Skip to main content

College students’ perceived learning environment and their social media engagement in activities unrelated to class work

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the connection between students’ perceived constructivist learning environment and their involvement in activities unrelated to class work via social media engagement (SME), while considering the moderating role of their openness to diversity and challenge (ODC) in explaining both variables. Another aim was to measure the impact of SME on students’ achievement (GPA). Data were gathered from 271 undergraduate students. According to the structural equation modeling results, a negative coefficient result was shown between the perception of the learning environment as constructivist and SME constructs. ODC was found positively connected to both variables. The students’ GPA was mainly explained by their cultural affiliation. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  • Acquisti, A., & Gross, R. (2006). Imagined communities: Awareness, information sharing, and privacy on the Facebook. In Proceedings from privacy enhancing technologies workshop, 2830 June 2006 (pp. 1–22). Retrieved from http://people.cs.pitt.edu/~chang/265/proj10/zim/imaginedcom.pdf.

  • Alt, D. (2014). The construction and validation of a new scale for measuring features of constructivist learning environments in higher education. Frontline Learning Research, 2(3). doi:10.14786/flr.v2i2.68.

  • Alt, D. (2015a). Assessing the contribution of constructivist based academic learning environment to academic self-efficacy in higher education. Learning Environments Research, 18, 47–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alt, D. (2015b). College students’ academic motivation, media engagement and fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 111–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alt, D. (2016a). Assessing the relationships between student characteristics, self-efficacy and motivation for learning and constructivist learning perceptions in different higher education settings. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 56(3), 374–399.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alt, D. (2016b). Students’ perceived constructivist learning environment: Empirical examples of the comparison between facet theory with smallest space analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. European Journal of Psychological Assessment. doi:10.1027/1015-5759/a000358.

  • Alt, D. (2017). Constructivist learning and openness to diversity and challenge in higher education environments. Learning Environments Research, 20, 99–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms: Goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261–271.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arnold, N., & Paulus, T. (2010). Using a social networking site for experiential learning: Appropriating, lurking, modeling and community building. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 188–196.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bachrach, Y., Kosinski, M., Graepel, T., Kohli, P., & Stillwell, D. (2012). Personality and patterns of Facebook usage. In Proceedings of the third annual ACM web science conference, 22–24 June 2012 (pp. 36–44). New York: ACM Press.

  • Bentler, P. M. (2006). EQS 6 structural equations program manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowman, N. A. (2014). Conceptualizing openness to diversity and challenge: Its relation to college experiences, achievement, and retention. Innovative Higher Education, 39, 277–291.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 23, 513–531.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Correa, T., Hinsley, A. W., & de Zúñiga, H. G. (2010). Who interacts on the Web? The intersection of users’ personality and social media use. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(2), 247–253.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 1143–1168.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erstad, O. (2011). Weaving the context of digital literacy. In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen, & R. Säljö (Eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices (pp. 295–310). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fang, B. (2009). From distraction to engagement: Wireless devices in the classroom. EDUCAUSE Quarterly. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/distraction-engagement-wireless-devices-classroom.

  • Fewkes, A. M., & McCabe, M. (2012). Facebook: Learning tool or distraction? Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(3), 92–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Galagan, P. (2010). Burp, chatter, tweet: New sounds in the classroom. T+D, 64(7), 26–29.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gellin, A. (2003). The effect of undergraduate student involvement on critical thinking: A meta-analysis of the literature 1991–2000. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 745–762.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gemmill, E., & Peterson, M. (2006). Technology use among college students: Implications for student affairs professionals. NASPA Journal, 43(2), 280–300.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gijbels, D., van de Watering, G., Dochy, F., & van den Bossche, P. (2006). New learning environments and constructivism: The students’ perspective. Instructional Science, 34(3), 213–226.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heafner, T. L., & Friedman, A. M. (2008). Wikis and constructivism in secondary social studies: Fostering a deeper understanding. Computers in the Schools, 25, 288–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Howe, N., & Strauss, W. (2007). Millennials go to college: Strategies for a new generation on campus (2nd ed.). Great Falls, VA: Lifecourse Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, C. (2011). Your students love social media… and so can you. Teaching Tolerance, 39, 38–41.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jones, N., Blackey, H., Fitzgibbon, K., & Chew, E. (2010). Get out of MySpace! Computers & Education, 54, 776–782.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Junco, R., Helbergert, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27, 119–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Katz, E., Blumler, J. G., & Gurevitch, M. (1975). Uses and gratifications research. Public Opinion Quarterly, 37(4), 509–515.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kietzmann, J. H., Hermkens, K., McCarthy, I. P., & Silvestre, B. S. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons, 54, 241–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kock, N., & Lynn, G. S. (2012). Lateral collinearity and misleading results in variance-based SEM: An illustration and recommendations. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 13(7), 546–580.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lahn, L. C. (2011). Professional learning as epistemic trajectories. In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen, & R. Säljö (Eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices (pp. 53–68). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lucas, U., & Milford, P. (2009). Key aspects of teaching and learning in accounting, business and management. In H. Fry, S. Ketteridge, & S. Marshall (Eds.), A handbook for teaching and learning in higher education. Enhancing academic practice (3rd ed., pp. 382–404). Abingdon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • McDonald, R. P., & Ho, M.-H. R. (2002). Principles and practice in reporting structural equation analyses. Psychological Methods, 7, 64–82.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McMahon, M., & Pospisil, R. (2005). Laptops for a digital lifestyle: Millennial students and wireless mobile technologies. In Proceedings of the 22nd ASCILITE conference, 4-7 December 2005 (pp. 421–431). Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/brisbane05/blogs/proceedings/49_McMahon%20&%20Pospisil.pdf.

  • Milem, J. F., & Umbach, P. D. (2003). The influence of precollege factors on students’ predispositions regarding diversity activities in college. Journal of College Student Development, 44(5), 611–624.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nicoletti, A., & Merriman, W. (2007). Teaching millennial generation students. Momentum, 38(2), 28–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oblinger, D. G., & Oblinger, J. L. (Eds.) (2005). Educating the Net generation. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101a.pdf.

  • Ophira, E., Nass, C., & Wagner, D. (2009). Cognitive control in media multitaskers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of United States of America, 106(37), 15583–15587. doi:10.1073/pnas.0903620106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ophus, J. D., & Abbitt, J. T. (2009). Exploring the potential perceptions of social networking systems in university courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(4), 639–648.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pascarella, E. T., Edison, M., Nora, A., Hagedorn, L. S., & Terenzini, P. T. (1996). Influences on students’ openness to diversity and challenge in the first year of college. The Journal of Higher Education, 67(2), 174–195.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pascarella, E. T., Palmer, B., Moye, M., & Pierson, C. (2001). Do diversity experiences influence the development of critical thinking? Journal of College Student Development, 42, 257–271.

    Google Scholar 

  • Price, C. (2009). Why don’t my students think I’m groovy? The new “R”s for engaging millennial learners. The Teaching Professor, 23. Retrieved from http://www.drtomlifvendahl.com/Millennial%20Characturistics.pdf.

  • Price, L. (2014). Modelling factors for predicting student learning outcomes in higher education. In D. Gijbels, V. Donche, J. T. E. Richardson, & J. D. Vermunt (Eds.), Learning patterns in higher education: Dimensions and research perspectives (pp. 56–77). London and New York: Routledge and EARLI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R., & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1841–1848.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Resnick, L. (1987). Education and learning to think. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sana, F., Weston, T., & Cepeda, N. J. (2013). Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers. Computers & Education, 62, 24–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schwarz, B., & De Groot, R. (2011). Breakdowns between teachers, educators and designers in elaborating new technologies as precursors of change in education to dialogic thinking. In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen, & R. Säljö (Eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices (pp. 261–277). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shirky, C. (2014). Why Clay Shirky banned laptops, tablets and phones from his classroom. Education Shift. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2014/09/why-clay-shirky-banned-laptops-tablets-and-phones-from-his-classroom/.

  • Stahl, G. (2011). Social practices of group cognition in virtual match teams. In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen, & R. Säljö (Eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices (pp. 190–205). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinfield, C., Ellison, N., Lampe, C., & Vitak, J. (2013). Online social network sites and the concept of social capital. In F. L. Lee, L. Leung, J. S. Qiu, & D. Chu (Eds.), Frontiers in new media research (pp. 115–131). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Subrahmanyam, K., Reich, S., Waechter, N., & Espinoza, G. (2008). Online and offline social networks: Use of social networking sites by emerging adults. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 29(6), 420–433.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Suresh, K. (2013). Social media participatory cultures—A study of the dynamics between user personality and Facebook use. International Journal of Current Research, 5(4), 925–930.

    Google Scholar 

  • Top, E. (2012). Blogging as a social medium in undergraduate courses: Sense of community best predictor of perceived learning. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 24–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vermunt, J. D., Bronkhorst, L. H., & Martinez-Fernandez, J. R. (2014). The dimensionality of student learning patterns in different cultures. In D. Gijbels, V. Donche, J. T. E. Richardson, & J. D. Vermunt (Eds.), Learning patterns in higher education: Dimensions and research perspectives (pp. 33–55). London and New York: Routledge and EARLI.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wilson, M. E. (2004). Teaching, learning, and millennial students. New Directions for Student Services, 106, 59–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dorit Alt.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Alt, D. College students’ perceived learning environment and their social media engagement in activities unrelated to class work. Instr Sci 45, 623–643 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-017-9418-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-017-9418-0

Keywords

  • Constructivist learning environment
  • Social media engagement
  • Openness to diversity and challenge
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Higher education