Exploring The Role Of Instagram In Distance Learning And Online Education

updated March 30, 2023
Reading time4 minutes
Guest Author

According to the latest data, Instagram is the fourth most widely used social media platform in the world. However, in terms of educational opportunities, it still does not receive as much attention as other platforms. 

Nevertheless, the overall use of Instagram has grown from 200 million to more than 1.5 billion active users since 2014. Users have a lot of options. They edit photo and video content using numerous filters. They can also accompany their posts with short but to-the-point messages.

The platform also allows you to add searchable hashtags. In addition, you can share stories that are available for a certain period of time. All this allows users to communicate with each other in different ways. For example, Instagram posts often contain carefully prepared and curated images.

Instagram Is Not Just About Vibrant Photos and Stories

Instagram's functionality and design may differentiate it from more text-centric platforms. And this may influence teachers to use the platform differently than other social media. But if you are a student finding the perfect title for your internet essay, you may get some ideas from here as well.

Essay examples and understanding of essay topics are important in the process of your studies. So, do not hesitate to use free essays. After all, in previous research on the use of Instagram by educators, researchers Carpenter and Shelton noted the following. The presence of teacher-entrepreneurs and influential educational figures on Instagram.

They also found that among U.S. educators who posted content, the most common was to share tips, curriculum, and organizational materials.

Instagram and Engaging Students in Online Education

Comprehensive Research

During the Covid pandemic, the George Washington University Board of Trustees conducted and approved comprehensive research. It provided reasoned conclusions about the use of Instagram in online learning. They created individual private Instagram accounts. And to preserve student privacy, separate accounts were created for different courses.

There were undergraduate and graduate accounts. They have been managed by the teachers. During the semester, once a week, teachers posted various lectures and laboratory materials on their Instagram accounts.

They were both text and video. In addition to serious materials, teachers also posted funny facts and memes about interesting aspects of science, popular news related to it, and inspirational quotes about science.

Students were encouraged to share their opinions on posts and post answers to quizzes. Teachers both answered students' questions and posted encouraging emojis for each student's post. At the end of the semester, participants answered a survey that included a wide variety of questions.

What the Study Showed

The study showed that the use of Instagram increased interest in online learning and student spirit. The results also showed that 82% of respondents had previously used the network for educational purposes. This indicates that students use social media on their own to support their learning. However, there were also students who did not use social media for learning. They explained this by distraction and privacy concerns. 

Nevertheless, 73% of the research respondents wanted to use social media during online learning. And 45% agreed that educational posts on Instagram boosted their motivation.

Reasonable Tips

Summarizing the research, there were derived important tips on the effectiveness of Instagram in online learning:

  • Plan and implement a schedule of systematic publications. Otherwise, engagement is lost.
  • Make sure the posts are relevant to the content covered in the course.  So that students can connect with it.
  • Check the feed regularly. Respond in an encouraging way.
  • Encourage learning discussions.
  • Make assignments and quizzes that are not time-consuming or overly difficult.
  • Encourage students to contribute and submit relevant research and articles.
  • Use hashtags if you want to expand your audience and increase your account's visibility. Provided that the courses are not private.

So, despite the fact that social networks are generally considered more of an entertainment medium, they definitely have educational potential.  They give teachers the opportunity to influence the learning process that takes place in a distance format. Also, such a network as Instagram affects student engagement. It affects motivation and interest not only in a particular subject but in education in general.

Researchers suggest that Instagram can help form connections between students and their peers. It can also help form them with teachers. Also, it can promote informal learning and increase engagement in education in the online environment.

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