Saturday, August 15, 2015

Learning Theory and Social Media

I read this really interesting piece on learning theory for medical educators interested in the use of social media.  The authors hint that it is really important for educators to consider an understanding of learning theory when integrating social media into the learning process.  I agree wholeheartedly for many reasons.  

First, after having given a recent grand rounds (to two separate audiences) on the topic of learning theory in medical education and how technology can help, I feel that it is very important to reflect on these theories for a better understanding of why learners use (or don't use) social media and other emerging technology.  Communities of practice (CoPs) are a great way to bring groups of people together around a common theme, and virtual/electronic CoPs are catching on in medicine and medical education.

Second, it is important, as the authors mention, to consider connectivism and constructivism as key theories behind why some learn with social media (and may prefer to learn via such tools).  Using constructivism, learners should be reflective, and the teacher needs to adopt a facilitative approach (instead of being an "expert").

For the educators out there who are integrating social media into your learning methods, which theory or theories reflect why you use social media or how your learners use social media?


  1. Hi! Great post about learning theory, meded, and social media. My colleague Sandra Binford and I are trying to use Twitter to bring a group of people together around a common theme: support for publishing CME outcome reports in the peer-reviewed literature. We are running a fun contest, called "CME Tweet Fest" from now to mid-September. We would be honored if you would retweet one of our daily article tweets (they come out around the lunch hour each day, Eastern time.) We have tweeted 2 so far and plan 28 more. Each tweet takes you to a different published CME outcomes report. A quick review of contest rules is at THANKS! - Don Harting
    P.S. Love your blog theme - I chose the very same one for our contest rules page, due to the birds in the background.

  2. By the way, Sandra's Twitter handle is @SHB_CMEedit and mine is @CME_Scout.

  3. Another by the way: Sandra and I are definitely learning as we go along here. We are NOT experts in running Twitter contests. But we are trying to learn how to integrate social media more fully into the learning process, and to do that requires doing new things and taking risks. I'm sure that after this contest is over, Sandra and I will reflect on what worked and what did not. We are trying to stay humble, adopting a facilitative approach, because, as I said earlier, we are certainly not experts.