Social media and student outcomes: teacher, student and employer views

July 2016
Estimated publish date
December 2017
Principal researcher(s)
Victor Callan Callan Consulting Group & University of Queensland


The project has three aims:

  1. Investigate how students are using social media in both formal and informal ways to succeed with their training
  2. Compare student outcomes being achieved through the use of social media compared to traditional forms of learning
  3. Explore what developments are occurring with assessment practices and audit to accommodate the growing use of social media

Research questions

Key research questions:

  1. What forms of social media are being used in formal and informal ways, and what are the attitudes of teachers, students and employers about their current and future use?
  2. Does the application of social media enhance student outcomes compared to more traditional forms of learning? What qualitative (e.g. student, teacher and employer perceptions) and more quantitative evidence (e.g. records of student class attendance, completions, attrition rates) can be provided as evidence of the gains from using social media?
  3. What assessment practices are being used that use evidence of competence gathered using social media? Are auditors and related bodies accepting this evidence gathered by social media?


The research will be conducted in two stages:

  1. Three registered training organisations (RTOs) that provide examples of advanced use of social media in the provision of training will be identified. Two qualifications will be chosen in each of these sites. For each of these qualifications, the lead VET teacher, up to 10 students, and at least one employer will be interviewed to garner their views on the use of social media in training and assessment.
  2. In stage 2, mini case studies will be completed by conducting additional interviews with others such as program managers, senior managers and technology support staff. The case studies will also involve the analysis and synthesis of additional secondary data (particularly concerned with student outcomes) obtained from the case study institutions.

About the organisations

Callan Consulting Group: The project will be conducted under Callan Consulting Group (founded in 1993) with the support and approval of The University of Queensland (UQ). UQ ranks 52 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 60 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 77 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Victor Callan is a Senior Professor at UQ, recognised as one of its leading researchers especially with industry, and in his current role as Research Dean, guides and mentors researchers in building links with industry, especially securing strong industry partnerships.