ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Although Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is a massive communication phenomenon and its educational use can be seen as a genuine form of mobile learning, it has been studied to a limited extent to date. The present study examined the use of MIM to engage young professionals in mobile learning communities during their school-to-work transition. This transition is one of the most central but also challenging developmental phases marked by the experience of knowledge gaps and a lack of belonging. To assess knowledge and socio-professional learning effects associated with the use of MIM, this study adopted a quasi-experimental, survey-based approach with an intervention and control condition (n=114) in the setting of an international research project. In the intervention condition, newly graduated nurses from Nigeria participated in WhatsApp groups in which moderators shared knowledge and stimulated professional discussions over a period of 6 months. Data were collected via online surveys and knowledge tests. The findings show that participants in the moderated WhatsApp groups had significantly higher knowledge and exhibited fewer feelings of professional isolation compared with the control group, which was not subject of any treatment. The effects were even more pronounced when controlling for active contributions (writing vs reading messages), which also amounted to significantly higher levels of professional identification. In addition, across intervention and control groups, the self-reported general active use of WhatsApp (outside of the intervention) was positively associated with the measures of professional social capital maintained with school connections, professional identity, (lower) professional isolation, job satisfaction, and the perceived transfer of school knowledge to work practice. Whereas knowledge and socio-professional effects can be triggered through moderated WhatsApp interventions yet the general (and thus informal) use of WhatsApp is associated with socio-professional connectedness. The findings are of particular relevance in the developing context under investigation, which is marked by a lack of alternative support structures.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Facilitating Professional Mobile Learning
Communities with Instant Messaging
This is the pre-publication version of the paper: Pimmer, C., Brühlmann, F., Odetola, T. D., Dipeolu, O., Oluwasola,
D. O., & Ajuwon, A. J. (2019). Facilitating Professional Mobile Learning Communities with Instant Messaging
Computers & Education, 128, 102112.
Although Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) is a massive communication phenomenon and its
educational use can be seen as a genuine form of mobile learning, it has been studied to a limited
extent to date. The present study examined the use of MIM to engage young professionals in mobile
learning communities during their school-to-work transition. This transition is one of the most central
but also challenging developmental phases marked by the experience of knowledge gaps and a lack
of belonging.
To assess knowledge and socio-professional learning effects associated with the use of MIM, this
study adopted a quasi-experimental, survey-based approach with an intervention and control
condition (n=114) in the setting of an international research project. In the intervention condition,
newly graduated nurses from Nigeria participated in WhatsApp groups in which moderators shared
knowledge and stimulated professional discussions over a period of 6 months. Data were collected
via online surveys and knowledge tests.
The findings show that participants in the moderated WhatsApp groups had significantly higher
knowledge and exhibited fewer feelings of professional isolation compared with the control group,
which was not subject of any treatment. The effects were even more pronounced when controlling
for active contributions (writing vs reading messages), which also amounted to significantly higher
levels of professional identification. In addition, across intervention and control groups, the self-
reported general active use of WhatsApp (outside of the intervention) was positively associated with
the measures of professional social capital maintained with school connections, professional identity,
(lower) professional isolation, job satisfaction, and the perceived transfer of school knowledge to
work practice.
Whereas knowledge and socio-professional effects can be triggered through moderated WhatsApp
interventions yet the general (and thus informal) use of WhatsApp is associated with socio-
professional connectedness. The findings are of particular relevance in the developing context under
investigation, which is marked by a lack of alternative support structures.
Keywords: mobile learning; instant messaging; school-to-work transition; nursing education;
professional networks;
1 Introduction
1.1 School-to-work transitions: Participatory and knowledge challenges
The school-to-work transition is, viewed from educational and professional development
perspectives, a pivotal phase (Rudd, 1997). The experience that learners make during this period
impacts their work skills and future career success (Koen, Klehe & Van Vianen, 2012). This transition
is not an isolated and narrow phase between the completion of schooling and the beginning of the
first job. Instead, the phase is boundary crossing in nature, as it starts already during school and
includes the processes of adjustment and habituation in the initial phase of work. This paper focuses
on the second aspect, i.e., on the immersion into the professional world upon graduation.
In health professional education, the domain of the present study, considerable attention has been
paid to the period of professional immersion in which graduates start a new job. The experience
made during this phase is a determinant of professional success and retention in the job (Christmas,
2008; Clark & Springer, 2012; Rush, Adamack, Gordon, Lilly & Janke, 2013). Although the phase of
professional immersion can offer a broad range of learning opportunities (Clark & Springer, 2012;
Meleis, 2010), graduates are often struggling with high levels of stress and low job satisfaction,
particularly in the first six to nine months in the new job (Rush et al., 2013). They also experience
professional isolation, i.e., feeling distant from their teams (Evans, Boxer & Sanber, 2008). In
addition, the initial work experience after graduation is marked by the experience of gaps in
knowledge, especially challenges in the transfer and application of prior knowledge, which Clark and
Springer (2012) coined as “not knowing.”
1.2 WhatsApp to support learning and professional development
The underlying rationale of the present study was to examine the support that can be provided to
learners and young professionals by means of Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) groups during this
critical phase of transitioning from studentship into the world of work. Despite the fact that MIM is a
massive phenomenon that has transformed global communication practice, relatively little is known
about its role in education and learning. The burgeoning use of MIM manifests, for example, in
WhatsApp user statistics. The platform is the third most popular social media platform after
Facebook and YouTube (Statista, 2017). More than one billion active daily users share 55 billion
messages on a daily basis (WhatsApp Blog, 2017).
However, whereas the educational role of social network sites, such as Facebook, has been examined
widely, MIM has only started recently to be the subject of more systematic research efforts.
Emerging findings have been summarised in a recent systematic review, which conceives its central
affordances astemporal [anytime and anywhere], user-friendly, minimal cost, and multi-modality
features(Tang & Hew, 2017, p. 85). The authors also observed six specific purposes for the use of
MIM in education, which included “journaling, dialogic, transmissive, constructionist with peer
feedback, helpline, and assessment.” (Tang & Hew, 2017, p. 85). The analysis of the literature points
to the potential of MIM to enable a social and emotional presence across a range of different
education and learning contexts. For example, a study found that students use it as a tool to provide
practical, social and emotional support to peers (Timmis, 2012). MIM allows for a form of intimacy
which is not achieved through social network sites, such as Facebook, which are more focused on
self-presentation and self-disclosure (Karapanos, Teixeira & Gouveia, 2016). Intimacy, trust and
closeness are enacted through a particular form of social presence labelled as “dwelling”, which is
marked by “profoundly small, continuous traces of narrative, of tellings and tidbits, noticings and
thoughts, shared images and lingering pauses (O'Hara, Massimi, Harper, Rubens & Morris, 2014).
Interactants are dropping in and out, maintaining their digital presence across lengthy periods of
time (Timmis, 2012).
Although it can be assumed that the development of closeness, togetherness and the provision of
practical and educational support is central in phases of school-to-work transitions in which
graduates are challenged by entering new professional and developmental terrain, no studies on the
use of MIM in this particular context could be identified. However, studies on placements are
indicative of the potential of MIM in the school-to-work transition because also placement learning is
marked by feelings of isolation and the experience of knowledge gaps (Eick, Williamson & Heath,
2012; Levett-Jones, Lathlean, Higgins & McMillan, 2009). The potential of MIM in these settings has
been explored, for example, through a small-scale study in the UK which reported the use of
WhatsApp as a platform to support problem-based learning. The authors concluded that the tool
enhanced the coordination of the groups and enabled the development of an extended social
presence among the participants (Raiman, Antbring & Mahmood, 2017).
Even the informal and non-facilitated use of social media (including MIM) by students during
placements was found to correlate with their personal and group resilience. This association was
explained with the technology’s capability to allow for the maintenance of social relationships which
serve as a resource for feedback and emotional support in stressful placement situations (Sigalit,
Sivia & Michal, 2017). Similarly, another study found that students informal use during placements
was associated with reduced feelings of isolation from professional communities (Pimmer et al.,
2018).
In contrast to studies that point to the capability of MIM in supporting an emotional and social
presence in learning settings, the literature that confirms cognitive and knowledge outcomes is even
more scarce and inconclusive. In the systematic review of Tang and Hew (2017, p. 85), five studies
showed positive outcomes whereas two studies found no or even adverse knowledge effects (Tang &
Hew, 2017, p. 85). This ambiguity was, for example, reflected in a study in a context similar to the
present investigation, in which a training course for health professionals was offered via a moderated
WhatsApp group. Although the majority of respondents found the training useful, the knowledge
gains measured between the pre- and post-test were not significant (Jayarajan, Lee & Mwaikambo,
2017). This raises the question regarding how MIM can be used to achieve knowledge-related
outcomes. In their review, Tang and Hew (2017) suggest that the form of MIM-based engagement
could be a key determinant. This argument is supported by the study of Lai (2016): While Lai did not
find differences in knowledge gains between a WhatsApp-based learning group and a control group
he observed significant associations between the quantity of engagement and learning outcomes in
the intervention group. Using qualitative content analysis, Lai explains these differences also with the
mode and quality of engagement, as some participants made only a few low-quality contributions
which were not taken up by their peers (Lai, 2016).
To conclude, despite the increasing proliferation and the educational potential ascribed to the use of
MIM platforms, findings from existing research are rather inconclusive. Whereas a number of studies
point to the potential of facilitated as well as informal use of MIM to enable a social and emotional
presence in learning settings, very little knowledge is available regarding the ways and modes of
engagement through which knowledge outcomes can be obtained. In addition, the majority of the
evidence presented to date is qualitative in nature.
The gap identified is particularly relevant regarding the learners’ school-to-work trajectories, which
present a highly critical developmental phase. In addressing these gaps, this study does not only seek
to contribute to the general field of mobile learning in which the use of instant messaging has been
examined to a limited extent, but also to the domain of mobile learning in nursing education.
Findings from a recent systematic literature review of this emerging domain underscore the need to
further investigate the aspects of peer interaction, synchronous sharing and contextual mobile
learning (Chang, Lai & Hwang, 2018). All these are aspects which are part of the present intervention.
2 Material and Methods
2.1 Objectives and research questions
To address the gaps identified, three main research questions were formulated. The first question is
centred on the potential effects which can be triggered through the systematic use of MIM in the
school-to-work transition: Can the facilitated use of MIM enhance (a) the retention and transfer of
knowledge, and, (b) socio-professional connectedness - in comparison with a control group (RQ1)?
The dimension of socio-professional connectedness was evaluated through the measures of
professional social capital maintained with school connections, the development of a professional
identity, feelings of isolation from a professional community, job satisfaction and the tendency to
look for a new job in a more urban area. While knowledge and socio-professional connectedness are
arguably of value in any professional sector, they are particularly relevant in the domain of global
health which is marked by rural health workers who tend to work in professional isolation with
limited access to knowledge resources. In these settings, many professionals tend to leave the
country or the job, and thus also the retention of a rural health workforce is a key issue (WHO,
2010), which we have thus included in the measurement.
A second research question was aimed at determining the potential implications of different modes
of engagement, i.e., the active vs passive use of the MIM platform (as expressed by the extent to
which participants were writing vs reading messages) on the abovementioned measures. The
question formulated was to determine whether, and, if so, to what extent, higher levels of active
engagement (i.e., writing contributions) would impact the socio-professional and knowledge
measures specified below.
Moreover, drawing on some insights from recent studies (Pimmer et al., 2018; Sigalit et al., 2017) a
third question addressed possible connections regarding the general use of WhatsApp (outside of the
participation in the moderated WhatsApp intervention) with socio-professional and knowledge
measures in the school-to-work transition. The question was formulated as: Is the general, informal
use of WhatsApp associated with the socio-professional measures of professional social capital,
professional identity, professional isolation, job satisfaction and the inclination to search for a new
job and knowledge transfer?
2.2 Intervention and study approach
The study population consisted of recent graduates from five training institutions for nurses in
Nigeria. The five schools were situated in Oyo state, in South-Western Nigeria, having very similar
characteristics: All were accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).
(www.nmcn.gov.ng/portal). The schools use the same curriculum and attract students who are
predominantly young persons from comparable socio-economic backgrounds. The students were
recruited during onsite visits by members of the research team at the individual schools shortly
before their graduation, a process in which also written ethical consent was obtained (see the
section below “Ethical consent”). The telephone numbers of participants were collected and this
information was used to create the WhatsApp groups for the intervention cohort and to contact the
participants of the control group to participate in the online survey.
To determine potential effects associated with the systematic and moderated use of instant
messaging, this study adopted a quasi-experimental post-test approach. The randomisation at the
school level was carried out to leverage pre-existing social ties in the digital spaces (Boyd & Ellison,
2007; Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe, 2007). Accordingly, out of the five pre-selected schools,
participants from three institutions (n = 77) were randomly assigned to the intervention condition
and the graduates from each school were invited to take part in one moderated WhatsApp group.
The participants of the remaining two schools (n = 37) were assigned to the control condition, which
was not subject of any treatment.
Before the start of the intervention, the project team developed a moderation script to aid the
moderators in the facilitation and moderation of the WhatsApp groups. The content consisted of
various topics which were selected based on the relevance they would have for nurses upon
graduation. It included general professional topics such as career planning or safety in workplace. In
addition, the topics also focused on practical clinical knowledge, such as the management of
communicable diseases, pain assessment, bed making or the use of catheterisation. The clinical
content was not new. Instead, it was a repetition of central topics which had been part of the school
curriculum and which were viewed to be particularly relevant during the nurses’ immersion into the
practice settings upon graduation. The selection of the topics and the development of the content
were informed by students’ suggestions during the recruitment process and by the advice of
experienced nurse professionals, who formed part of the project team. Three moderators were
recruited for the groups, all of which were experienced nurse practitioners. Before the start of the
intervention, the moderators were trained in a four-hour onsite workshop organised by the research
team. The topics taught included the nature and purpose of the WhatApp group, ground rules for
participation, the usage of the moderation script and key principles of an activating moderation.
The intervention took place for six months, from December to May 2017. Using the script as a guide,
the moderators posted new content at the beginning of each of the 24 weeks. In addition to the pre-
defined content, the moderators contributed in situ to the emerging discussions in the groups. Each
topic was concluded with a quiz at the end of the week. The winner, i.e. the first respondent who
provided the correct answer, was rewarded with a small amount of airtime. This was justified,
especially because the participants did not receive any other compensation for the costs created
through their participation in the study.
2.3 Participants
A total number of 114 participants (M_age = 22.82, SD = 2.31, range = 20 − 30; 14.0% male, 1 person
did not specify) were included in the analysis. No significant differences between the two conditions
were observed in terms of gender (Χ=1
2= 1.38,= .95) and age (=77.983 =1.738,= .086).
Most participants were working in a rural area (n=60), township (n=10), and only few in peri-urban
(n=4) or rural areas (n=3, n=37 did not specify). Also with regard to the general use of WhatsApp
(outside of the intervention), no significant differences could be found between the intervention and
the control group, neither concerning the writing nor reading. This underscores the comparability of
the two groups.
2.4 Data collection and measures
The data were collected through an online questionnaire using the platform survey monkey. A link to
the questionnaire was posted in each WhatsApp group. The participants in the control condition
were invited via the contact information that they had provided during recruitment. To maximise
participation, each participant who completed the questionnaire was provided with an airtime credit
of N500 (about US$1.2).
The survey included three main categories that related (1) to the participants’ background (age,
location etc.), (2) socio-professional connectedness, and (3) knowledge measurements including the
perceived knowledge transfer from school to practice settings, and the actual knowledge score which
was determined through a test. All off the measures presented below were assessed via 5-point
Likert scales ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), unless otherwise noted.
Knowledge score: The participants’ clinical knowledge was assessed with 14 multiple-choice
questions. The questions addressed topics that were discussed before in the WhatsApp groups. The
following question is one example: The first line drugs for treatment of tuberculosis consists of all of
the following except (a) Isoniazid; (b) Capreomycin (c) Rifampicin (d) Ethambutol.” The calculation of
the knowledge score was based on Haque, Rahman, Itsuko, Mutahara and Sakisaka (2014), i.e., all
correct answers were awarded with one point, wrong or missing answers received zero points. The
maximum knowledge score that participants could achieve were 14 points.
Knowledge transfer: To measure the extent to which the learners perceived to be able to apply
knowledge from their schools in their day-to-day practice, we used a shortened version of Xiao’s
(1996) scale on training transfer. The original scale was adapted to cover the transfer of the training
knowledge into the workplace in the context under investigation. The four items focused on the
frequency and ease of the transfer of knowledge gained from the previous training at the nursing
school in the current job, as well as on the extent to which this knowledge helped to tackle daily
work tasks. The four items showed acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = .74).
Professional social capital maintained with school connections: Social capital is a powerful measure
which is linked, inter alia, to peoples’ career success (Adler & Kwon, 2002) or, in the field of nursing,
it is viewed as an enabling factor for lifelong learning (Gopee, 2002). Recently, research on social
capital has been reflective of the dynamics of the digital area (Williams, 2006), showing its
connection to online engagement. For example, the use of Facebook has been associated with
students’ ability to maintain connections with members of a previously inhabited community, such as
with former friends and colleagues from school (Ellison et al., 2007). Research from contexts similar
to the present study has shown that mobile social media spaces can be serve as relevant resource for
professionals to maintain connections with their former school colleagues to solve work problems
and to discuss professional questions (Pimmer et al., 2014). Accordingly, a shortened version of
William’s (2006) validated social capital scale was used to determine the level of professional social
capital that the learners would maintain with their former school connections (similarly to Ellison et
al. (2007). The scale consisted of six items and showed good internal consistency (α =.87).
Isolation from the professional community was used to measure the learnersperceived separation
from the professional community. It was assumed that the use of MIM, and especially its connective
properties, would help learners in reaching out to and staying connected with friends and colleagues
from their profession. To determine the level of isolation that learners perceived to have from their
professional communities, a shortened version of the revised UCLA Loneliness Scale was used. The
UCLA scale is a measure to assess people’s isolation and loneliness (Russel, Peplau & Cutrona, 1980).
The adapted measurement that we used originally consisted of five items. However, it showed poor
internal consistency with Cronbach’s alpha = .59. Internal consistency was slightly improved by
excluding the item, “I am unhappy about being so cut off from other nurses”, from further analysis
=.66).
Professional identity: The formation of a professional identity is a complex process congruent to the
development of a personal identity. Broadly speaking, it describes the ways in which a person feels
that s/he is becoming part of a professional community (Cruess, Cruess, Boudreau, Snell & Steinert,
2015). The rationale to use the construct of professional identity was to determine whether, and, if
so to what extent the qualities of MIM to foster togetherness (Karapanos et al., 2016) would also
impact the users’ ability to connect with and to develop a sense of belonging to a professional
community. The professional identity scale of Adams, Hean, Sturgis and Clark (2006) was shortened
and contextualised (3 items), showing acceptable internal consistency (α = .77).
Job satisfaction: Although job satisfaction is a complex phenomenon, which is influenced by various
personal and contextual factors (Spector, 1997), the study also sought to explore the potential
linkage between the connectedness afforded through MIM and the participants’ satisfaction with
their current work. In line with previous studies which confirmed the validity of single-item measures
(Scarpello & Campbell, 1983; Wanous, Reichers & Hudy, 1997), the following question was used:
Overall, how satisfied are you with your job?
WhatsApp use: The learners’ use of WhatsApp followed the differentiation used by Cho (2014).
Instead of measuring the intensity of use (as expressed in time, frequency of access etc.), we
differentiated active and passive contribution patterns. In other words, the participants were asked
to indicate the extent to which they contributed with written messages, and the extent to which they
were reading messages on WhatsApp. Moreover, we discriminated the nurses’ participation in the
moderated WhatsApp group and their general use of WhatsApp outside of the intervention. The
cover the first aspect, the following questions were used: I have written many messages in the
WhatsApp group “Nurses Connect [the name of the group]; I have frequently read messages of
others in the WhatsApp group “Nurses Connect”. The informal, day-to-day use of WhatsApp was
addressed with the following questions: “In general, I write many messages on WhatsApp; In
general, I frequently read messages of others on WhatsApp.”
Finally, to determine the participants’ inclination to search for jobs in more urban areas (as rural
retention is a predominant concern in global health work (WHO, 2010)), we applied the single-item
measure: “I intend to get a new job in a more urban area as soon as I can find one.
2.5 Ethical consent
The Review Board of the University of Ibadan/University College Hospital approved the protocol of
the study. In addition, the research team obtained permission from the administrators of each school
before visiting the sites. In each school, the research team met with the students in a classroom and
informed them about the study. They emphasised the voluntary nature of participation and
highlighted that the data will be kept and presented in a confidential manner so that no linkages
could be made to individual participants. After this process, written informed consent was obtained.
3 Results
In the first analytical step, to address RQ1, we compared the intervention group with the control
group, i.e., the cohort that did not participate in the moderated WhatsApp spaces (See Table 1).
Because most of the measures employed 5-point Likert scales and were not normally distributed,
robust Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used for all significance tests (= .05).
In regard to the socio-professional measures, the feelings of professional isolation were significantly
lower in the intervention group (Mdn = 1.75) compared with the control group (Mdn = 2.00), Z =
1.726, p = 0.042, r = .16. The intervention group also achieved better results concerning the
knowledge score, which was significantly higher in the intervention group (Mdn = 11) compared with
the control group (Mdn = 10) Z = -2.182 , p = 0.015, r = .20).
No significant differences were found between the groups regarding the perceived knowledge
transfer and the socio-professional indicators of job satisfaction, inclination to search a new job in a
more urban area, professional social capital maintained with school connections, and professional
identity. Although the medians of the last two measures were higher in the intervention group than
in the control group, the results were not significant.
Table 1: Comparison between control and intervention cohort, and active intervention cohort
Control
Intervention
Wilcoxon Test
Intervention (active)
Wilcoxon Test
n M SD Mdn
n M SD Mdn
Z p
n M SD Mdn
Z p
Prof social capital 37 4.26 0.591 4.17
77 4.29 0.574 4.33
-0.129 0.449
42 4.46 0.356 4.50
-1.438 0.075
Prof identity 37 4.38 0.551 4.00
77 4.46 0.530 4.33
-0.973 0.165
42 4.56 0.573 4.67
-1.748 0.040
Prof isolation 37 1.99 0.628 2.00
77
1.
81 0.519 1.75
1.726 0.042
42 1.71 0.544 1.75
2.279 0.011
Knowledge transfer 27 4.22 0.424 4.25
59 4.18 0.591 4.25
0.132 0.553
33 4.18 0.584 4.25
0.000 0.500
Job satisfaction 28 3.61 0.629 4.00
58 3.19 1.115 4.00
1.443 0.926
32 3.28 1.170 4.00
0.594 0.724
Rural job retention 28 4.00 0.770 4.00
59 4.08 1.134 4.00
-1.197 0.116
33 4.24 1.091 5.00
-1.779 0.038
General WA use
(write) 37 3.81 1.101 4.00
77 3.88 0.959 4.00
-0.115 0.454
42 4.29 0.636 4
-1.805 0.036
General WA use
(read) 37 4.16 0.898 4.00
77 4.17 0.768 4.00
0.335 0.631
42 4.40 0.497 4
-0.791 0.214
Knowledge score 37 9.89 1.505 10
77
10.5
7 1.743 11
-2.182 0.015
42
10.8
1 1.656 11
-2.643 0.004
In the next step, to address RQ2, the intervention cohort was controlled for active participation. That
is, only respondents who agreed or strongly agreed with having made many written contributions in
the facilitated WhatsApp group were included. (See columns Intervention (active) in Table 1). This
reduced the number of the intervention group to n = 42, who were compared with the 37
participants in the control group. (For some measures, the sample size differs because of missing
values).
The analysis shows that the effects regarding lower levels of professional isolation in the WhatsApp
condition were even more pronounced, z = 2.279, p = 0.011, r=.25. In addition, the active part of the
intervention group (Mdn = 4.67) had also significantly higher levels of professional identity than the
control group (Mdn = 4.0), Z = -1.748, p = 0.04, r = .20. Moreover, the active contributors in the
intervention group exhibited a significantly higher inclination to search for a new job in a more urban
area (Mdn = 5.00 vs a Mdn = 4.00 in the control group; Z = -1.779, p = 0.038, r = .23). Again, the
medians of the measures of professional social capital and professional identity were higher in the
intervention group than in the control group, but the results did not reach the level of significance (p
= 0.075). And, no differences were found between the groups regarding job satisfaction and the
perceived knowledge transfer. The latter is again in contrast to the knowledge score which was
assessed through a test. There, the advancement of the intervention group was even more
pronounced (Z = -2.643, p = 0.004, r = .30).
In the third step, to address RQ3, we measured whether, and if so, to what extent, the general use of
WhatsApp across intervention and control groups would correlate with the socio-professional and
knowledge measures. Results with Kendall rank correlation show that nearly all the socio-
professional measures including job satisfaction and the intention to find a new job as well as
knowledge transfer were associated with the general and active use of WhatsApp (i.e. writing
messages). The most significant associations were found for professional social capital ( = .23, p <
.01), professional isolation ( = .22, p < .01) and professional identity ( = .23, p < .01). Similarly, the
general reading behaviour on WhatsApp (passive use), was correlated with the socio-professional
indicators of professional social capital, professional identity and professional isolation, albeit less
strongly than the active WhatsApp use. However, no correlations could be found between the
general reading behaviour on WhatsApp and knowledge transfer, job satisfaction and the intention
to find a new job in a more urban area. Unsurprisingly, the general WhatsApp use did not correlate
with the knowledge score.
Table 2: Kendall rank correlations of all measures
Measure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Prof social capital -
2. Prof identity 0.28** -
3. Prof isolation -0.39*** -0.36*** -
4. Knowledge transfer 0.17* 0.3*** -0.2* -
5. Job satisfaction -0.06 0.07 -0.09 0.13 -
6. New job 0.21* 0.22* -0.19* 0.29** -0.06 -
7. General WA use (write) 0.23** 0.23** -0.22** 0.23* 0.2* 0.2* -
8. General WA use (read) 0.18* 0.21* -0.22** 0.14 0.12 0.17 0.34*** -
9. Knowledge score 0.11 0.06 -0.07 0.06 0.10 0.06 0.11 0.10
4 Discussion
In essence, the facilitated use of MIM during learners’ school-to-work transition can enhance
knowledge and decrease professional isolation in comparison with a control group (RQ1). When
controlling for the active participation, the differences regarding knowledge and professional
connectedness were more pronounced, and broader, i.e., including also the development of a
professional identity. No differences could be found regarding the measure of professional social
capital maintained with school connections. One interpretation of this can be found in the answers
to RQ3, i.e., the strong associations between the general WhatsApp use and the socio-professional
measures (RQ3). More precisely in the finding that the general use of WhatsApp outside of the
intervention accounted strongly for the high levels of connectedness with former school friends, and
thus the the intervention could do little to accentuate ties further.
These results add to the emerging field of MIM research, a widespread but under-investigated
phenomenon (Tang & Hew, 2017, p. 85). The finding that socio-professional connectedness could be
improved through the use of WhatsApp extends insights from qualitative studies that attribute
heightened levels of social and emotional presence in the educational use of MIM platforms (Henry
et al., 2015; Timmis, 2012).
Importantly, the results also shed light on the modes of MIM use that impact potential outcomes,
and they might help to understand better the inconclusive findings of prior studies highlighted, for
example, in Tang and Hew’s (2017, p. 85) review. The present study suggests that, in addition to the
intensity of participation (Lai, 2016), it is the mode, i.e., the level of active (vs passive) engagement
which appears to impact the socio-professional and knowledge indicators measured in this study.
While we took the differentiation between writing and reading from Cho (2014), the underlying idea
can be already traced back to Watt’s (1967) study on opinion change. He demonstrated that, over
time, the active-participation condition (writing an argument) showed clear superiority over passive
participation (reading an argument), and also resulted in greater involvement in and superior recall
of the topic. In the domain of technology-enhanced learning, this discrimination has been taken up
rarely. One exception is the study of Rovai and Barnum (2007) who found that, in contrast to passive
engagement (the number of accesses to the discussion boards), only active engagement, i.e., the
number of messages posted by students per week, was a significant predictor of perceived learning.
However, no actual learning gains were assessed and no other validated measures were used in this
study. Remarkably, this differentiation is also neglected by many of the current social and mobile
media studies, including some of the most erudite works (Ellison et al., 2007, p. e. g. ; Valenzuela,
Park & Kee, 2009), which measure the intensity of social media use, e.g. expressed in terms of
frequency, the number of connections, or time spent in the digital space. In contrast, the findings of
this study reiterate the need to discriminate the different modes of engagement, and, more
precisely, they point to the value of active modes of engagement in mobile social media spaces.
The fact that the general, and thus informal, use of MIM alone can be associated with socio-
professional measures and knowledge transfer is another finding that requires contextualisation and
discussion. It underscores the relevance of MIM as part of students’ (inter)personal learning
environments (Pimmer et al., 2018; Timmis, 2012). Observations of this kind are still rare in the
extant literature, especially in the field of nursing, where, for example, a recent international study
on nursing students’ personal learning environments did not even consider the use of MIM
(Patterson et al., 2017). To some the association between informal MIM use and socio-professional
connectedness reflects findings of Sigalit et al. (2017), who found correlations between learners’
informal use of a range of social media platforms and resilience. They conceive the emotional and
social peer support, which can be provided through social media platforms during stressful events of
placements, as a relevant source for personal and group resilience (Sigalit et al., 2017), which might
be also applicable to the present investigation. More directly, this study corroborates the findings
from Pimmer et al.’s survey study (2018), who also identified linkages between informal WhatsApp
during placements and students’ maintained professional social capital, the development of their
professional identities, their placement satisfaction and reduced feelings of isolation from
professional communities.
The finding that socio-professional connectedness is linked to and can be enhanced by MIM use is of
particular relevance from a more practical perspective, as many health professionals, especially in
rural and remote areas, are affected by professional isolation (WHO, 2010). As the phenomenon of
professional isolation is not limited to health but concerns many other domains, such as teacher
training (Dussault, Deaudelin, Royer & Loiselle, 1999), the study’s findings are likely to be of more
general interest. For example, in one study teachers indicated that they engaged in informal online
communities to avoid the feeling of professional isolation. However, the expectation that
strengthened professional networks would alleviate the problem of retention of a rural workforce
(WHO, 2010), could not be confirmed by this study. The intervention-based WhatsApp activities did
not appear to exert effects on job satisfaction and rural retention. Moreover, the general (active) use
of WhatsApp correlated even positively with the intention to search a new job in an urban area, and
in the same way, with professional social capital, professional identity and (lower) levels of
professional isolation. This implies that, despite enhanced job satisfaction, strengthened professional
networks are associated with a higher tendency of professionals to search for a new job. This
seemingly contradictory pattern might be explained by Granovetter’s sociological network theory on
the Strength of Weak Ties. Granovetter (1973, 1983) posits that weak ties facilitate the circulation of
information including new ideas across larger networks. He observed that weak ties, i.e. connections
among acquaintances and colleagues, like the former school friends involved in the present study,
result in enhanced opportunities for (job) mobility, because such information is much more likely to
be spread among distant these ties (Granovetter, 1983).
Although this study corroborates and extends prior work, a number of limitations in the study design
need to be taken into account and addressed by future research. Firstly, the study was randomised at
school but not at student level. While this approach was viewed relevant so as to leverage pre-
existing social ties (Boyd & Ellison, 2007; Ellison et al., 2007), it is linked to the typical limitations of a
quasi-experimental design in which results are less robust compared with the randomisation of
individual subjects. Accordingly, future research might involve student cohorts large enough so that
the randomisation can be carried out within (and not between) schools; and more generally, involve
larger student numbers. Another limitation is that the use of MIM was measured through self-
reported measures, which is prone to bias (Junco, 2013). We thus encourage future research to
measure the actual use of MIM. Although this could be done quite simply for writing (based on a
quantitative content analysis), the tracking of learners’ reading behaviour requires the use of more
complex technical measures or apps. Finally, the comparison was made between a MIM intervention
group and a group which was not subjected to any treatment. While the findings suggest significant
effects of the intervention, they say nothing about the suitability of MIM in comparison with other
digital and mobile social media tools. Although prior work points to the capabilities of MIM to afford
intimate conversations more than other social media channels (Karapanos et al., 2016), the question
of media comparison was outside of the scope of this research and should be addressed in future
studies.
5 Conclusions
The study examined the educational use of MIM, a massive but under-investigated phenomenon, to
support learners in their school-to-work transitions. These transitions are one of the most critical
developmental phases, marked by knowledge gaps and low levels of professional connectedness.
The findings add to the extant literature by showing the effects of moderated WhatsApp use on
knowledge and professional immersion, confirming and extending a number of prior, mostly
qualitative studies. Another central insight is the association between the general, informal use of
WhatsApp, outside of the intervention activities, and socio-professional and knowledge measures.
These connections underpin the relevance that MIM has achieved as part of learners and
professionals (inter)personal learning environments. Another contribution that this study makes is
the identification of active participation (writing contributions), as a key influencing factor across
moderated and informal MIM use.
Acknowledgements
We appreciate the contributions of Mr. Samson Akande, the Project Officer and Mr. Oladipupo
Olaleye who created the WhatsApp group chats. We are grateful to the principals and staff of the
Schools of Nursing for their permission and to all the moderators and students who participated in
the project.
The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme), which is a
joint funding initiative by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swiss
National Science Foundation (SNSF), provided funding for this research (r4d-grant IZ01Z0_160910).
Appendices
Measures and questions
Transfer of knowledge
(5-point Likert from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree)
I frequently apply theory/ knowledge gained from my training at my nursing school or
department of nursing in my current job.
It is easy to transfer the theory/ knowledge gained from my training at my nursing school or
department of nursing in my current job
The theory/knowledge gained from my training at my nursing school or department of
nursing helps me to improve my work in my current position.
The theory/knowledge gained from my training at my nursing school or department of
nursing is relevant to tackling daily work tasks in my current job.
Professional social capital maintained with former school colleagues
(5-point Likert from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree)
I feel connected with friends from my nursing school whom I trust.
There are friends from my nursing school I could turn to for advice about making important
decisions.
I turn to friends from my nursing school to discuss professional or job-related problems.
Interacting with many friends and colleagues from my nursing school makes me feel like part
of a larger community.
I frequently discuss questions related to my work with friends and colleagues from my
nursing school.
I frequently discuss questions related to the profession of nursing with friends and colleagues
from my nursing school.
Professsional isolation
I feel distant from other nurses
I feel isolated from other nurses.
It is easy for me to get in touch with other nurses.
I am unhappy about being so cut off from other nurses.*
I feel part of a group of nurses.
* This item was excluded from further analysis to improve internal consistency.
Professional identity
I am pleased to belong to the nursing profession.
Being a member of the nursing profession is important to me.
I feel that I am a valuable member of the professional community of nurses
Adams, K., Hean, S., Sturgis, P., & Clark, J. M. (2006). Investigating the factors influencing professional
identity of first-year health and social care students. Learning in Health and Social Care, 5(2),
55-68.
Adler, P. S., & Kwon, S.-W. (2002). Social capital: Prospects for a new concept. Academy of
Management Review, 27(1), 17-40.
Boyd, D., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of
Computer Mediated Communication, 13(1), 210-230.
Chang, C.-Y., Lai, C.-L., & Hwang, G.-J. (2018). Trends and research issues of mobile learning studies in
nursing education: A review of academic publications from 1971 to 2016. Computers &
Education, 116, 28-48.
Cho, J. (2014). Will Social Media Use Reduce Relative Deprivation?: Systematic Analysis of Social
Capital’s Mediating Effects of Connecting Social Media Use with Relative Deprivation.
International Journal of Communication, 8, 23.
Christmas, K. (2008). How work environment impacts retention. Nursing Economics, 26(5), 316.
Clark, C. M., & Springer, P. J. (2012). Nurse residents' first-hand accounts on transition to practice.
Nursing outlook, 60(4), e2-e8.
Cruess, R. L., Cruess, S. R., Boudreau, J. D., Snell, L., & Steinert, Y. (2015). A schematic representation
of the professional identity formation and socialization of medical students and residents: a
guide for medical educators. Academic Medicine, 90(6), 718-725.
Dussault, M., Deaudelin, C., Royer, N., & Loiselle, J. (1999). Professional isolation and occupational
stress in teachers. Psychological reports, 84(3), 943-946.
Eick, S. A., Williamson, G. R., & Heath, V. (2012). A systematic review of placement-related attrition in
nurse education. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 49(10), 1299-1309.
Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and
college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer Mediated
Communication, 12(4), 1143-1168.
Evans, J., Boxer, E., & Sanber, S. (2008). The strengths and weaknesses of transitional support
programs for newly registered nurses. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, The, 25(4), 16.
Gopee, N. (2002). Human and social capital as facilitators of lifelong learning in nursing. Nurse
Education Today, 22(8), 608-616.
Granovetter, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American journal of sociology, 78(6), 1360-1380.
Granovetter, M. (1983). The strength of weak ties: A network theory revisited. Sociological theory,
1(1), 201-233.
Haque, S. E., Rahman, M., Itsuko, K., Mutahara, M., & Sakisaka, K. (2014). The effect of a school-
based educational intervention on menstrual health: an intervention study among
adolescent girls in Bangladesh. BMJ Open, e004607. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004607
Henry, J., Winters, N., Lakati, A., Oliver, M., Geniets, A., Mbae, S. M., & Wanjiru, H. (2015). Enhancing
the Supervision of Community Health Workers With WhatsApp Mobile Messaging:
Qualitative Findings From 2 Low-Resource Settings in Kenya. Global Health: Science and
Practice. doi:10.9745/GHSP-D-15-00386
Jayarajan, N., Lee, A., & Mwaikambo, L. (2017). WhatsApp as a Platform for Continued Professional
Development. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs.
Retrieved from https://www.k4health.org/resources/whatsapp-platform-continued-
professional-development
Junco, R. (2013). Comparing actual and self-reported measures of Facebook use. Computers in
Human Behavior, 29(3), 626-631.
Karapanos, E., Teixeira, P., & Gouveia, R. (2016). Need fulfillment and experiences on social media: A
case on Facebook and WhatsApp. Computers in Human Behavior, 55, 888-897.
Koen, J., Klehe, U.-C., & Van Vianen, A. E. (2012). Training career adaptability to facilitate a successful
school-to-work transition. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 81(3), 395-408.
Lai, A. (2016). Mobile immersion: an experiment using mobile instant messenger to support second-
language learning. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(2), 277-290.
Levett-Jones, T., Lathlean, J., Higgins, I., & McMillan, M. (2009). Staffstudent relationships and their
impact on nursing students’ belongingness and learning. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(2),
316-324.
Meleis, A. I. (2010). Transitions theory. Nursing theories and nursing practice, 361.
O'Hara, K., Massimi, M., Harper, R., Rubens, S., & Morris, J. (2014). Everyday dwelling with
WhatsApp. Paper presented at the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported
cooperative work & social computing Baltimore, MD, USA.
Patterson, C., Stephens, M., Chiang, V., Price, A. M., Work, F., & Snelgrove-Clarke, E. (2017). The
significance of personal learning environments (PLEs) in nursing education: Extending current
conceptualizations. Nurse Education Today, 48, 99-105.
Pimmer, C., Brühlmann, F., Odetola, T. D., Dipeolu, O., Gröhbiel, U., & Ajuwon, A. J. (2018). Instant
messaging and nursing students' clinical learning experience. Nurse Education Today, 64,
119124
Pimmer, C., Brysiewicz, P., Linxen, S., Walters, F., Chipps, J., & Gröhbiel, U. (2014). Informal mobile
learning in nurse education and practice in remote areas. A case study from rural South
Africa. Nurse Education Today, 34(11), 1398-1404.
Raiman, L., Antbring, R., & Mahmood, A. (2017). WhatsApp messenger as a tool to supplement
medical education for medical students on clinical attachment. BMC Medical Education,
17(1), 7.
Rovai, A. P., & Barnum, K. T. (2007). On-line course effectiveness: An analysis of student interactions
and perceptions of learning. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 18(1),
57-73.
Rudd, P. (1997). From Socialisation to Postmodernity: a review of theoretical perspectives on the
school-to-work transition. Journal of education and work, 10(3), 257-279.
Rush, K. L., Adamack, M., Gordon, J., Lilly, M., & Janke, R. (2013). Best practices of formal new
graduate nurse transition programs: an integrative review. International Journal of Nursing
Studies, 50(3), 345-356.
Russel, D., Peplau, L. A., & Cutrona, C. E. (1980). The revised UCLA Loneliness Scale: Concurrent and
discriminant validity evidence. Journal of personality and social psychology, 39(3), 472-480.
Scarpello, V., & Campbell, J. P. (1983). Job satisfaction: Are all the parts there? Personnel psychology,
36(3), 577-600.
Sigalit, W., Sivia, B., & Michal, I. (2017). Factors Associated With Nursing Students' Resilience:
Communication Skills Course, Use of Social Media and Satisfaction With Clinical Placement.
Journal of Professional Nursing, 33(2), 153-161.
Spector, P. E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes, and consequences (Vol. 3):
Sage publications.
Statista. (2017). Most famous social network sites worldwide as of August 2017, ranked by number of
active users (in millions). Retrieved from
https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-
users/
Tang, Y., & Hew, K. F. (2017). Is mobile instant messaging (MIM) useful in education? Examining its
technological, pedagogical, and social affordances. Educational Research Review, 21, 85-104.
Timmis, S. (2012). Constant companions: Instant messaging conversations as sustainable supportive
study structures amongst undergraduate peers. Computers & Education, 59(1), 3-18.
Valenzuela, S., Park, N., & Kee, K. F. (2009). Is there social capital in a social network site?: Facebook
use and college students' life satisfaction, trust, and participation. Journal of Computer-
Mediated Communication, 14(4), 875-901.
Wanous, J. P., Reichers, A. E., & Hudy, M. J. (1997). Overall job satisfaction: how good are single-item
measures? Journal of applied Psychology, 82(2), 247.
Watts, W. A. (1967). Relative persistence of opinion change induced by active compared to passive
participation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 5(1), 4.
WhatsApp Blog. (2017). Connecting One Billion Users Every Day. Retrieved from
https://blog.whatsapp.com/?l=en
WHO. (2010). Increasing access to health workers in remote and rural areas through improved
retention. Global policy recommendations. Retrieved from
http://www.who.int/hrh/retention/guidelines/en/index.html
Williams, D. (2006). On and off the’Net: Scales for social capital in an online era. Journal of Computer-
Mediated Communication, 11(2), 593-628.
Xiao, J. (1996). The relationship between organizational factors and the transfer of training in the
electronics industry in Shenzhen, China. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 7(1), 55-
73.
... However, the results of those studies can offer us only an incomplete understanding of the importance of students' perceived social presence in facilitating learning, particularly in educational contexts in which mobile instant messaging (MIM) applications (e.g. the LINE application) are utilized, as indicated by some prior studies (e.g. Pimmer et al., 2019;Tang & Hew, 2017). ...
... Facebook, Twitter) or MIM (e.g. LINE, WhatsApp, WeChat) enable users to effectively share information with their peers when they participate in work/learning activities (Pimmer et al., 2019(Pimmer et al., , 2021. This study, therefore, integrates the perspectives of social presence theory (Short et al., 1976;Weidlich & Bastiaens, 2017) and social identity theory (Bergami & Bagozzi, 2000;Tajfel & Turner, 1986) to develop a theoretical model, investigating the influences of nursing interns' social interactions on their perceived PBL performance. ...
... An instructor playing the guiding role in learning can vigorously promote students' active participation, deepen critical thinking, and enhance problem-solving skills in learning processes. However, prior studies appear to overlook the investigation of interns' perceived learning performance using instant-message-based social media in the education of school-to-work transitions (Pimmer et al., 2019(Pimmer et al., , 2021. For example, while several advanced ICT technologies (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Lay Description What is already known about this topic? Previous studies have confirmed that social presence significantly affects learning performance. In learning communities, social interaction depends on the development of trust networks. What this paper adds? This study reveals that students' perceived problem‐based learning (PBL) performance can be measured by the four primary of independent study, group interaction, reasoning skills and active participation. Accordingly, social presence, social identification and trust can significantly influence these four dimensions of learning performance. The social interaction in community‐based PBL contexts was observed, and it is found that students' level of social presence have a positive influence on their social identification, trust and perceived PBL performance. The implications of study findings for practitioners The interpersonal interaction among students in the online PBL communities improves the students' understanding of PBL processes and enhances their learning outcomes in nursing internship programs. The findings of this study can effectively guide educators and instructors to develop effective approaches to organize and manage PBL‐based nursing internship programs.
... Forty-three percent (n ¼ 10) were published in the year of 2020, and 35% (n ¼ 8) were published in 2019, and the rest were published between 2017 and 2018 (n ¼ 5, 22%). Regarding specific MIM services, two tools were Four types of participants were involved in the reviewed studies, including: (a) teachers (n ¼ 4) (e.g., Allela et al. 2020;Moodley 2019;Xue et al. 2021); (b) healthcare professionals (n ¼ 5), including doctors, clinicians, and nurses (e.g., Oyewole et al. 2020;Pimmer et al. 2019;Torrejon et al. 2020); (c) professionals in other areas (n ¼ 2), such as professionals in environment and nature studies (Gil 2019) and firefighters (Ng and Cheung 2020); and (d) people seeking help (n ¼ 11), such as patients, their relatives, or others who are in need of medical guidance or psychological support. Examples of participants in this group include residents being quarantined during COVID-19 (Hu et al. 2020), adults with hypertension , and parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (Hemdi and Daley 2017). ...
... The studies have been reported that difficulty in learning newly developed applications and reaction to new applications reduces the intention of stakeholders (Halili & Sulaiman, 2019). The young users adopt the technological changes more rapidly instead of older workforce, so therefore it is point of concern that older workforce in the university teachers may be reluctant to adopt the technological applications due to complexity and lack of skills (Pimmer et al., 2019). It has been stated that when it comes to considering new technologies, males are less reliant on enabling circumstances. ...
Article
Full-text available
The core objective of this research effort entails the satisfaction assessment of the students of public sector universities of Punjab, Pakistan during and after the forced lockdown of COVID-19 for approximate two years and faced a number of issues, challenges, and problems during the restoration of the physical mode of education. The world had to face the lockdown as governments restricted travel and public gathering, and the behavior of students and participants of the education sector received a negative impact due to issues in adopting the tech applications that facilitate education activities. The study highlighted the core factors of e-education awareness, facilitating conditions, and behavioral intention to adopt the tech applications that have the tendency to influence the satisfaction level. The study uniquely contributed by assessing the mediation role of intention to adopt tech applications between e-education awareness, facilitating conditions and students' satisfaction. The current study utilized a simple random sampling technique for data collection through a questionnaire, the Smart-PLS was used for data analysis that provided the results that support the notion of the study that e-education awareness influences the behavioral intention to adopt tech applications and students' satisfaction, further the facilitating condition influences the intention of students to adopt the tech application, however, the facilitating condition found to be insignificant to the student's satisfaction. The intention to adopt the tech applications significantly mediated the relationship between e-education awareness, facilitating conditions and students' satisfaction. In future researchers may focus to alter the measurement scale of students' satisfaction, the methodological perspective can also be focused in future research by intensive modification in measurement scale of satisfaction. The future research avenue should entail the assessment of workplace environment related variables for determining the specific phenomenon.
... Given the need to find more inclusive e-tutoring with complements to institutional Learning Management Systems (LMS), the use of a mobile instant messenger (MIM) was considered. The consideration is based on the MIM serving as a complement for a LMS (Pimmer et al., 2019) and the growing number of MIM users, such as WhatsApp, in South Africa (Seyama, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The use of data-intensive synchronous tutoring options, such as Zoom, can be exclusionary in South Africa where there is limited access to the internet in homes. The literature indicates the following challenges for electronic tutoring in South Africa: a lack of devices, high data costs, network connectivity issues, inadequate digital skills and competencies. To address the challenge of high data costs, a South African data-free mobile instant messenger was tested for electronic tutoring. The research model used the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework (TPACK) as the theoretical basis. This research used a case study in a large, first-year accounting course of 496 students with fifteen tutors, at a historically disadvantaged institution. Qualitative data was collected from accounting tutors using a survey and purposive sampling. The data was analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings highlighted Technology Knowledge was key to using a mobile instant messenger to tutor effectively online. Tutors with good accounting Content Knowledge found it easier to use the data-free application to explain concepts. Tutors used their Pedagogical Knowledge to be more flexible and provide support to students after hours. Tutors indicated Technological Content Knowledge as they used the features of the data-free instant messenger students to assist student learning. Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge was evidenced by tutors’ use of multimodal approaches such as using voice notes and pictures to explain concepts to students at convenient times, even without data. However, students with Apple devices were still excluded. The findings from this study can assist in designing more inclusive student electronic tutoring interventions.
... Given the need to find more inclusive e-tutoring with complements to institutional Learning Management Systems (LMS), the use of a mobile instant messenger (MIM) was considered. The consideration is based on the MIM serving as a complement for a LMS (Pimmer et al., 2019) and the growing number of MIM users, such as WhatsApp, in South Africa (Seyama, 2019). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The use of data-intensive synchronous tutoring options, such as Zoom, can be exclusionary in South Africa where there is limited access to the internet in homes. The literature indicates the following challenges for electronic tutoring in South Africa: a lack of devices, high data costs, network connectivity issues, inadequate digital skills and competencies. To address the challenge of high data costs, a South African data-free mobile instant messenger was tested for electronic tutoring. The research model used the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge Framework (TPACK) as the theoretical basis. This research used a case study in a large, first-year accounting course of 496 students with fifteen tutors, at a historically disadvantaged institution. Qualitative data was collected from accounting tutors using a survey and purposive sampling. The data was analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings highlighted Technology Knowledge was key to using a mobile instant messenger to tutor effectively online. Tutors with good accounting Content Knowledge found it easier to use the data-free application to explain concepts. Tutors used their Pedagogical Knowledge to be more flexible and provide support to students after hours. Tutors indicated Technological Content Knowledge as they used the features of the data-free instant messenger students to assist student learning. Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge was evidenced by tutors' use of multimodal approaches such as using voice notes and pictures to explain concepts to students at convenient times, even without data. However, students with Apple devices were still excluded. The findings from this study can assist in designing more inclusive student electronic tutoring interventions.
... Liu et al. (2015) relevantly mentioned that older people tend to have lower cognitive abilities, and therefore, they are likely to find learning new technology challenging, as opposed to younger people. For this reason, older consumers are likely to prioritize the obtainability of sufficient support (Pimmer et al., 2019). Meanwhile, facilitating conditions with regards to ICT comprise aspects including technical infrastructure, material resources, and the knowledge essential in its usage. ...
Article
Full-text available
Digital divide, trust towards e-commerce system, and facilitating conditions as the factors impacting the use intention of the international trade center were examined in this study, through a survey carried out on 500 Jordanian students. The proposed conceptual model was empirically tested, and significant impact of trust and facilitating conditions on intention to use the international trade center was affirmed. Meanwhile, the digital divide did not impact the intention to use the international trade center. Being limited to the Jordanian context, the study findings may not be generalizable to other countries.
Chapter
The use of new technologies such as messaging applications and chatbots in higher education is rapidly growing in Western countries. This entails a careful consideration of the potential opportunities and/or challenges of adopting these tools. Hence, a comprehensive examination of the teachers’ opinions and needs in this discipline can shed light on the effective ways of enhancing students’ learning and boosting their progress. In this contribution, we have surveyed the opinions of instructors based in Spain (mainly) and Spanish-speaking countries. Specifically, we aimed to collect teachers’ feedback about their opinions regarding the introduction of the messaging platforms and chatbots in their classes, understand their needs and to collect information about the various educational use cases where these tools are valuable. In addition, an analysis of how and when teachers’ opinions towards the use of these tools can vary across gender, experience, and their discipline of specialization is presented. The key findings of this study highlight the factors that can contribute to the advancement of the adoption of messaging platforms and Chabots in higher education institutions to achieve the desired learning outcomes.
Chapter
The subjective experiences and satisfaction of using technology to collaborate remotely may differ due to the individual differences of personal characteristics. The present study aims to investigate the influence of empathy tendency on user experience. Twelve groups of three participants completed a decision-making task in the virtual environment. The results revealed a significant correlation between personal traits (i.e., empathy and the big five personalities), user experience (i.e., social presence), and satisfaction. The level of cognitive empathy has a positive effect on the feeling of social presence, social immersion, and outcome satisfaction in the virtual environment, while is not associated with media satisfaction. The findings of this study suggest that the cognitive ability of empathy, namely the ability to identify with and understand the views of others may increase one’s experience and satisfaction in remote collaboration. This study provides an empirical exploration of team interactions in virtual environments and advances user research by identifying the relationship between user’s traits (empathy), user experience, and satisfaction.
Article
The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors that influence the usage intention for different instant messaging application platforms. This study targeted the widespread instant messaging software LINE, for which a survey of 485 valid respondents was conducted in Taiwan. Statistical and model structure analyses were applied to validate the hypotheses proposed in this study. We examined the differences between single- and multi-platform use cases in terms of the relationship between consumer value and behavioral intention. The results show that perceived interactivity, perceived playfulness, and perceived usefulness have significant effects on the continued usage and recommendation intentions of users in a single-platform use case. However, perceived interactivity and perceived playfulness did not have significant effects in multi-platform use cases. The findings of this study provide a new perspective for investigating the intention to continue using a multiplatform application. The results will benefit subsequent studies in this area and provide guidance for the development of instant messaging and other social media applications.
Article
This study reports on the incorporation of mobile instant messaging (MIM) in assessments, as a collaborative learning tool, to enable students to socially construct knowledge and develop their collaborative problem solving competence, while being assessed individually. In particular, this study explores: what is the extent and timing of students’ use of MIM to communicate with other students while being assessed individually? What communicative activities are evident in the content of students’ MIM communications while being assessed individually? How do students experience being able to use MIM while being assessed individually? The results of this study’s analysis of the messages sent during various assessments suggests that when incorporating MIM into assessments, instructors should consider the objective of those assessments together with the nature (e.g. essay style) and the stakes of the assessments as these appear to influence the extent, timing and content of the instant messaging communications by the students during the assessment. A survey of the students suggested that their experiences of being able to use MIM during assessments were largely positive due to the learning opportunities, collaboration and teamwork, authenticity and equity that the introduction of instant messaging during assessment enabled.
Article
Full-text available
Although learning in clinical settings is a key element of nursing education, for many learners these are challenging developmental contexts often marked by isolation and a lack of belongingness. Despite the massive appropriation of mobile instant messaging (MIM) platforms and the connective properties attendant to them, very little is known about their role in and impact on nursing students’ clinical learning experiences. To address this gap, the study, which was part of a multinational research project on the use of mobile social media in health professions education in developing countries, examined the use of the instant messaging platform WhatsApp by nursing students during placements and potential associations with socio-professional indicators. The survey involved a total number of 196 nursing students from 5 schools in Oyo State, Nigeria. The findings suggest that students used WhatsApp relatively frequently and they perceived that this platform strongly enhanced their communication with other students and nurses. WhatsApp use during placements was positively associated with students’ maintained social capital with peer students, the development of a professional identity, placement satisfaction and with reduced feelings of isolation from professional communities. The determinants that influenced WhatsApp use during placements were perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. No associations were found between WhatsApp use during placement and age, attitude, subjective norms and placement duration. This study is one of the first of its kind that points to the relevance of mobile instant messaging as part of nursing students’ (inter)personal learning environments in clinical settings and, particularly, in the development setting under investigation. Further research is needed to corroborate these findings, to enhance the understanding of the impact mechanisms, and to evaluate a more systematic use of MIM in clinical learning contexts.
Article
Full-text available
Background Instant messaging applications have the potential to improve and facilitate communication between hospital doctors and students, hence generating and improving learning opportunities. This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of instant messaging communication to supplement medical education for medical students whilst on clinical attachment. Methods A total of 6 WhatsApp Messenger (WhatsApp Inc.) groups were created for medical students on clinical attachment. These were used to provide communication within Problem Based Learning (PBL) groups for a duration of 8 weeks. The frequency and type of communication were recorded. Students’ opinions were evaluated through a structured interview process at the end of the study period. A thematic analysis was performed on the content of the instant messaging groups and on the results of the structured interviews. Results All of the participants were active in their respective messaging groups (19 students and 6 tutors). A total of 582 messages, 22 images and 19 webpage links were sent. Thematic analysis on content of the instant messaging groups identified the following themes: organisational, educational and social. Thematic analysis on the content of interviews identified themes such as the ease of use of instant messaging, benefit of instant messaging to foster understanding and learning, and the ability to access recorded discussions. Conclusion The findings of this study illustrate a method by which communication within PBL groups can be facilitated by the use of instant messaging. The results indicate the feasibility and acceptability of WhatsApp Messenger in supplementing PBL teaching for medical students, and provides a framework for studies to investigate use amongst larger cohorts of students.
Article
Full-text available
CHWs used WhatsApp with their supervisors to document their work, spurring healthy competition and team building between CHWs in the 2 pilot sites. While there was considerable variation in the number of times each participant posted messages—from 1 message to 270 messages—in total they posted nearly 2,000 messages over 6 months. 88% of messages corresponded to at least 1 of 3 defined supervisory objectives of (1) creating a social environment, (2) sharing communication and information, or (3) promoting quality of services. ABSTRACT An estimated half of all mobile phone users in Kenya use WhatsApp, an instant messaging platform that provides users an affordable way to send and receive text messages, photos, and other media at the one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one, or many-to-many levels. A mobile learning intervention aimed at strengthening supervisory support for community health workers (CHWs) in Kibera and Makueni, Kenya, created a WhatsApp group for CHWs and their supervisors to support supervision, professional development, and team building. We analyzed 6 months of WhatsApp chat logs (from August 19, 2014, to March 1, 2015) and conducted interviews with CHWs and their supervisors to understand how they used this instant messaging tool. During the study period, 1,830 posts were made by 41 participants. Photos were a key component of the communication among CHWs and their supervisors: 430 (23.4%) of all posts contained photos or other media. Of the remaining 1,400 text-based posts, 87.6% (n = 1,227) related to at least 1 of 3 defined supervision objectives: (1) quality assurance, (2) communication and information, or (3) supportive environment. This supervision took place in the context of posts about the roll out of the new mobile learning intervention and the delivery of routine health care services, as well as team-building efforts and community development. Our preliminary investigation demonstrates that with minimal training, CHWs and their supervisors tailored the multi-way communication features of this mobile instant messaging technology to enact virtual one-to-one, group, and peer-to-peer forms of supervision and support, and they switched channels of communication depending on the supervisory objectives. We encourage additional research on how health workers incorporate mobile technologies into their practices to develop and implement effective supervisory systems that will safeguard patient privacy, strengthen the formal health system, and create innovative forms of community-based, digitally supported professional development for CHWs.
Article
In the past decades, the issues related to mobile learning have been widely discussed around the globe; however, the development and trends of applying mobile technologies in nursing education still lack systematic analysis. In this study, a meta review of the studies published in academic journals from 1971 to 2016 was conducted to analyze the application domains, subjects, adopted learning strategies, investigated research issues and findings of mobile technology-supported nursing education. From the review results, it was found that the use of mobile technologies in nursing education and training have made great progress in the past decades. In addition to the changes in mobile technologies and the increasing number of mobile learning studies in nursing education, the subjects and research issues have also become more diverse in recent years. It was also found that mobile learning has mainly been applied to the training of basic nursing concepts and skills as well as to long-term care and obstetrics and gynecology, while few or even no studies are related to other nursing education domains. In addition, several widely adopted mobile learning strategies, such as inquiry-based learning, contextual mobile learning, snychronous sharing, Mindtools, project-based learning and peer assessment, have seldom been adopted in mobile nursing education. This also reflects the fact that most of these studies focused on skills training and basic knowledge comprehension, while few were conducted in the domains aimed at fostering learners' higher order thinking competences, such as problem solving or critical thinking. On the other hand, it was found that the number of studies using an experimental design has increased in recent years; moreover, most studies reported the learners’ cognitive performance and perceptions, while their learning behaviors were seldom analyzed. Accordingly, the research trends and potential research issues of mobile nursing education are proposed as a reference for researchers, instructors and policy makers.
Article
Although the use of mobile communication services, commonly known as mobile instant messaging (MIM) has gained considerable attention in recent years, we lack a comprehensive understanding of how it can be used for teaching and learning. This study is the first to systematically review the use of MIM in educational settings. Our search procedure yielded 39 empirical studies from six major educational databases. Using Kirschner et al.’s (2004) conceptual framework, we reviewed these 39 studies in terms of the possible technological, pedagogical, and social affordances of MIM. Overall, analysis of previous studies revealed six technological affordances of MIM. The four most frequently mentioned technological affordances were temporal, user-friendly, minimal cost, and multi-modality features. Our analysis also revealed six specific ways in which MIM was used in education: journaling, dialogic, transmissive, constructionist with peer feedback, helpline, and assessment. The effect of MIM on improving student cognitive outcomes can be summarized as cautiously optimistic when it was used to supplement course content in dialogic activities. MIM appears to make the development of social presence easier than other forms of computer-mediated communications (e.g., discussion forum). Challenges exist, namely device ownership, internet access, improper language use and interference with private lives. This study concludes by discussing several implications of the current research and suggestions for future studies.
Article
Background: Personal learning environments (PLE) have been shown to be a critical part of how students negotiate and manage their own learning. Understandings of PLEs appear to be constrained by narrow definitions that focus primarily on technological engagement with a range of web tools and associated applications. This paper addresses a gap in the literature around PLEs for students currently enrolled in undergraduate nursing degrees. Purpose: To provide in-depth insights into how undergraduate students of nursing manage and experience their learning. Methods: This was an international multi-site qualitative study, utilizing focus groups. A schedule of 10 questions and nominal group techniques were used. Findings: Whilst the focus groups took place in very different geographical locations, there were strong similarities in student understandings of effective PLEs. These went well beyond current technological definitions. Findings were organized into three major themes; technologies, learning modalities and influencing factors. Discussion: We propose a broader understanding of PLEs that acknowledges individual personal and cultural contexts which we call the personally significant learning environment (PSLE). There is a need for greater investigation of how students understand and systematize their PSLE. Conclusions: This paper and our findings will be of interest to educators, researchers and institutions for developing appropriate frameworks that may maximize learning outcomes, encourage cultural sensitivities and facilitate greater understandings of how to support students to create appropriate PSLEs.
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore the (a) associations between students' personal and group resilience to their utilization of social networking platforms and formally taught communication skills, (b) students' personal and clinical characteristics that are related to personal and group resilience and the perceived helpfulness of communication course, and (c) factors that contribute to students' satisfaction with their clinical placement.Data were collected from 149 second year nursing students learning in a major university in the country of Israel with the use of a self-administered structured questionnaire. Students' satisfaction from their clinical placement was measured using 1 open-ended question, analyzed through qualitative methods.Results demonstrated positive correlations between students' use of social networking to their personal and group resilience (P . <. .05). Moreover, social media use, religion, and clinical placement characteristics were related to resilience and to the perceived helpfulness of the communication course (P . <. .01). Students' satisfaction with their clinical placement was based primarily on the clinical instructors' personal and professional skills. In conclusion, social networking can and should be used as a learning tool to promote resilience among nursing students. Faculty and nurse managers should be aware of the central role of the clinical instructor and initiate collaborative and supporting initiatives.
Article
This study aimed at examining the relationship between social media use, communication with influential others, social capital, and relative deprivation. It examined the roles of two main variables-communication with influential others and social capital-for mediating social media use and relative deprivation. For this examination, a path model was tested through structural equation modeling (SEM). SEM results indicated that communication with influential others significantly and positively mediated the relationship between social media use and social capital-personal network and personal trust. Moreover, it could be found that social capital significantly reduced relative deprivation. These results indicate the considerable role of social media for reducing relative deprivation, helping the resolution of social problems related to relative deprivation.
Article
Immersion has been an acclaimed approach for second-language acquisition, but is not available to most students. The idea of this study was to create a mobile immersion environment on a smartphone using a mobile instant messenger, WhatsApp™. Forty-five Form-1 (7th grade) students divided into the Mobile Group and Control Group participated in a 3-month experiment in 2014. Net gain in vocabulary scores, on high-frequency English verbs, between pre-test and post-test was the measurement of learning progress. The statistics showed no significant difference between the two groups’ means. However, within the Mobile Group, there was a significant correlation between an individual's chat frequency and vocabulary gain. Furthermore, chat histories of participants revealed a possible theme that the effectiveness of the mobile immersion might depend primarily on students’ mentality toward the interactive learning environment, or specifically, whether students were ready to actually live the second language socially on the platform.