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Social media is a pervasive force in the lives of 21st century learners. Social media offers a user experience that encourages students to create and share new content while enabling communication unlike any other learning technology. In this paper, we explore how learning with social media could be more effective by leveraging appropriate learning theory and instructional design. We begin with examples of how social media is currently being used in educational contexts, and then review the available research that investigates the connections between social media and education. To understand how social media may be better utilized for learning, we also identify social media’s unique learning affordances and established learning theories that complement those affordances. Finally, we present a preliminary model for designing learning using social media.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments, published by InderScience. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1504/IJSMILE.2015.074008