Usage of Whatsapp Messenger Among Final Year Undergraduate Adult Education Students at the University Of Zambia and its Perceived Impact on Student Academic Performance
Moonga, Anolt L.H.
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Many studies world over have shown that there is generally an increase in the usage of social media for communication purposes among students particularly in institutions of higher learning. One such social media which has stormed the student community in the recent past is the WhatsApp application platform. However, little is known about the extent to which this platform is being used for educational purposes and the impact it has on the academic performance of students. This study investigated the usage of WhatsApp mobile application among final year adult education students at the University of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to: establish WhatsApp usage among students; identify the various uses of WhatsApp among students; determine the frequency and interactivity of WhatsApp among students; establish the features of WhatsApp most used by students and determine challenges students faced in the use of WhatsApp. To achieve these objectives a survey was undertaken in the School of Education among final year adult education students using questionnaires and focus group discussions. The results of the study showed that there was widespread use of the WhatsApp application among final year adult education students at the University of Zambia. It was also established that the WhatsApp application was predominantly used by students for social interactions among peers. The findings also revealed that for academic purposes WhatsApp was mostly used for alerting friends about the absence or presence of lecturers, conveyance of academic tasks such as assignments, tutorial questions, time-tables and notices. It was also established that there was very little communication between students and lecturers using WhatsApp for academic purposes. The study concluded that WhatsApp was a viable and reliable medium of interaction among students that could be adopted to enhance delivery of academic material in the teaching and learning environment.