The perceived benefits and barriers to the application of mobile and social networking technologies in Higher Learning Institutions

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This research investigated on the perceived benefits and barriers to the application of mobile and social networking technologies in South African Higher Learning Institutions (HLIs). A quantitative orientation was used in carrying out the study through self-administered questionnaires and a descriptive quantitative method of analysis was applied. The research population consisted of some students and lecturers from University of Venda (Univen) and University of Limpopo (UL). The research results showed that indeed HLIs in South Africa enjoy some benefits using mobile and social networking technologies which makes students and lecturers participate in virtual learning. The results also confirmed that HLIs in South Africa are faced with various barriers affecting mobile and social networking technology adaptations. Five noteworthy barriers identified were connectivity, security problems, small screens, lack of equipment and technology and lack of training among users. Benefits which were identified included, improved participation, improved communication between students and lecturers and enhancement of teaching and learning processes in HLIs. The research recommended HLIs to be aware of the major Learning Management Systems (LMS) which they should use together with social networking platforms to successfully gain full benefits of using mobile and social networking technologies in the education sector.

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    • Figure 1. Devices used in Higher Learning Institutions
    • Figure 2. Social networking sites used by respondents
    • Figure 3. Benefits enjoyed by lecturers and students
    • Table 1. Type of activity supported by social networking platforms
    • Table 2. Challenges faced by lecturers and students