Social media and their use in learning: A comparative analysis between Australia and Malaysia from the learners’ perspectives

Vimala Balakrishnan, Kung Keat Teoh, Tahereh Pourshafie, Teik Kooi Liew


This study is an investigation into factors that encourage and/or inhibit the use of social media in the academic learning process between Australian and Malaysian students at higher learning institutions. Push-pull-mooring theory was used as a guide, resulting in seven independent variables (convenience, social influence, academic reasons, ease of use, social networking, barriers, and e-learning perception), and one dependent variable (teaching and learning benefit). The study included a survey of 524 respondents (NAustralia = 214; NMalaysia = 310). Path modeling analysis revealed three common factors between students from both countries: academic reasons, barriers, and social networking. However Malaysian students revealed a significant greater emphasis on academic reasons and barriers compared to their Australian counterparts. No significant difference was noted for social networking, suggesting that the use of social media as a means to maintain social interaction is popular regardless of cultural differences. Alternatively, significant effects were observed for convenience and e-learning perception among Australian students, while ease of use was found to have significant impact on Malaysian students. The findings suggest that cultural differences and the education system will impact the use of social media as an online learning tool.


Social Media; E-learning; Tertiary Education; Australia; Malaysia

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