Original Research

Factors affecting direct and indirect benefit exchange in the social media–based learning experience

Peter L. Mkhize, Lindelani S. Nxumalo
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 19, No 1 | a732 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v19i1.732 | © 2017 Peter L. Mkhize, Lindelani S. Nxumalo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 January 2016 | Published: 31 March 2017

About the author(s)

Peter L. Mkhize, School of Computing, University of South Africa, South Africa
Lindelani S. Nxumalo, School of Computing, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Background: Social media platforms are thriving on the co-creation of content, usually socially orientated content about the social interests of participants. There is also a growing trend of social media application in the human resources and marketing for business purposes. This study investigates factors that have an impact on the sharing of knowledge on social media platforms, particularly students at an Open Distance Learning (ODL) institution.

Objective: This study evaluates the difference between direct and indirect benefit exchange expected by students when sharing knowledge.

Method: Random and theoretical sampling were used to select the sample in this study from the population. A literature-informed questionnaire was used as an instrument to collect data from a selected sample of 315 students from the School of Computing at the University of South Africa.

Results: A test of association was conducted to evaluate correlations, which revealed that only reputation and social language correlate with direct and indirect benefit exchange. Results indicate that there is a significant mean difference between direct and indirect benefit exchange and that issues concerning social identity and trust should be taken into account when developing social media instructional design.

Conclusion: In this study, a survey was used to test the hypothesis. The authors concluded that instructional designer can design teaching and learning experience in the social media platform by catering for both direct and indirect benefit knowledge exchange. The results of the study further confirmed that some students share knowledge with the expectation of direct exchange benefit and, meanwhile, expect indirect exchange benefit.


social media; knowledge sharing; social identity; reputation; direct exchange; indirect exchange; social language


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