Use of WhatsApp in Higher Education for Teaching and Learning: Sociocultural Perspective of Learning

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Hlaviso Motlhaka


Drawing from social learning theory, this study aims to investigate the experiences of third-year students regarding the use of WhatsApp group chat for teaching and learning. This is premised during a COVID-19 lockdown context at a rural South African university, wherein opportunities to learn socially from each other are created as students interact with their peers, educators and facilitators, and learning materials, objects and activities are collaboratively co-created, shared and disseminated through WhatsApp groups. Data were collected through focus group interview of eight third-year students registered for a Bachelor of Education in Senior Phase and FET degree majoring in English and Life Orientation. The study found that WhatsApp allows students to communicate, collaborate and encourage in remote learning to disseminate knowledge as a way of improving their academic performance. The results provide an insight into how WhatsApp plays a significant role in learning English in the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, which consequently improves students’ academic literacy and interpersonal skills. The findings of this study further reveal a disparity of network connectivity, accessibility and electricity between those residing in the urban and rural areas.

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