The benefits of using (#)hashtags for e-learning
Facebook has joined the #hashtag revolution, allowing users to add the # symbol before a word and making those hashtags #clickable.
Although typically associated with Twitter, hashtags are nothing new on the social scene – Tumblr, Pinterest and other social networks already use hashtags, and Google has announced that it will add these to its Google+ service shortly. You may have even used them on Facebook, but until now they had no functionality.
So now that Facebook has joined the hashtag revolution, what impact will they have on #elearning?
The new hashtag function is already available to about 20% of the 1 billion+ Facebook users and over the coming weeks, this will be available to everyone who has a Facebook account.
If you are a user or not of Facebook, this new functionality will benefit both the learner and the administrator of the e-learning programme as the use of hashtags will make it easier for users to search for content, and easier to find that topic in search – that is of course dependent that everyone involved in the e-learning programme agrees to append a certain hashtag about a topic!
Additional benefits include:
- Allows better interaction on a subject.
- Helps to generate a discussion or raise awareness of a topic.
- Users can discover other communities discussing the same topic, providing a forum for discussion and broader learning environment.
- Can be used for monitoring a particular topic.
- Building a community around content.
- Makes it easy to aggregate like-minded users under a certain category.
If you are not already using hastags for e-learning, the first thing you need to do is create a hashtag identifying your subject, project, workshop or any other topic you want to track. Before you embark on a hashtag frenzy, you need to do research what you’re about to hashtag before you actually use it.
You can use search hashtag directory services like tagdef.com and hashtags.org to see if your desired hashtag is in use. If you introduce hashtags into your e-learning early, it will also increase learner and user engagement.
Facebook has said that it would roll out additional features, including trending hashtags, in the near future, so we will see then if there are any additional benefits to the e-learning quest!
Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.