The main objective of this study was to analyse the influence of social media participation on academic performance. The sample consisted of 1960 students taking one of two courses at undergraduate or postgraduate level, respectively (Faculty of Education, National Distance Education University, Spain), of whom 411 students carried out an activity based on social media participation. We used a mixed quantitative (descriptive analysis and ANOVA) and qualitative (content analysis) design. Our results showed that the students who participated in a social media-based activity presented better academic performance than those who did not carry out any activity or who took part in a more traditional learning activity. We conclude that regardless of educational level, social media participation exerts a positive influence on performance. Consequently, it is important to consider the variable of social networking site use because this can partially explain academic performance. We also found that the networks generated during the course did not constitute stable communities of practice. Our main recommendation is that three stages of instruction should be considered when designing a course based on social media participation: beginners, intermediate, and professional.
- Social participation,
- academic performance,
- educational level
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