Document Type : Original Article


1 Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK

2 Department of HIV and AIDS, Ministry of Health, Lilongwe, Malawi

3 General Practitioner, Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia

4 Maternal and Child Health Department, Alexandria Fever Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt


CONTEXT: In the era of technology, social networking has become a platform for the teaching–
learning process. Exploring international students’ perspective on using Twitter would reveal the
barriers and potential for its use in higher educational activities.
AIMS: This study aimed to explore the postgraduate students’ perspective on using Twitter as a
learning resource.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This qualitative study was conducted as part of a postgraduate program
at a university in the United Kingdom. A focus group discussion and five in‑depth interviews were
conducted after receiving the informed consent. The qualitative data were analyzed by R package
for Qualitative Data Analysis software.
ANALYSIS USED: Deductive content analysis was used in this study.
RESULTS: Qualitative analysis revealed four salient themes, which were (1) background knowledge
about Twitter, (2) factors influencing the usage of Twitter, (3) master’s students’ experiences on
using Twitter for education, and (4) potential of using Twitter in the postgraduate study. The students
preferred to use Twitter for sharing links and appreciated the benefit on immediate dissemination
of information. Meanwhile, privacy concern, unfamiliarity, and hesitation to participate in discussion
discouraged the students from using Twitter as a learning platform.
CONCLUSIONS: Using social media platforms in education could be challenging for both
the learners and the educators. Our study revealed that Twitter was mainly used for social
communication among postgraduate students however most could see a benefit of using Twitter
for their learning if they received adequate guidance on how to use the platform. The multiple
barriers to using Twitter were mainly related to unfamiliarity which should be addressed early in
the learning process.


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