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Home / Regular Issue / JTAS Vol. 30 (3) Sep. 2022 / JSSH-8248-2021


Students’ Experience of Empowerment from Multiple Scaffolders in PBL on Facebook

Aznur Hajar Hajar Abdullah, Tse Kian Neo and Jing Hong Low

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2022


Keywords: Management education, problem-based learning (PBL), scaffolding, social media, structural empowerment

Published on: 6 September 2022

Scholars propose that students should be empowered when using social media in problem-based learning (PBL) as it is expected to provide positive learning experiences. Nonetheless, even though the use of social media has been described as empowering in PBL, not much research has measured students' experiences of the empowerment offered by multiple scaffolders through social media. In this study, 84 final-year undergraduate management students from a private university in Malaysia participated in a simultaneous within-subject experimental design to solve a business decision-making problem on Facebook. For eight weeks, multiple scaffolders, including an instructor, two business experts, and three to four peers, were present in each closed Facebook group. The students then answered a questionnaire following the PBL activity. Anchored on the Structural Empowerment (SE) Theory, this study evaluated the students’ perceptions of the SE provided by these scaffolders. Subsequently, the relationships among the scaffolders were measured. The results were analysed descriptively and inferentially. Overall, the students reported positive learning experiences but perceived that the instructor and peers provided more SE than the business experts. However, the business experts’ comments on the students' work and discussion points accelerated their problem-solving tasks. Furthermore, the SE provided by peers, instructors, and business experts correlated significantly, suggesting each scaffolder relied on each other when scaffolding. The findings indicate that all scaffolders, including the more experienced ones, should depend on the SE provided by other scaffolders to enable students to complete the complex business problem-solving tasks in PBL.

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