N. Namuyiga1, A. Lukyamuzi2, B. Kayondo2

1Muteesa I Royal University (UGANDA)
2Uganda Martyrs University (UGANDA)
Social activities become more convenient and flexible through the support of CMC (Khine, Yeap & Tan, 2003). Khine, M.S., Yeap, L.L. and Tan, C.L. 2003. Teaching and learning is just one of the social activities which can follow this trend if the correct ICT tools are employed. Social networks do bind not only various people, but also specific groups in society such as learners and educators. This is one way of using ICT as a driver for University Education.

The path towards the harnessing of social networks in teaching and learning is not apparent. The benefits of social networked learning can only be attainable if drivers and inhibitors of new learning media within any given geographical, economic, social, cultural and technological contexts are explicit (Alexander, 2008; Mazman and Usluel, 2009). In addition, given time, technological and environmental changes, economic, political, cultural and social differences among communities, models must be adapted to reflect local contexts (Venkatesh and Bala, 2008)

Research in utilizing social networks as an education tool are based on some form of pedagogical approaches such as constructivist and Project-Based Learning approach. For approaches such as these are then integrated into models like Optimal Learning and Networked models in the process of adopting social networks for education purpose. However, available literature indicates that most studies are based on foreign settings, whose environments and variables definitely vary from developing countries.

This study proposes a Social Network-Based Learning Model (SNBLM) for harnessing social networks. The SNBLM is composed of three major components:
(1) pedagogical design;
(2) ICT infrastructure;
(3) the environment.

For pedagogical design, the Project-Based Learning Model (PBLM) which emphasizes learner independence to encourage originality and creativity has been adopted. For ICT infrastructure, the SNBLM adopts the Generic Model for Guiding the Integration of ICT into Teaching and Learning. For this study, environment is cross-cutting and manifests in the other two components of SNBLM. A case study has been used to carry out primary research to gather first hand information about sample stakeholders’ views and opinions. To evaluate the model, experts in this field were interviewed. Empirical evidence suggests promising results with the proposed model.