group project. University teachers can therefore group students with relatively weak ties on social media to enhance communication quality and overall group performance.
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