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Comunicar Journal 41: Black holes of Communication (Vol. 21 - 2013)

Informal learning through Facebook among Slovenian pupils


Since existing research has failed to consider how primary school pupils use Facebook for informal learning and to enhancing social capital, we attempted to fill this research gap by conducting 60 indepth interviews and thinkaloud sessions with Slovenian primary school pupils. Furthermore, we used content analysis to evaluate their Facebook profiles. The results of the study show that Slovenian pupils regularly use Facebook for informal learning. Pupils are aware that they use Facebook for learning and they use it primarily as social support, which is seen as exchanging practical information, learning about technology, evaluation of their own and other people’s work, emotional support, organising group work and communicating with teachers. In using Facebook, pupils acquire bridging and bonding social capital; they maintain an extensive network of weak ties that are a source of bridging capital, and deeper relationships that provide them with emotional support and a source of bonding capital. Key differences between the participants were found in the expression of emotional support. Female participants are more likely to use Facebook for this purpose, and more explicitly express their emotions. This study also showed that our participants saw a connection between the use of Facebook and the knowledge and skills they believed their teachers valued in school.