Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Instant messaging, Enquiry-based learning, Peer learning communities, Formal and informal learning spaces, Active participation


Instant Messaging (IM) tools such as Telegram may effectively be used to engage students in their learning. This paper explored how IM can enhance traditional teaching and learning in higher education by creating additional informal learning spaces, rather to disturb the existing classroom practices. There are three objectives that this paper was expected to achieve:- • To measure the student Response rate in using IM for the assessment of effectiveness in enquiry-based learning; • To evaluate the impact of IM on peer-to-peer participation through the analysis of dialogues among the learning communities; and • To discuss the essentials of successful application of IM in informal learning spaces. A module named Highway Engineering (CON4381) of Higher Diploma in Civil Engineering at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education was selected with a large class size of over 300 students. The results were encouraging with over 100 students participated in the learning communities and more than 200 number of questions posed and interaction counts. The activities trends and students’ feedbacks showed positive perception and acceptance of the use of Telegram for teaching and learning. A questionnaire designed by the authors was used at the end of the semester and the participants showed positive perception and acceptance of the use of Telegram for teaching and learning. It was revealed that IM tools could elicit new learning opportunities, foster enquiry-based learning, offer informal and formal learning opportunities, and support peer learning community. A valuable discussion was conducted to address challenges in adopting IM as transmission pedagogy including merging of academic and non-academic contents, perceived distractive nature and potential to trigger off-task behaviours and sometimes limited participation of all students etc. Although such challenges exist in adopting IM as pedagogy, the potential to foster an effective learning environment should not be underestimated. Together with the widespread participation of all students and enhanced willingness on public expression of silenced voices, the utilization of instant messaging was found to be reasonably valid. Furthermore, an investigation into a mobile app which supplemented Vocational Training Council's Moodle learning management platform was made so as to explore further usability whenever appropriate.

Source Publication

The 11th International Symposium on Advances in Technology Education

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