The Use of Social Media and the Academic Performance of Students

A Study of Taraba State University Jalingo in Nigeria

Master's Thesis, 2019

101 Pages, Grade: 72.0











1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Research Problem
1.3 Aims and Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Methodology
1.7 Definitions
1.8 Delimitation and Scope
1.9 Outline of the Thesis
1.11 Conclusion



2.0 Introduction
2.1 Concept of Social Media
2.1.1 Use of Social Media: Global Perspectives
2.1.2 Use of Social Media in the United States of America
2.1.3 Use of Social Media in Nigeria
2.2 Social Media in Education
2.2.1 Use of Facebook in Education
2.2.2 Use of Twitter in Education
2.2.3 Use of WhatsApp in Education
2.2.4 Use of Google+ in Education
2.2.5 Other Social Media platforms used in Education
2.3 The Learning Process and Technology
2.4 Academic Performance
2.5 Facilitators and Barriers of Academic Performance
2.5.1 Facilitators of Academic Performance
2.5.2 Barriers of Academic performance
2.6 Conclusion



3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Methodology
3.2 The Research Onion
3.3 Research Philosophy
3.4 Research Approach
3.5 Methodological Choice
3.6 Research Strategies
3.6.1 Research Design
3.6.2 Sampling
3.7 Time Horizon
3.8. Techniques and Procedures:
3.8.1 Data Collection:
3.8.2 Data Analysis
3.8.3 Formation of Categories for Data Analysis
3.9 Credibility
3.10 Ethical Considerations
3.11 Conclusion



4.0 Introduction
4.1 Background of Taraba State University
4.2 Strategic Analysis of Taraba State University
4.2.1 Porter’s Value Chain Model
4.2.2 Application of McKinsey 7S Model on Taraba State University
4.2.3 Using Porter’s Five Forces to Analyse Taraba State University
4.3 Data Presentation and Analysis
4.3.1 Interview
4.3.2 Online Survey Questionnaires
4.3.3 Observation
4.4 Conclusion



5.0 Introduction
5.1 The Research Questions
5.2 Perception of Social Media.
5.3 Use of Social Media for Educational Purposes
5.4 Improving Students’ Academic Performance Using Social Media
5.5 Factors Influencing use of social media
5.6 Recommendations
5.6.1 Short Term Recommendations
5.6.2 Long term Recommendation
5.7 Solution and Design Framework of Google Plus (google +)
5.7.4 Adding, following people and sharing on Google +
5.7.5 Benefits of Using Google Plus in Education
5.8 Conclusion



6.1 Conclusion
6.2 Limitations
6.3 Direction for Further Research



7.0 Introduction
7.2 Project Management
7.3 Project Management Life Circle
7.3.1 Project Initiation
7.3.2 Project Planning
7.3.3 Project Execution
7.3.4 Closure
7.3 Challenges Faced
7.4 Lessons Learnt



This research is dedicated to God Almighty and to my late Father, Rev. Amos A. Wadings.


I would like to appreciate my supervisor Dr. Rochelle Sassman, for her guidance, review and insightful contribution and support throughout the duration of this project. She was very encouraging and inspirational during the process of writing this thesis. I will always value the time spent under her supervision; I have learned so much from her wealth of experience. To my second supervisor Dr. Awinder Kaur; all I would say is many thanks.

I am indebted to Prof. Steve Galliford, Dean School of Postgraduate Studies at Coventry University for given me the opportunity to study at the University. I would also like to thank my Course Leader Dr. Stella-Maris Orim for her great innovations in the M.I.T. Course. I owe Mr. Peter Every, a great deal of appreciation for introducing Research Methods to us, which is indeed, instrumental to the success of this research. I would also like to thank my lecturers: Dr. Tariq Aslan, Dr. Magesh Nagarajan, Dr. Yasir Khan, Dr. Jacek Lewandowski, Dr. David Croft and all Registry Staff of the Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing and indeed School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics of Coventry University for working hard to ensure that my studies is well supported and my welfare is well catered for during the period of my studies.

I am very appreciative of my darling wife, Mrs. Rahab N. Mathias and my children Charles, Tony and Joy for standing by me in prayers and support towards ensuring I succeed in my academic pursuit at this prestigious university. I would like to appreciate my mother, Mama Maryamu Amos who always believed in me and encourages me to trust in God; I am deeply indebted to her. To my sisters and brothers Anna David, Hannatu Maxwell, Ruth Newton, Hauwa Joseph; Asp. Maxwell Masoda, Levi Joseph, Haruna Jatau, Jonah Ayuba, Insp. Ezra J. Bamfo and many other family members, I thank them all for their prayers, supports and encouragements.

I would like to appreciate the Provost, College of Education Zing, Taraba State, Nigeria, Dr. Mike Dio Jen for exercising his executive powers to grant me the opportunity to undertake this Masters Programme. I do appreciate the Vice Chancellor, Taraba State University, Professor Vincent Ado Tenebe and indeed Management Team of the University for granting me permission to undertake this research in the university.

My special appreciation goes to my intimate friend Mr. Christopher C. Abuka for his constant encouragements, without wish, this achievement would have been a mirage. My friends Insp. Maigaskiya Francis, Mr. Tony O. Akpu, Mr. Samuel Ukwe, Insp. Jonathan Haziel, Barr. Zachariah Ma’aji and my Church Chairman Dsp. Hyginus Dishon (rtd) and indeed the Bishop and entire LCCN Church members of Taraba Diocese, I appreciate them all for their prayers.

This acknowledgement will be lacking in merit without appreciating my fellow MSc. Management of Information Technology (MIT/MIS) students, with whom I spent a great year of study and had fun together, more specially Manami Yamada, Dolapo Mohammed, Alex Mwenda, Fidelis Matibri, Lucia Kilmayo, Jessica, Aza Alabri, Adedoyin Adekunle, Abdalla Shinkafi, Ashu Gupta, Chucks Agu and Essa Maken. I appreciate sharing your talents during the programme.

Finally, my sincere thanks goes to students of Taraba State University who participated in interview and online survey, more especially Mr. Kayode Babatunde, a postgraduate student of the university who was my first interviewee that linked me to other students of the university to be able to achieve the snowball sampling technique adopted. This work wouldn’t have been possible without their inputs; I am indeed grateful to them all.

To God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ be the Glory.


In recent times, institutions of higher learning around the world are exploring various technologies that encourage active learning. One of such technologies is the use of social media in building learning communities. Learning communities have assisted students’ learning process by means of collaboration, sharing of ideas and information in their respective subject areas. This is in accordance with the benefits of mobile technologies / ubiquitous computing, internet of a thing and emerging technologies such as web 2.0 and social networking that has captivated the attention of students globally. It is this development that has triggered this research on use of social media to improve students’ academic performance in Nigeria. The study was guided by the interpretivist theoretical perspective which follows a qualitative approach. The case study method and triangulation sampling were employed for indept data collection. Interviews, online survey and observation were used as sources of primary data collection. Constant comparative analysis method was used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that Taraba State University students have access to social media, but there is no official social media platform to build learning communities for the improvement of students’ academic performances in the university. Google+ was recommended as a tool that will promote the use of social media towards building learning communities for the improvement of academic performance of students in Taraba State University, Jalingo and other Nigerian universities.

Keywords : social media, social media in education, academic performance, facilitators of academic performance, learning community.


Figure 1: Research Structure

Figure 2: Social Media platforms

Figure 3: Estimated Social Media Users 2018

Figure 4: Percentage of Time Spent on Social Media

Figure 5: Most Dominant Social Media in US

Figure 6: The Research Onions

Figure 7: Educational Value Chain Model

Figure 8: Mckinsey 7S Model.

Figure 9: Porter’s Five Forces

Figure 10: Respondents’ Gender.

Figure 11: Respondents’ Age Groups.

Figure 12: Respondents Level of Study.

Figure 13: Respondent’s Course of Study.

Figure 14: Description of Social media

Figure 15: Most Used Social Networking Sites

Figure 16: Frequency of Social Media Usage

Figure 17: Reasons for using social media as a student

Figure 18: Group members on social media provide help..

Figure 19: Understand topic better on social media than traditional class.

Figure 20: Flexibility of social media improves performance

Figure 21: Referring to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter to clarify topics

Figure 22: Social media help develop more communication skills.

Figure 23: Using social media increase technology skill.

Figure 24: Using social media increases group work

Figure 25: Online interaction gives confidence in the classroom

Figure 26: Social Media helps with more ideas from group members.

Figure 27: Social Media has positive impact on students’ education.

Figure 28: Factors motivating students to use social media

Figure 29: Google+ Window

Figure 30: Google + sign up page

Figure 31: Google + Create page.

Figure 32: Customizing School Google+ page

Figure 33: Adding, following and sharing on google+.

Figure 34: Sharing options on google+.

Figure 35: Google + Suite tools….

Figure 36: Project Management Life-cycle

Figure 37: Work breakdown structure (WBS) showing project breakdown

Figure 38: Gantt chart showing the project schedules.


Table 1: Definition of McKinsey 7S Model Elements.

Table 2: Risk Register .


1.0 Introduction

This chapter outlines the purpose for this research. It begins with the background of the study and details of the research problems. The chapter also discusses the research aims and objectives, research questions, significance of the study and methodology used for this research, followed by definitions of terms and the delimitation of the research. Finally, the chapter is concluded with an outline of the broad structure of the research.

1.1 Background

The evolution of social media and other technologies like Web 2.0 is unprecedented (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith and Zickuhr, 2010). Social media has become an integral part of people’s life as this technology enable people to network with friends and associates, share photographs, generate contents, interact in games and real time conversations. The ever-increasing proliferation of mobile technologies has increased the use of social media, more especially in universities where the technology is transforming the way students communicate, collaborate, interact and learn (Paul, 2013).

Several authors have researched on the use of social media in educational settings with the aim of improving students’ academic performance. Although, such research results are in divergence views as to whether social media is a barrier or facilitator of academic performance. While most of the studies conducted in developing countries like Nigeria suggests that social media is a barrier to academic performance (Ezekiel, Ruth and Leo, 2013).

Ezekiel, Ruth and Leo (2013) asserted that students are addicted to the use of social media in Nigeria and this takes most of their times. The authors maintained that students chat even in highly organized places of worships like churches, mosques and even in lecture halls. They opined that social media is a barrier to academic performance; as most students that engage in social media perform poorly in their academic performances.

In line with the above assertion, Oberiri (2016) argued that most of the platforms used by students are Facebook, WhatsApp and twitter and they use these platforms to interact and share opinions that has to do with friendship, common interests, beliefs and businesses etc. whereas, little or no attention is paid to academic matters. This is because social media has not been harnessed in most of the under-developed and developing countries for effective academic utilization. The reason been that most of the institutions in these countries still rely on traditional learning processes which are not learner centred.

However, while other researchers perceived social media as a barrier to students’ academic performance, majority of research revealed that social media is a good facilitator and can significantly improve students’ academic performance (Bety and Susan, 2013). This is evident in developed countries like the United States of America and United Kingdom where social media is seen by students as a good facilitator to improve their academic performance. Equally, Adidi and David (2010) maintained that interactive social media is a great tool that allows students to access, create and share knowledge by uploading pictures, videos, audios and other learning materials that will improve their academic performance.

Ganiyu and Akinreti, (2011) stated that the emergence of social media has increased interactivity between people; hence making them producers and consumers of information simultaneously. Social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, google +, 2go, etc have brought incredible improvement in communication and this has enhanced learning. However, with the aid of internet connectivity, students can create their groups and form their own page as well as have access to learning materials. Paul (2013) emphasised that social media is a good facilitator for academic performance and that social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, myspace, and Google+, are increasingly visible in educational settings in developed countries as they promote active learning.

According to Jody (2015), social media is an instrument for building learning community. He added that being a member of a learning community means engaging in reciprocal learning activities, soaking in new ideas and sharing perspectives and experiences to make meaning of the information.

This study is particularly concerned with the use of social media in Nigeria universities and how it improves students’ academic performance at Taraba State University. Taraba State University is one of the state owned public universities in Nigeria, the university was established in 2008 and is one of the modern universities in Nigeria equipped with technological facilities where students have access to internet and frequently use social media for social interaction. However, social media has not been harnessed in this university to improve students’ academic performance; hence the need for this study. The purpose of this study is to develop a template and design a platform that will use google+ to create learning community where course materials will be uploaded, and students can use the platform to collaborate and interact on issues that border on their academics.

1.2 Research Problem

Since the advent of social media technology in the 1990s, there has been an increase in the number of users, most of whom are students (Jibrin, Musa and Shittu, 2017). While this media is perceived by some researchers as a barrier to academic performance, many others found this technology to be a facilitator for academic performance. Based on observation, the researcher has discovered that most students in Nigeria and particularly in Taraba State University, Jalingo use social media frequently to share information, files, photos, videos, messages and real time conversations. They use social networking sites like Facebook, google+, Twitter, WhatsApp etc and most of the engagements are mere social interactions; this take most of their times. As such, this is perceived as a barrier to their academic performance.

However, this research is aimed at exploring the use of social media as a facilitator to improve students’ academic performance. This is in line with the view of Jody (2015) where he described social media as an important tool in building learning community to improve academic performance. Social media tools like Google+, Twitter, WhatsApp, Myspace etc. promote active learning and are increasingly visible in educational institutions in most developed countries (Paul, 2013). This study therefore seeks to find out whether universities in Nigeria and especially Taraba State University use the social media as a tool to facilitate and improve students’ academic performance through interaction and sharing of useful academic contents.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to explore the use of social media as facilitator to improve students’ academic performance in Taraba State University. The objectives of this study are:

i) to determine the perception of students in Nigeria on the use of social media
ii) to determine how students, use social media for educational purposes
iii) to determine whether use of social media improves students’ academic performance
iv) to identify factors that motivate use of social media in Taraba State University. Therefore, a case study will be conducted in Taraba State University and the researcher will ask students questions that will guide the research.

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the above objectives, this research is therefore guided by the following research questions:

1. How do students perceive the use of social media in Taraba University?
2. How do students use social media for educational purposes?
3. How does use of social media improve students’ academic performance in Nigeria?
4. What factors influences the use of social media in Taraba State Universities?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will enable institutions of higher learning to consider the factors and create conditions that will motivate the use of social media among students to improve academic performance. Universities that are still struggling to find tenable strategies to improve academic performance using social media will find this research useful. This is because it will provide valuable information regarding the use of social media to improve students’ academic performance. The study will also be useful to academician, educators, policy makers and indeed researchers in various academic institutions of learning in improving their academic performances.

1.6 Methodology

To be able to collect an in-dept detail data for exploration, the study adopted the qualitative methodology which is appropriate towards the aim of the study and the research onion was adapted. The study also adopted triangulation method, where interviews, survey and observations were used as data collection techniques. Snowball sampling was applied whereby an interviewee pointed to the next potential interviewee. The point of saturation was reached after interviewing required number of interviewees. Constant comparative analysis was used to analyse the data and the analysis was grounded in the data collected; inductive approach was maintained during the formation of categories.

1.7 Definitions

To be able to provide some form of guidelines to the reader, some key words used in this study have been defined below:

1) Social Media: The term social media is broadly used to describe various technological systems that are related to community and collaboration (Joosten, 2012). It appears that a specific definition for social media is elusive, it is often described by example (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). This is due to the fact that it is constantly in a state of change. Social media also called social networks evolve as developers create new or enhanced features that will meet the demands of users. Some of the social media sites such as wikis, blogs, Facebook, google+, twitter, Myspace, WhatsApp, virtual game worlds, multimedia platforms and virtual social worlds are among the applications included in recent illustrations (Barnes and Lescault, 2011; Paul, 2012). Some researchers prefer the term Web 2.0 when referring to social media (Gruzd, Staves and Wilk, 2011; Hemmi, Bayne and Land, 2009; Kaplan & Haenline, 2010; Paul 2013).

To narrow the review for the sake of this study, google plus was adapted as social media tool that will be used for this study.

2) Academic Performance: Academic performance means different thing to different people depending on the context within which it is used. Melissa (2018) defined academic performance as a means of determining how well students meet standards set out by authorities such as educational institutions, regulatory bodies or government agencies. She maintained that academic performance can be determined through assessment of student’s achievements in test, examination, coursework etc. which is graded using cumulative grade point average (CGPA). However, Ellie (2018) stated that academic performance goes beyond CGPA, he maintained that while some of the students may not graduate top of their class, they may hold leadership positions in several students’ groups, extracurricular accomplishments or some form of initiatives. He further stated that grades don’t always reflect a person’s knowledge or intelligence. This is in line with Rochelle (2018) perception of academic performance where she describes it as achievements made within and outside the classroom where certain academic criteria and successes are determined. She opined that apart from achieving higher CGPA, factors like employability chances after graduation, competency and ability to use the knowledge acquired to innovate are part of academic performance. Therefore, for the purpose of this study, academic performance can be defined as the ability to achieve educational goals by completing certain educational benchmark.

3) Facilitators and barrier of academic performance:

Facilitators of academic performance are motivators to achieving academic performance while barrier of academic performance are obstacle to academic performance (Marisa etal, 2008). Research has shown that facilitators mitigate problems caused by barriers that interfere with performance (Tesluk and Mathieu, 1999). However, there are speculations that students who perceive many barriers look actively for facilitators as a way of coping or mitigating effects of the barriers in their education (Eriksen, Olff and Ursin, 2000). Most barriers that impede academic performance are either personal, social or organizational. The facilitators or barriers could affect both the students and institutions depending on the situation. Social media is seen as a facilitator towards academic performance in this study.

1.8 Delimitation and Scope

This study focused its investigation in Taraba State University, Nigeria using the social media as a tool towards improving students’ academic performance. Taraba State University is a state owned public university in Nigeria with six (6) faculties and several departments ( The researcher could not explore all the departments due to limited time scheduled for the study. Therefore, the researcher collected data only from few students of the university.

1.9 Outline of the Thesis

Chapter One of this thesis gives the background of the study and the rationale for conducting the research. It also explains the research problem, aims and objectives, research questions, a brief of the methodology, significance of the study, definition of terms and the delimitation of the study.

Chapter Two reviewed the literatures which informed the study. It explored the concept of social media, social media in education, factors affecting the use of social media, academic performance, theory and practice of academic performance and finally previous research conducted on the use of social media in education.

The methodology and research paradigm chosen to guide this study as well as the justification for the choice of the method are outlined in Chapter Three. The chapter also discussed research design, sampling method, data collection techniques, ethical considerations and credibility. The criteria of data analysis are also examined in this chapter.

Data analysis and findings are presented in Chapter Four. This included formal background information, analysis of the data collected and the interpretation of the data in relation to previous literatures.

Chapter Five presented the discussion about the theoretical and practical implications of the research and suggestions for areas of further researcher.

Conclusion and Recommendations are discussed in Chapter Six, while the last chapter of this research which is Chapter Seven provided details on how this project was managed and the lessons learned.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Research Structure

1.11 Conclusion

This is an introductory chapter that provided background information to this research and the initial motivation for this project was discussed. The research aims and objectives as well as the problem were presented, the research questions were equally outlined. The methodology for the research was briefly described with the overview on how the research will progress and definition of various terms as well as delimitations to this study were provided. The next chapter will discuss the literature review.


2.0 Introduction

This chapter discussed works previously done by researchers that are related to the subject under investigation. The chapter is structured into seven sub-topics: the first part introduced the chapter and its content. The second part reviewed literatures on social media, its use in the global context and general overview about social media. It also presented an overview on how social media has gained momentum in today's world and its penetration in different countries including Nigeria. The third part dealt with the types of social media as considered by previous researchers who have used social media (Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, google+ etc.) in education. The fourth section of this chapter discussed academic performance as previously defined by researchers / scholars. While the fifth part presented debates on the learning process and technology and how it has been integrated into institutions of higher learning as well as its positive impact on students’ academic performance. This is followed by the sixth part which discussed facilitators and barriers of academic performance and their implication to the learning process. Finally, the chapter is concluded with the view of the researcher on use of social media to improve students’ academic performance.

Searches of the literature were conducted in the World Wide Web (www), IEEE Xplore Digital Library and Google Scholars website. Other journals were explored in JSTOR database, Science Direct, Emerald database and EBSCOhost database and they were all accessed via some electronic resources using Coventry University login details. Hardcopies of educational materials like Journals, books and Newspapers were also obtained either online or through Coventry University Library. The terms used for online searching of information included “social media”, “social media in education”, “social media penetration”, “academic performance”, “influence of social media in education”, “social media as facilitator to academic performance “, “factors influencing the use of social media”, and “using google+ to enhance learning” etc. The researcher used simple search option before resorting to advanced search option for each of the search that was conducted. The results displayed were checked for relevance to the search terms by checking the topic of the research, abstract and conclusion. Relevant articles were identified and downloaded, then saved in a folder with the name of the article for reference purposes.

During the research process, most of the literatures searched generated few results relating to use of social media in higher education in Nigeria and most of the result showed negative perception about social media. At times, results of the search from different databases displayed the same article with the same authors. This showed that comprehensive research in use of social media for education in Nigeria to improve students’ academic performance is limited. The concern of this study is therefore related to positive use of social media by developing a template using google+ to create learning community where course materials will be uploaded and both students and teachers will use the platform to collaborate and interact on intellectual discuss relating to course works, assignments, exams and general educational knowledge sharing. This will contribute to the body of knowledge on the use of social media in education.

2.1 Concept of Social Media

Andreas and Michael (2010) described social media as a group of internet-based applications that are built on the technological foundations of web 2.0 that allows for the creation and exchange of user generated contents. Kietzmann and Hermkens (2011) stated that social media eases communication among people regardless of geographical location thereby making it open to everyone to easily share information such as files, pictures, videos etc. It enables people to create blogs and send instant messages through real-time conversations. It also allows for communication with friends, families, course mates, project supervisors, administrators and lecturers in an easy and effective way. Due to high social interest of people, social media is now the highest electronic communication activity on the internet.

While these authors observed social media in a generic form, Sharifa etal (2016) observed that the ever-increasing use of social media by teenagers and young students is drawing the attention of researchers around the world. The researchers identified social media as one of the most used technologies in recent times, more especially by teens and young students. They maintained that teenagers use social media to experiment with their identities and connect with families and friends for several reasons. This is in line with Strasburger et al (2009) perceptions of social media, where they described peering as an important feature of youngsters, therefore, they use social media as a platform to create friendship. This makes them spend most of their times with friends on social media and most of the value for such socialization is based on relationships. Due to teens’ enthusiasm towards peering, young people are attributed to social interaction as they learn to form and maintain intimate friendship; thus, social media creates an ideal platform to easily socialize. As such, peer groups become primary resource for emotional support (Allen et al, 2010).

Contributing, Neelotpaul and Arit (2013) revealed that the emergence of social media has enhance the means of communication over the internet. They maintained that social media is an emerging digital communication channels for creating a user-oriented information sharing platform where people can subscribe or generate information contents as both provider and consumer of information. While emphasising on the group collaboration, Bryan et al (2006) described social media as an evolving social interactive technology that uses fast paced inexpensive online communication that allow users to interact and collaborate in a group. This is in line with Buettner (2016) who sees social media as a computer mediated tool that allow for group of people or companies, organizations or institutions to create and share or exchange information, ideas, career interest, pictures, videos etc. to group of like minds through virtual communities on the network.

This suggests that through social media, group of professionals can trade profitable information that can enhance knowledge sharing and professional interest and skills, while students can share ideas in a group project thereby improving their grades. Therefore, social media enhances group collaboration; some of these social networks that are used nowadays to achieve this are Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, skype, google+, whatsup etc. as indicated in Figure 2 below.

[This figure had to be removed by the editorial staff for copyright reasons.]

Figure 2: Social Media platforms

Source: (2017)

Nevertheless, social media has drew the attention of researchers globally where different industries are exploring how best to use this technology to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities can create, share, discuss, and modify user-generated content to achieve common goal and create competitive advantage.

2.1.1 Use of Social Media: Global Perspectives

There is a growing number of social media users globally. According to Whizsky (2018), out of the total world population of 7.6 billion, there are 4.2 billion internets users worldwide. The publisher further stated that out of the 4.2 billion internet users, there are more than 3 billion active social media users in the world and the number keeps growing by 7% every year (Smart, 2018). This indicates that active social media users constitute about 71% of the global internet users. It further reported that more than 64 percent of brands are using two or more social media channels. It has also been discovered that 81 percent of all small and medium businesses around the world use some kind of social platform. Smart (2018) maintained that social media users grew by 121 million between second quarter of 2017 and third quarter of 2017. There is an assumption that a new user is joining social media every 15 seconds with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp handling 60 billion messages a day (Whizsky, 2018).

[This figure had to be removed by the editorial staff for copyright reasons.]

Figure 3: Estimated Social Media Users 2018

Source: Whizsky (2018)

The 2018 statistics of social media users as indicated in Fig.3 above showed that Facebook has more users with over 2 billion users.

Generally, the use of social media globally is increasing, as companies across industries connect directly to consumers through social media which has great opportunities. This is especially due to heavy users, who spend over three hours per day on social media. It has been discovered that Generation X (ages between 35-49) spends the most time on social media. This group of the society are estimated to spend almost 7 hours per week on social media (Sean 2017). Nielsen (2017) revealed that 25% of female spend most of their time on social media in relation to 19% of their males’ counterparts and this has spread across cultures.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: Percentage of Time Spent on Social Media

Source: Nielsen NPOWER/National Panel; RADAR; Nielsen Netview; Nielsen VideoCensus and Nielsen Electronic Mobile Measurement

2.1.2 Use of Social Media in the United States of America

In the United States of America for example, Smart (2018) observed that research conducted in 2015 on social media penetration on smartphone owners between the ages 18 and above indicated that between October to December 2015, Facebook dominated the landscape. Not only did it take the top spot, but it's other platforms like Facebook messenger and Instagram also took 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Facebook Messenger has an impressive 47% penetration, and Instagram comes 2nd for engagement as indicated in Fig.5 below. No doubt, social media penetration in both the developed and developing countries is incredible.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 5: Most Dominant Social Media in US.

Source: Forester’s Mobile Audio Data, Oct. to Dec. 2015 (Smart Insight 2018)

2.1.3 Use of Social Media in Nigeria

According to Punch Newspaper (2017), 75 per cent of Nigeria’s online population uses social media; the report further showed that the number keeps growing on both blogging and other social networking sites. This is attributed to people’s quest for information and willingness to interact via online community that is full of opportunities.

According to the Nielsen (2016), the size of global daily use of social media is overwhelming, as at June 2016, there were about 80 million tweets per day and over one billion Facebook chat messages daily. While in Nigeria, Titilola (2018) revealed that there are about 26 million Nigerians who log in on the social networking site every month. The report by Techpoint Africa (2018) disclosed that Nigeria is mobile-first as about 25 million Nigerians access the Facebook platform through their mobile devices.

Furthermore, the report suggested that as at February 2016, Facebook released its last official report which indicated that over 16 million Nigerians used Facebook actively every month Techpoint Africa (2018). This showed that between 2016 and 2018, about 10 million more Nigerians are active on Facebook. This is an indication that mobile penetration in Nigeria is growing significantly and the use of social media is equally growing as well. Therefore, social media can be a very important tool for any type of organization to thrive in Nigeria.

2.2 Social Media in Education

The impact of social media is not only limited to businss alone; as a matter of fact, in recent times social media communities are influencing education as well. The social media revolution has engulfed the entire organizations including education and scholars are looking forward to leveraging on the potentials of this technology for educational purposes (Magda and Hana, 2012).

Although, there are divergence views as to whether social media is a barrier or facilitator to education, Ezekiel, Ruth and Leo (2013) argued that students are addicted to the use of social media in Nigeria and this take most of their times. They maintained that students chat even in highly organized places of worships like churches, mosques and even in lecture venues. They also opined that social media is a barrier to academic performance as most students who engage in social media perform poorly in the class.

In line with the above argument, Oberiri (2016) noted that most of the platforms used by students are WhatsApp, Facebook and twitter they use them to interact and share information about post relating to common interest, friendship, relationships, beliefs and businesses etc. while little or no attention is given to their academic work. He maintained that social media has not been harnessed in most of the developing countries for effective utilization for academic purposes. This is because most of the institutions in these developing countries still rely on traditional learning process.

Magda and Hana (2012) suggested that although social media can be harmful to young students such that they can lose focus in school as well as reduce their academic performance. They pointed out that social media can be beneficial for both teachers and adult students in enhancing teaching and learning. This is achievable even in young stars if it is used correctly and responsibly under the monitoring of parents and teachers of the young students. However, despite some negative perception of social media on students’ education, it can still be leveraged to benefit students and teachers alike. It is a known fact, that online learning has been intensified in recent times, as many colleges and universities are devising means of teaching their courses online using different social media tools, this is because provision of learning materials online is seen as beneficial to students. In their contributions Bety and Susan (2013) disclosed that social media is a good facilitator and can significantly improve students’ academic performance. Paul (2013) asserted that social media is a good facilitator of academic performance. He discovered that social media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, myspace, and Google+, are increasingly visible in educational settings in developed countries as it promotes active learning of students.

Similarly, Elham and Ali (2014) disclosed that the world has changed due to rapid technological innovations, so also, learning has changed from the traditional classroom methods to a more sophisticated online learning community. They reiterated that the increase in popularization of mobile and computer technologies, classroom teaching that use chalk board or markers has now become obsolete as the use of multimedia presentations, social networks and blogging has become the modern learning technologies that makes learning a fun. In their contribution, Tham and Werner (2005) stated that the world of today has become the vast storehouse of information due to technological advancement and use of Internet and other technologies are making learning interesting.

According to Jody (2015), he noted that there is importance in building learning community to be able to improve academic performance. He argued that being a member of a learning community means engaging in reciprocal learning activities, soaking in new ideas and sharing perspectives and experiences to make meaning of the information. This learning community can be achieved using social media. Equally, Aditi and David (2010) maintained that interactive social media is a great learning community where students can access, create and share knowledge by uploading pictures, videos, audios and other learning materials that will improve their academic performance. To buttress this point, Liccardi et al (2007) stated that social media is no longer a tool for communication alone, but are widely used in education, lectures now are mediated by social media technologies and academic engagements like peer assessment, collaborative work and intellectual discussions can now be achieved through the use of social media. Research has shown that about 30% of students use social media to communicate with other students, this communication involves the use of posts on blogs, instance messaging etc. while over 52% use online podcasts, videos, wikis and blogs to access educational materials (Licardi et al 2017). To support this assertion, Mazman and Usluel, (2010) added that social media platforms support educational activities which in turn support students learning. They reiterated that social media makes interaction, active participation, collaboration, critical thinking, resource and information sharing possible.

2.2.1 Use of Facebook in Education

Elham et al (2014) described Facebook as a popular networking tool that is used for communication, exchange of knowledge and sharing of information. They described the platform as having special features for chatting with different people around the world. Their choice of this tool is that they observed that most higher education students use this platform. They observed that online social networks have offered brilliant opportunities for users more especially students to interact and collaborate for sharing ideas and education materials to advance their educational performance. However, they also stated that most people are sceptical of this network due to security issues keeping in mind the Cambridge analytical saga.

Similarly, a study by Mazen and Hawar (2015) to determine the impact of using social network at University of Human Development Iran revealed that even though, Facebook was not initially intended for instructive purposes, it was found to be an incredible potential towards improving students’ knowledge. The study discovered that Facebook can advance communitarian models of learning, associate students and teachers, build learners' motivational level and make a more agreeable classroom atmosphere. The study suggested that Facebook can make solid practical groups for showing and discovering students’ experience by extending the learning process beyond the conventional classroom. However, the constraint to this research was that, it is only applicable to the study area which cannot be generalized and can be applicable due to its social status. According to Hofstede and Hofstede (2001), the social differences between nations have an impact on the importance individuals append to various parts of life. These distinctions may impact students conduct, learning styles, desires and standards when using social media for educational purposes.

2.2.2 Use of Twitter in Education

Twitter is one of the most popular services in micro-blogging and it is the best way to discover what’s new in your world (Elham, 2014). The objective of this social media platform is to share short messages constantly between friends and it is a veritable tool for students to fast-tract sharing of information. Several students use this platform to communicate happening arounds them and it keeps them abreast of the latest development in their communities. They use it to share photos, videos and other related academic materials that their classmates or people that like or share may be interested in. Although tweet messages can play an important role on the users, especially students in colleges and universities by receiving short news items and other posts relating to business, fashion, health etc. It is still being argued as to whether it has direct impact on students’ academic performance as huge users are said to be business and political class.

2.2.3 Use of WhatsApp in Education

This social media platform is a good resource for creating group members, teachers and students alike use this platform to create groups to support teaching and learning. The infiltration of smartphones in the tech market has initiated the use of WhatsApp to support learning by allowing direct access to lots of online resources (Sonia and Alka 2017). WhatsApp is a convenient tool for teaching and learning because of the combination of medium such as pictures, videos, text and voice messages alongside constant availability of facilitator which makes learning available anytime anywhere. For example, it has been observed that Coventry University students used WhatsApp application to create Coursework groups where they interact and share ideas on their group assignments. This improves their academic engagement and by extension, their academic performance is boosted. Most students across the world uses this platform for group projects, group coursework, group innovation etc. This also improve knowledge sharing among group members. Although, WhatsApp is not officially recognized by Coventry university, but it has helped students’ interaction for knowledge sharing.

2.2.4 Use of Google+ in Education

Google Plus has been discovered as a veritable social media tool that increases students’ engagement and learning (Betsy, Marie and Kelsey 2013). A research conducted at Georgetown University's Teaching, Learning and Innovation Summer Institute discovered that implementing Google+ in Electronic Commerce Course (OPIM 256) to build learning community for frequent students’ interactions, was found to have increased students’ academic performance. The platform was used to create learning communities outside the classroom to keep students updated about lectures, assignments, and other students’ engagements. It was also used to create online space to support classroom discussion, personal chart with course mates and course lecturers as well as lecture materials and live-streaming lectures on google hangout. This encouraged students’ participation, and the approach was found to be effective in improving students’ academic performance.

However, the challenge with the platform was that some few students found it hard to keep up with what was being posted. Instead, they only look at the account when they are posting material for class. To resolve this problem, certain grades were rewarded to students who posted on the platform. It was discovered that when students find out something is part of their grade, they tend to think that as long as they participate on that thing, they will satisfy the requirements. This motivated students to actively participate and it changed their learning experience for better and as well improved their academic performance. This platform was found to be very efficient in improving students’ academic performance and it is adopted in this research.

2.2.5 Other Social Media platforms used in Education

There are several social media platforms that are used in education apart from the ones elaborated in this chapter. Other platforms like Classroom 2.0, YouTube, myspace and many others are very good tool for teaching and learning (Kapuler, 2011). Students use social media for different purposes; it has been discovered that around 60% students say they use social media to discuss lessons learnt in the class outside school hours, and they use it also to plan for their engagements in College (Masic et al, 2012). They also suggested that students should use online communities, such as MySpace for chatting, blogging, text messaging and other educational activities which include collaboration on group projects. Yuen and Yuen (2008) revealed that the most tools used are Facebook, YouTube and Twitter because they help students to interact and exchange knowledge easily.

2.3 The Learning Process and Technology

Learning constitute a process of activities involving multidimensional interactions within geographical, temporal and cultural enclave called institution (college, university etc). These multi-dimensions of interaction include student to teacher interaction, student to student interaction and student to world interactions. Academically, these activities are referred to as curricular and extra-curricular activities (Rosita and Chaudhari 2010). In recent times, technologies such as social media, multimedia, portals, websites etc are being used to influence these interactions. Institutions of higher learning are making series of investment in technology infrastructures such as internet connectivity, computers, multimedia technologies, software etc. with an optimism that the investment would result to utilization of these technologies by students to improve their performance and teachers’ productivity to enhance the learning experiences. However, there is growing concern as to whether the investments have achieved the desired goals of improving students’ performance or teachers’ productivity. This perception has prompted the researcher to explore use of one of these technologies (i.e social media) to improve students’ academic performance in Nigeria. It is an established fact that several factors motivate or hinders academic performance, these factors could be facilitators or barriers of academic performance.

2.4 Academic Performance

Sandra and Jorge (2015) describe academic performance as representing efficacy level in the consecution of the curricular objectives for a diversity of subjects expressed through a qualifier, which are represented in value within a numeric interval. This is in line with Melisa (2018) assertion that academic performance is a means of determining how well students meet educational standards. The authors maintained that academic performance can be represented in different values such as weighted average of students' grades using CGPAs or students’ averages in certain areas such as professional, basic or complimentary. Academic averages are normally calculated using grades from subjects that make up each area in the study plan and such performances are presented as either outstanding, average or failure. Therefore, academic performance means meeting certain academic criteria measured in grades or certain accomplishments in some extracurricular activities.


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The Use of Social Media and the Academic Performance of Students
A Study of Taraba State University Jalingo in Nigeria
Coventry University  (School of Engineering, Environment and Computing)
MSc. Management of Information Technology
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Information Technology, social media, technology in education, academic performance, technology for improving academic performance, collaborative learning, Facilitators of academic performance
Quote paper
Amos Mathias (Author), 2019, The Use of Social Media and the Academic Performance of Students, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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