The benefits of social media in marketing education: Evaluating twitter as a form of cognitive flexibility hypertext

Shannon B. Rinaldo, Debra A. Laverie, Suzanne Tapp, William F. Humphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose of the Study: Our research examines the use of Twitter as a Cognitive Flexibility Hypertext (CFH) environment integrated into existing marketing courses to assist in achieving course level learning objectives and contribute to education goals and career preparation. By interacting with marketing in real time, Twitter provides a complex environment where students should engage deeply with the material; gain a deeper understanding of marketing in general and social media marketing in particular. Employing adaptive scaffolding, wherein professors guide students through the learning process, allows students to realize these outcomes. This paper examines student attitudes and evaluations after using social media in this context. Method/Design and Sample: Advanced students enrolled in upper level marketing courses were required to use Twitter during the duration of the course in which they were enrolled. Self-report measures of intrinsic factors and perceived benefits of Twitter were collected from students. Grades in the course provide an objective measure. Results: Results indicate students who engaged with Twitter throughout the semester perceived Twitter to be beneficial, were more satisfied, more involved, more motivated, and earned higher grades than those who did not. Students who followed the professor gained additional benefit. Twitter as a CFH environment is perceived as beneficial by students. Value to Marketing Educators: Understanding how Twitter and other social media platforms operate as CFH environments informs professors seeking guidance to integrate social media into course content. Further, understanding how students perceive the use and benefit of complex, ill-structured environments assuages concern professors may have about using unpredictable and ambiguous pedagogical methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalJournal for Advancement of Marketing Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cognitive flexibility hypertext
  • Social media
  • Twitter


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