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The purpose of this research is to examine the effective use of WhatsApp in the teaching and learning process in University of Buea. Three research questions guided the study. To achieve this, the descriptive survey research design was adopted. 

The study focused on University of Buea, specifically level 200, 300 and 400 students in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.  Hence, the simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 100 students. A five-point Likert Type Rating Scale Questionnaire type, titled: Effect of WhatsApp in the teaching and learning process in the University of Buea.

This questionnaire was used to collect data from the participants and a percentage was used to analyze the data. Research findings showed that a great number of students in the University of Buea use WhatsApp.

To this end, the researcher recommended that WhatsApp should be used as a tool to enhance teaching and learning in schools. Students should better manage their study time and prevent distractions that can be provided by the too much use of WhatsApp.

Students should be monitored by teachers and parents on how they use WhatsApp. This is to create a balance between WhatsApp and the teaching and learning process of students to avoid setbacks in students learning process.



1.1 Background to the Study

The world is dynamically changing due to the advancement in mobile technology, with no doubt has turned the world entirely to a “global village”. But as it is mobile technology like two sides of a coin, bring with it positive and negative sides nowadays, Whatsapp is the most famous site on the internet and appeared as a result of technology.

Before the invention of Whatsapp in February 24, 2009, there existed the traditional classroom teaching and learning process, but Whatsapp creation was to support it.

However, early Whatsapp kept crashing or getting stuck at a particular point Koum felt like giving up and start looking for a new job to which Acton encouraged him to wait for a few more months, but now Whatsapp was deployed as a social network like other social websites.

With the evolution of technology, new opportunities have come up for students to interact with classmates, teachers and content (Rau, Gao& Wu, 2008; Vaughan & Lawrence, 2013).

Mobile learning provides students with unlimited opportunities to achieve their learning goals through learning situations in real-time and authentic interaction that makes learning meaningful, effective and different from those decontextualized traditional classrooms( Kim & Lee,2014; Kukulsk-Hulme and Petit 2009; Martin &Ertzberger, 2013).

Mobile devices can support the strengthening of different skills inside a classroom, as well as increasing positive attitudes with regard to the learning process.

Researchers have discussed that along with their regular uses, such as sending text messages, surfing the net and using diverse applications, students and teachers have more opportunities to foster learning and make studying more meaningful (Altameemy,2017; Bansal& Joshi, 2014; Lee & Kim, 2014, Vaughan and Lawrence, 2013).

Most university students have found these devices as the perfect allies to carry out academic activities due to the new affordances(convenience and connectivity) provided by the mobility (Al-Mukhaini, Al-Qayoudhi,&Al-Badi 2014, Olufadi,2015;Terras & Ramsay, 2012; Traxler, 2010).

A new study by Edge Hill University found out that spending time interacting with friends and family on Whatsapp is good for a person’s psychological well-being as people who spend more time on the popular messaging application have a high level of self-esteem and fewer feelings of loneliness (Anthony cuthberton 2019).

The evolution of mobile technology has led to its use as the best medium for communication as it is two-third of the world’s population are on Whatsapp, thus serving as a communication and connection tool.

Users will want to communicate with other users about areas of mutual interest, whether from a personal, business or academic perspective (William Boyd, Densten Chin, diamond and Mergenthaler 2009).

The author, RenataPhelps and Anne Graham said in their book, “Conventional Wisdom suggests that being in an environment where others are using technology is generally positive to foster learning.

Whatsapp is the most common application used between students and lecturers on academic issues, it doesn’t need to have a computer, it is attainable and does not cost much, it facilitates and creates an avenue for learning and communication as well as is the most common application to the student which support learning anytime and anywhere, provide peer support, feedback and allow sharing of information in education.

Currently, many people have started to utilize this application not only for communication but also for their educational tasks (Hashim, Mat and Abdullah 2015). Whatsapp can be used in education for different purposes (Nirgude and Naik 2016).

That is, this application in the learning process has the potential to support students learning activities, allowing access to many online sources, help to enhance discussion in study groups, share information among students and lecturers, make collaborative learning efficient and effective, learn from their mate’s mistakes, build a relationship that stimulates learner-to-learner for consistent and progressive learning which makes them responsible on their own learning.

Although Whatsapp fosters the learning process, it also has its flaws which are; WhatsApp takes most of students study time whereby they get easily distracted using the app to read materials send by their lecturers online,

it destroys students spellings and grammatical construction of sentences, leads to lack of concentration during lectures, distracts students from completing their assignment and adhering to their private studies timetable.(Simui,Fabian, Mwewa Godfrey et al.,2014).

Equally, lecturers use this application to enhance the teaching process. That is, the app can manage a large class size which makes it easy for lecturers to send information and reading materials online.

Also, Whatsapp help lecturers to cover a large number of tasks in a short amount of lesson time, help them give assignment online if they can’t make it to class, it equally help lecturers to answer students questions easily without them meeting the lecturer face to face and finally Whatsapp create a cordial relationship between lecturers and student. (Clarke Pearson Nov.7, 2017).

Despite that WhatsApp help in enhancing teaching it equally has some shortcomings which are lecturers get annoyed of irrelevant messages and improper languages student usually use with their peers and have started using it in the groups that lecturer is involved, with the large classroom it will be impossible for lecturers to get all feedback of students at the same time also not all students questions will be answered since lecturers also have their own activities to carry out.(Gon&Rawekar, 2017).

WhatsApp messenger was purposely created by Brian Acton and Jan Koum(2009) to make communication more easily and faster.

This application works across multiple platforms and is widely used among undergraduate students to send multiple messages including text, videos, audio and simple text messages due to its popularity, it was identified to be used for authentic mobile learning enactment.

There are a number of research studies,(Sayan 2016, Gachago et al 2015, Ceninkaya, 2017) found out that the appropriate use of Whatsapp in universities can improve the teaching and learning process.

For example, research was conducted among three universities lecturers in South Africa to analyzed their perspective toward using Whatsapp as a teaching and learning tool to students, information got was that there is  maintenance of privacy in the study group and this group enable participants to get the same input all at once and facilitate collaboration and learning as well as simple operation at a very low cost (Bouhnik and Denshen, 2014),

instant access to materials(Nitza and Roman, 2016) which allows students to be quickly informed of updates within the community and to respond in a timely manner, it also provides learning materials in various format anywhere and anytime and a learning and social relationship between the teachers and students hence very conducive for learning.

Globally, the use of Whatsapp in teaching and learning has been growing and several studies have been carried out about its usage for improving the teaching and learning processes.

However, though the application brings us many benefits, it also got its challenges in using Whatsapp as a teaching and learning process which include not all students may have smartphones and turn to be less informed of information or assignment send by the lecturer online and would not participate in group assignment sine Whatsapp group are created for the work to be done, some student doesn’t have the opportunity all the time to browse online caused by financial difficulties, these students may take two or more days before visiting the internet and may come and meet assignments given and submitted already and may end up considered as a CA hence the beginning of failure in that course.

Also, students become less focused on the lessons because they play more with their mobile phone during the experience and in worse conditions, students decrease the ability to interact and work with friends and teachers directly. (Sonia, Gon and Alka Rawekar, 2017).

Whatsapp groups discussion have made some university students to adopt  the habit of writing in short forms sometimes during exams which has spoiled their spelling skills (Use ofs English) as they now spell “You as U”, “For as 4” just to mention a few, this have affected some students their class assessment in the grammatical construction of sentences,

Some Whatsapp can generate a very large volume of messages that may be time consuming to process and act on, also some students will think their lecturers are online 24/7 and will want to extend their time online to answer questions quickly in which the extended use may cause eye strain due to the small screens of phones.

Finally it is very stressful using it to study cause most student get easily distracted along the way and end up not doing their assignment. (Anshu Bhatt, Mohd, Arshad, 2016).

A research finding was done on Whatsapp penetration among students in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana and it was revealed that 46.7% of students frequently use Whatsapp ten or more times per day. 40% spend 15 to 30mins on each visit, 40% use Whatsapp on campus and during lectures, and 33.3% use Whatsapp in their hostels. The reason for Whatsapp usage include, studying for group discussion, networking, sharing contents( news, videos, photos), killing loneliness, for politics, doing businesses and romantic relationships.(Michael Appiah 2016).

Also, a research finding was done in the University of Buea.(Kingsley L. Ngange, et al 2019) which indicated that there is a high rate of social media use (Facebook, Whatsapp) among adolescents and about 68% of content discussed are socio-cultural issues and 17.8% are political issues on the ongoing bloody conflict in Cameroon. Result also show that they use these applications to share inappropriate content like Pornography, Violence, Sexual Predators, Criminal acts etc. instead of sharing content that will help in the educational, moral and psychological growth of students

Although it has been put forward that students who spend much time on WhatsApp ends up blaming the application for their decrease in grades (Kimberly, Jeong and Lee, 2019) forgetting that the sites offer academic and professional networking opportunities in studies on the use of different instant messaging platforms in education, this application has potential to expand learning (Smit 2012), the interaction between students on personal, school and course-related topic (Cifuentes and Lents 2010), eliminate social barriers (Doering, Lewis and Nichols- Besel, 2008) and increase student motivation (Plana et al, 2015) by the help of this benefits brought by WhatsApp(Bouhnik and Deshen, 2014) it is noted that the application can be a useful tool within the learning milieu anytime and anywhere.

Recently, instant messaging has become a top priority and popular for children (Centinkaya, Levent,2017) but the presence of the application support the fact that it have a great effect on the social development of young people and determines their impact on their academic development and expectation. Consequently, this study is to understand the use of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process in the University of Buea.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Every learning institution will always implement a suitable and comfortable major to facilitate the teaching and learning process. The classroom scenario has been used since time immemorial to impact knowledge on the learner. In this scene, the teacher and the learner’s ratio is high, despite the advantages of the traditional classroom setting, it have some setbacks.

Firstly, the learner who are not present in class during the teaching and learning process, will not acquire or attain knowledge, also for teachers who are not present in class to teach the learner,knowledge willnot be transmitted to the learner.

The above mentioned reason will jeopardize the teaching and learning process there by making it to be ineffective and efficient.

As a result of the Anglophone crisis which started in 2016 and its numerous ghost towns, resulted to this implementation of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process in theUniversity of Buea.  The recent COVID 19 That has affected the world in general and Cameroon in particular, there is the need for E-learning through the use of Whatsapp.

This application has promoted the smooth flow of knowledge among learners in this institution. The learners are taught just in time. The just in time process the teacher and the learner are online in a class setting. The learners receive their lectures and questions are posed and answered by the teacher instantaneously.

In some occasions, the teacher prepares his or her lectures and forwards them in the Whatsapp group. The learners are given assignments and they will submit them online using the Email address. The introduction of this application in this institution will facilitate the teaching and learning process.

Whatsapp is the most common application use between the learners and teachers on academic issues it doesn’t need to have a computer, it is attainable and does not cost much, it facilitates and creates an avenue for learning as well as it is the common application to the student which support learning anytime and anywhere, feedback and allow sharing of information in education.

Whatsapp can be used in education for different reason; it has the potential to support the learning process, allowing access to many online sources. This application works in many platforms allowing students to send multiple messages including text, videos and audio and texts books. Also, it will foster the teaching and learning process.

Thus the problem of this study is to examine the extent to which Whatsapp is used in the teaching and learning process in the University of Buea, specifically in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

1.3 Research Questions of the Study

1.3.1 General research Question

To what extent can Whatsapp be used as a teaching and learning process in the University of Buea?

1.3.2 Specific Research Questions

The following specific research questions will be raised;

  • To what extent can Whatsapp be used in the teaching process?
  • What is the effectiveness of Whatsapp in the learning process?
  • What are the limitations of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process?

1.4 Objective of the Study

1.4.1 General objective of the Study

The general objective of this study is to find out the effectiveness of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process in the University of Buea.

1.4.2 Specific objectives

Specifically, the study is aimed at;

  • To examine how Whatsapp is use in the teaching process.
  • To examine how Whatsapp is used in the learning process.
  • To examine the limitation of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is important to the following:

From this study, students will understand the advantages and disadvantages of Whatsapp in the teaching and learning process.

Also this study will enable teachers to gain more knowledge on how social networking sites like Whatsapp can enhance the teaching and learning process.

Besides, this study will be of great importance to researchers as it will serve as secondary source of literature.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The focus of this research is to primarily study the extent of Whatsapp use in the teaching and learning process. The study will comprise students in the University of Buea.





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