Social Media Use in Higher Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Literature Review

Wisal Al Balushi*, Fatma Saif Al-Busaidi, Aqdas Malik, Zahran Al-Salti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study reviews the literature to gain an in-depth understanding of the pedagogical role of social media in higher education institutions (HEI’s) during the COVID-19 pandemic. A systematic search in the Web of Science, Scopus, and EBSCO databases yielded 34 relevant empirical studies published between January 2020 and April 2021. The findings reveal that: a) the innovative possibilities furnished through social media facilitated the transition to a complete online learning setting, b) the majority of studies are oriented towards the perspectives of students, c) the lack of well-defined policy hinders the effective utilization of social media in the pedagogical process, and d) questionnaires were the mostly used data collection method overlooking the significance of digital tracing as a rich source of data. This article provides a research agenda to advance the knowledge of the pedagogical possibilities of social media, especially that these platforms were not used to their full potential for teaching and learning during the pandemic. This study also has practical implications for HEI’s and policymakers to recognize the significance of social media in maintaining educational sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Higher education
  • Online learning
  • Social media
  • Systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering

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