Social Networking Website-Based Learning Activities to Develop Critical Thinking Skills among Undergraduate Students in Saudi Arabia
thesisposted on 20.06.2017, 09:35 by Nada Jehad Alsaleh
The aim of this study is to investigate whether the use of social networking (SN) website-based learning activities can promote students’ critical thinking (CT) skills and their participation in course activities. For this, an educational intervention was designed and implemented through several stages, drawing from the ADDIE (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation) learning design model. The intervention is a type of learning activity design based on the WebQuest model, and included open-ended questions and different SN website sources. In order to answer a given question, students were required to browse, criticise and evaluate the source content and present their thoughts in an argumentative essay. I adopted the design-based research (DBR) approach within a mixed methods research design framework to evaluate the effectiveness of the research intervention. Research tools included a CT rubric and student questionnaires as the quantitative tools; and observations, student focus groups and student reflections as the qualitative tools. The main study was conducted in one semester course (16 weeks) with 24 undergraduate female students at King Saud University (KSU), in the first semester of 2014-2015. The quantitative and qualitative data were analysed at the same stage, at the end of the semester. The quantitative data was analysed using one-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA), Pairwise Comparisons (post-hoc test) and some descriptive statistics. In addition, the qualitative data was analysed thematically using the research questions as a basis for the analysis themes. The intervention revealed positive findings in terms of students’ CT and argumentative writing skills as well as their attitudes. The findings also provide a deeper understanding of students’ perceptions of SN website usage and investigate the factors that affect students’ participation in these course activities. This study found that SN websites alone cannot promote student participation in course activities. SN website usage should be combined with other aspects/factors such as choosing activity topics, the teacher’s role in introducing and implementing activities and consideration of students’ time and other course’s requirements. This study contributes to knowledge by exploring how social constructivism propositions can apply to SN website-based learning activities to help Saudi students learn and apply CT skills.