The Influence of Social Networks within Educational and Social Fields: A Comparative Study betw...

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The Influence of Social Networks within Educational and Social Fields: A Comparative Study between Two Generations of Online Students by Mind Map: The Influence of Social Networks within Educational  and Social Fields: A Comparative Study  between Two Generations of Online Students

1. Introduction

1.1. One of the most important focal points of this intergenerational study is the use of social networks as an element of change to achieve sustainable education.

1.2. The aim of this study is to identify the differences between students of the X and Y generations regarding the influence of social networks within academic and social fields.

2. Abstract

2.1. Proper use of social media is especially important to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which proclaims inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all—a trend that implies large data volumes that can be manipulated and adapted to the needs of each student, thus opening up new perspectives.

2.2. X and Y generations agreed on the benefits and uses of social networks within the academic field. The conclusions reaffirm the use of these resources for improving teaching and learning processes within online environments.

2.3. With that aim in mind, the results of a survey administered to 338 university students engaged in online studies showed significant differences, mainly in relation to social issues.

3. Analysis

3.1. A descriptive analysis of the students’ responses to the questionnaire items will be carried out and it will be verified whether there are significant differences between the means achieved in the scores for each item depending on the group of subjects to which they belong.

3.1.1. On one hand, some consider that each generation is the result of the time period in which it lives, and how it is influenced by the cultural, political, and social context that surrounds it.

3.1.2. On the other hand, there is a tendency towards grouping and categorizing generations in age brackets, assuming that they will have experiences and shared values that define their way of life

4. Generation X

4.1. Generation X is characterized as a social group with low expectations, but with high qualifications at each level

4.2. It is considered as the first generation that began to think in global terms, due to its education, communication advances, and the impact of important events that happened during its life cycle.

5. Generation Y

5.1. Generation Y members are distinguished because they transform their environment, their institutions, their workstations, the marketplace, as well as the educational field, through the evolution of new pedagogical models and relationships with their equals; without leaving politics aside thanks to their high participation and social activism

6. Potential

6.1. In addition, in online environments, the students consider that social networks have great potential as a learning environment: enabling the exchange of content, interaction and collaboration, increasing motivation, and making studying more engaging

6.2. According to some studies, it may appear that both generations follow the same trends and adapt quickly to digital changes that are enveloping the globe.

6.3. The results that this study might deliver will provide orientation for the development of an academic environment that promotes the use of digital media, with the goal of improving the processes and simultaneously fostering the creation of learning communities where students belonging to different generations can coexist, participate, and cocreate.

7. Materials and Methods

7.1. The data were collected through a survey designed to analyze perceptions of online students on the influence of social networks in their own lives

7.2. We can consider that the sample is representative of the population of university students who are studying bachelors or masters’ degrees online as a unit of distance learning, due to the great extension of the main factor of interest in this study.

8. Results

8.1. Significant differences appear, the meaning of the subjects belonging to Generation Y showed higher values than those of Generation X

8.2. In contrast to older people, they thought that social networks were significantly useful to stay closer to their friends.

9. Discussion

9.1. Both generations agreed and pointed to the benefits offered by social networks in the academic field: information and resource sharing with classmates, group projects, and solving questions related to their respective course content.

9.2. This difference may be due to the fact that the former group has grown up immersed in a highly technological environment, whereas the latter had to adapt to it, to learn how to use it, but has not completely rejected older instruments.

10. Conclusions

10.1. It can be argued that the tool is not the cause of the differences between the two generations, but it is the way the tool is used and the meaning it has as a social medium and as a learning resource.

10.2. Social networks can promote and transform teaching–learning processes, providing more social, open, and collaboration-oriented environments.

10.3. Social networks have become a learning strategy, as well as a tool that enables the development of communication skills.

10.4. The presentation of evidence that shows positive attitudes towards the use of social networks in the academic environment encourages the development of future studies.

11. The Influence of Social Networks within Educational and Social Fields: A Comparative Study between Two Generations of Online Students