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Integrating Social Media Tools into Continuing Education Courses

By Jean Feroldi, Assoc. AIA
Manager, CES Communications and Review

July 30, 2013

As social media platforms evolve and are adapted for new purposes, it is easy to see why they may be beneficial for adult learning. Yet, where to start and how to implement multimedia into continuing education can leave many people at a loss for effective interactive strategies using social media tools. During our Provider Conference at AIA National Convention, I gave a presentation on Social Media: Learning and Outreach, exploring reasons for why social media can be great for marketing and course engagement. While most Providers who attended my presentation saw the value in social media and its potential to improve their training programs, many questions were raised about specific ways social media can be used in face-to-face and online learning.

During my presentation at Convention, I wanted a way to engage my audience through an interactive conversation. Since I was speaking on social media, it only seemed fitting to encourage Providers to use social tools to participate. Throughout the presentation, I employed the hashtag #aiaces_denver on Twitter to pose questions and solicit feedback from my audience. Usually mobile technology is seen as a distraction in the classroom but this tactic allowed me to establish a setting where browsing a smart phone actually activated class-based discussion.

While my presentation was one example of how to use social media in continuing education courses, here are other ideas for integrating social networking and multimedia tools into adult learning.

    1. Create a Linkedin Group for your course ahead of the start date. Invite pre-registered attendees to join and share questions or goals for the course, upload supplemental material, or post thought-provoking videos. You can refer to the group throughout the session and encourage attendees to keep the dialogue going by adding their own resources and conclusions during and after the course.

    2. Connect with guest speakers during your session over Skype. Inviting a guest speaker to interact with the class over a video call can help engage course participants to ask questions and communicate with expertise they would not otherwise have access to.

    3. Have course participants create and share short videos using Vine or Instagram Video. Divide your audience into groups of two or three and have each team create a short video to answer a course-based question or give their visual thoughts on the course topic. Let course participants be as creative as they wish and have them upload the video to Vine or Instagram using a course specific hashtag.

    4. For longer, multi-day courses employ a class-based wiki. Course participants can share materials, create articles, and add to existing resources to create an enriching log of information.

    There are limitless possibilities for applying social media tools to your courses and programs to increase interactivity and generate discussion. We encourage you to share your ideas or questions about this topic in the discussion on our Linkedin Group or on our blog!


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