Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning


  • Baiyun Chen University of Central Florida
  • Thomas Bryer University of Central Florida



Social media, qualitative study, public administration, instructional strategy, formal learning, informal learning, social networking


Despite the high popularity of personal use of online social media, a low percentage of students and instructors use them for educational purposes. This qualitative study explores the use of social media among faculty in the discipline of public administration in the United States. Eight instructors participated in telephone interviews about their experiences and perceptions of using social media for teaching and learning. Instructors perceive that informal learning using social media could be facilitated by instructors and integrated into formal learning environments for enriched discussions, increased engagement, and broad connections. This study provides qualitative empirical support for social learning theories while offering strategies for and examples of how social media can be used to connect formal and informal learning.

Author Biography

Baiyun Chen, University of Central Florida

Dr. Baiyun Chen is an instructional designer at the Center for Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Her background spans from design of learning technologies, research methods and language teaching. Over the past decade she has accumulated extensive experiences in teaching, design and development of online courses and training seminars for both K12 and higher education. She completed her PhD degree in Instructional Technology at UCF in 2007.
Baiyun published peer reviewed book chapters and articles on Quarterly Review of Distance Education, International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, and Journal of Computer Information Systems. She has actively participated in professional conferences at local, national and international levels, presenting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conferences, the Association of Educational Communications & Technology (AECT) conferences, the EDUCAUSE conferences, SLOAN conferences, and others. She has developed and taught courses/workshops on instructional technology, learning theories and research methods. 
Her current research interests mainly focus on use of social media technologies and their impact on teaching and learning, design and evaluation of E-Learning systems. She is also involved in projects related to mobile learning, ePortfolio, cognitive load in learning and faculty teaching readiness assessment.



How to Cite

Chen, B., & Bryer, T. (2012). Investigating instructional strategies for using social media in formal and informal learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(1), 87–104.



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