Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering


The trend in the use of digital technologies in learning in higher education has been driven by a number of underlying assumptions about the affordances of technology in learning. This trend has not only been advocated by educationalists, who argue for digital technologies as a catalyst for pedagogical change, but also by students themselves as they adopt new ways of collaborating and communicating with their worlds.

A significant amount of literature is now appearing arguing that technology is changing learners with terms like 'digital natives' (Prensky 2001) gaining prominence and authors such as Coates (2007) arguing that these ‘millennial learners’ learn in different ways to their predecessors. Most young people in modern societies, both Western and Eastern, make routine use of the Internet and email, text messaging and social software and we are seeing evidence that Web 2.0 is allowing student participation in online communities that define and share information in educational contexts.

This study seeks to investigate the learning settings being used in Malaysia to teach the Millennium generation, what is the digital status of these learners and how this generation is responding to the learning settings both being offered and being generated by them. The study specifically investigates the use of social media technologies by institutions to engage with their students and facilitate effective technology supported learning environments.

The findings based on survey, interview, observational and policy analysis data show that the use of social media technologies are heavily embedded in the students own learning processes, and individual academics are leveraging from these practices to engage and motivate students in their learning. The study also found that the institutions themselves are poorly prepared for these changes to pedagogical processes and are not, as a matter of strategy or policy, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by social media technologies.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.