Social media in the VET classroom

VET inclass example of a twitter back-channel.
VET in class example of a twitter back-channel.

Social media for many means catching up with what friends are doing via Facebook or following the latest celebrity on Twitter. But is can be so much more than that for an educator who is prepared to put in some extra work to effectively use to Social Media within a class environment.

It is important to consider the affordances in relation to the learning program to determine if there will be of benefit to the students (Bower, 2008). There will always be resistance from some students when social media for a variety of reasons. Due to this resistance it is important to ensure that any learning done through this mechanism is duplicated elsewhere.

One crucial issue is of course age, with many social media requiring the user to be over a certain age to agree to the terms and conditions. For use in a VET classroom, as outlined by Roblyer (2013) it is crucial that appropriate social media site are chosen that will create a professional learning avenue for students. It is also important for students to understand this is a professional site and should not be linked to their personal activities. By utilizing the affordances outlined by Bower (2008) and the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing created by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) a teacher can provide supported pedagogical reasoning behind why they are choosing a specific social media platform in their classroom.

One interesting piece of research by McCorkle D.E, and McCorkle Y.L., (2012) focussed on the use of LinkedIn in a marketing class room. The article outlined the assessment program that stepped students through the very basic setting up a profile to building a professional network.

This strategy has been reflected in current practice in the 2014 Article in Training Matters which focused on the use of LinkedIn in a VET Certificate III in Pathology qualification. The lecturer used LinkedIn in a variety of ways; the initial use was a discussion forum between students and industry but then it branched out as a mentoring forum for alumni students; a employment and job placement area; industry announcement. The heavy ties with industry through LinkedIn gave currency to the course.

With any social media it is important for students to understand why they are being asked to participate. Twitter as a back channel for on topic discussion by students during a lecture or presentation can vie valuable insight into the understanding by the students. This can simply be as easy as putting together a hashtag for the class group to respond to. In Hew & Cheung (2013) article they outlined how one institution saw an increase in GPA’s in the test group using twitter which was put down to students engaging with lecturers and content discussions via this social medium. Being able to access this application through a mobile device or desktop meant that the students were able to continue to learn and reflect of critical points 24/7.

The implementation of social media in a VET classroom does warrant investigation as an avenue to support students who are often in the workplace or studying through a blended delivery approach.


Anderson, L., & Krathwohl, D., (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies.Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi:10.1080/09523980701847115

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4). doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Hew, K., & Cheung, W. (2013). Use of Web 2.0 technologies in K-12 and higher education: The search for evidence-based practice. Educational Research Review, 9, 47-64. doi:10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001

Jelfs, A., & Richardson, J. (2013). The use of digital technologies across the adult life span in distance education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2). doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01308.x

Laurillard, D. (2009). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1). doi:10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

McCorkle, D., & McCorkle, Y. (2012). Using Linkedin in the Marketing Classroom: Exploratory Insights and Recommendations for Teaching Social Media/Networking. Marketing Education Review, 22(2), 157-166. doi:10.2753/mer1052-8008220205

Passion for teaching. (2014). Training Matters, (20), 17. Retrieved from

Roblyer, M. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow: Pearson.

3 thoughts on “Social media in the VET classroom”

  1. You have raised some very valid points in your post and it was interesting to see the link you made with the LinkedIn example.

    As VET is taught with the intention of entering the workforce social media must be addressed and used in readiness. However, as VET is also taught in schools and is becoming a hot topic with the HSC, we have discussed the use of social media outlining the positives and negatives for businesses and customers using social media, raising the awareness to privacy and personal security (Roblyer and Doering, 2014) with the potential for severe consequences missing the internet and social media. Is this assumed within an adult education setting or are these concerns discussed?

    Great blog, I will be reading more!


    1. Hi Rochelle,
      It is an interesting point you raised in response to my blog posting about Social Media in the VET classroom.
      As an adult facilitator in the VET sector who uses social media in my training environment I do go through a discussion of the positives and negatives of social media to raise my students’ awareness. Often these points are completely new to many of my students who had never considered personal security or privacy (Roblyer and Doering, 2014), which to me is alarming.
      In a school context, especially with VET in Schools now being on the National agenda for reform – VETreform (, it is crucial for VET providers who are auspicing with Schools to consider the discussions that are taking place within a school setting around the use of social media and technology.
      While it is important to ensure we provide our students (both in the school and VET sector) with a good instruction of how to use social media in a positive light, I do believe however, that we need to temper the students’ enthusiasm for social media use to protect students primarily from themselves.

  2. Hello Yvette

    I also found your example of LinkedIn being used within the VET classroom to be really interesting. I am currently working within a workplace Training College (which is also an RTO) and we are introducing a Cadet program this year (Year 11 & 12 students) which will include both organisational workplace learning and incorporate a Certificate II and III qualification. One of the series of lessons I am planning is the creation of a Career Portfolio that they can create and build on over this two year period as they develop their workplace knowledge and skills. I had not even considered LinkedIn as a possibility for part of this process; however, it definitely is relevant and has merit, particularly as I am hoping to introduce learning technologies into the curriculum for this group. The College has created a restricted internet platform for this group, so the use of any internet or social media sites will be limited and controlled. The College also has a clear social media policy for all participants (regardless of age). As you have pointed out, it is important that any use of social media in the classroom provides a professional learning avenue for students. I am now going to explore this avenue, as I can see it has potential to work well in tandem with the creation of a Career Portfolio.

    Thank you!

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