Introduction & studies about the use of WhatsApp in education

Gone were the days where people had to wait for a reply to their written communication.

In a matter of decades, Internet and social networks have infiltrated our daily lives in a way that is almost impossible to avoid. They bring the experience of instant communication to the forefront of these developments.

However, the integration of social and messaging networks such as Facebook and Twitter in the academic environment still needs to catch up with the advantages they provide and the barriers they have broken down.

We wanted to focus on how teachers and educational institutions can use WhatsApp as a tool to improve their communications and services. This is the main drive that brought us to several studies that support our claim on the benefits WhatsApp has for educators.

Researchers saw the potential of WhatsApp back in the early 2010s. In those days, the app was not as popular as it is today, and teenagers thought smartphones were a tiny luxury. 

In 2014, Bouhnik & Deshen published the results of their findings in WhatsApp Goes to School: Mobile Instant Messaging between Teachers and Students. They focused on how WhatsApp groups could improve their educational and academic processes.  

The interview and results focus on teachers using WhatsApp groups to communicate with their students, and using it as a tool that enhances their teaching process.

WhatsApp might be the first technology that entered the class without any training or administrator supervision, as teachers and students are using it in their private life, and its advantages enabled it to become, naturally, an educational technology (Bouhnik & Deshen, 2014).

In studies that focus on the results of experiments, researchers structure their findings into quantitative (quantity of results) and qualitative (giving meaning to the results).

On one hand, the quantitative success of integrating instant messaging shows that it boosts collaborative learning and participation in classes, strongly improving the potential of students’ success (Arteaga Sánchez, Cortijo & Javed, 2014).

On the other hand, the qualitative analysis shows the positive effects of WhatsApp on students. It increases their motivation and helps them with “unconscious learning” when teachers use images in their messages (Cetinkaya, 2017).

The environment in which WhatsApp was used as a supportive technology to the traditional environment has been more effective in the increase of success (Cetinkaya, 2017).

We want to take this small piece of academic research as a starting point to our dive into the world of WhatsApp for education.

Introduction & studies about the use of WhatsApp in education

WhatsApp for education

As the years go by, more teachers and institutions opt to incorporate WhatsApp into their work.

We are going to give an overview of the pros and cons of this relatively new tool. But fear not, if you keep reading, we also are going to provide the solutions for the professors’ main concerns.

The Pros of WhatsApp in the education field

The use of WhatsApp in daily life is not a new piece of news. With more than 2 billion users in the world, WhatsApp has established itself as one of the prominent communication channels in the digital era.

However, in this case, we want to take a closer look at how the use of WhatsApp can benefit the teachers and be a useful tool in their courses.

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Communications

Lucky for us, there are already studies and teachers that back up the benefits that WhatsApp has in improving the communication flow with the students.

Teachers remark how the open style discussions allow them to get to know their students better. At the same time, it gives confidence to the more timid students to prompt questions that, in a traditional environment, they may not have had the courage to ask.

In the case of using groups where there is a teacher present, they highlight the atmosphere of camaraderie that enables students to co-operate and work as a team in academic matters.

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Materials

Traditionally speaking, in the digital era educators have always used e-mail to forward academic materials.

One of the main disadvantages of this channel is that students do not always access their school email account, and thus the flow of communication is greatly affected, being mostly one-way communication.

This is where WhatsApp steps in to offer a simple solution that increases the efficiency of the teachers’ efforts; they can send links and documents to a platform that their students use on a daily basis.

Team work

We have already hinted how WhatsApp can improve the atmosphere of teamwork inside a classroom, but the advantages are far greater than we may already think.

Students that already use WhatsApp in their academic courses state that the application positively affected their motivation, making the process of learning much more enjoyable and tailored to their digital use.

Moreover, it helps teachers to build rapport with their students, being able to know them in a more relaxed and informal setting.

The use of a group chat for an academic course can improve the relations between students and also between the teacher and the students.

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Activities

WhatsApp allows moving academic activities beyond the traditional textbook-based ones in the classroom.

The instantaneous nature of WhatsApp messages allows teachers to make onthe-fly corrections that all the students can have. It helps to create a record of the teachers’ mini-lessons that the students can revisit at any time.

The multi-media essence opens great opportunities for teachers to instruct new concepts creatively.

Some activities can be:

  • To create stories based on images.

  • Play with Emoji such as the creation of stories, emoji race, among others.

  • Do sentence corrections.

  • Fill the gaps in a sentence.

Calendar

Reminding students of activities, exams and deadlines with WhatsApp can be easier than ever.

The declining open rate for e-mails also moves to the academic environment. Institutions have invested in their own portals and mail systems to connect teachers and students, but the reality is that accessing these accounts is not a priority for students.  

WhatsApp is a platform they use to communicate with their friends and family, thus there is a higher chance of them paying attention to the most recent notification about the deadline for an assignment.

It is easier to communicate and organize, for teachers and students alike.

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Tutorials

We discussed how WhatsApp can improve communication with the classroom as a whole, in the context of a text group. But we now can move one-on-one tutorials from the traditional setting to the digital.

Teachers can have discussions with their students in a private chat. This can help students feel more at ease, helping them to relax and express their concerns freely.

Another glaring advantage for using WhatsApp for these reunions is the ability to do it remotely, so teachers can comfortably move their office hours to the most comfortable space: their home.

Extra curricular

As we mentioned, the use of Social Networks has changed the academic landscape at its core.  

Textbooks don’t have to be physical books anymore and classes do not have to take place in a classroom.

The new era of digital learning has also expanded beyond the traditional schedule, and WhatsApp allows educators to think outside the box and create new activities and outlets for extra-curricular activities.

Perhaps there are some teachers that engage in review classes or decide to attend the questions and inquiries of students beyond office hours; in any case, WhatsApp is for them a low-cost easy outlet to communicate.

The Cons of WhatsApp for education

For all the benefits we listed above, there are still some disadvantages to the use of WhatsApp.

Teachers that have implemented WhatsApp for their courses remark that the untimely hours of messages have disrupted their free time. It all boils down to the instant-reply nature of the app where students expect prompt and quick answers from their teachers.

The relaxed atmosphere of group chats can lead to the use of vulgar language that teachers are not comfortable with.

Even so, teachers have found ways to mend all these drawbacks with quick solutions such as silencing the groups during their free hours.

It should be noted, that different types of WhatsApp applications have different functionality, so the ability to create groups is only available in free WhatsApp applications for personal use, while WhatsApp API is limited in this regard. However, WhatsApp API provides tremendous opportunities in operations.

However, there is a silver lining.

Watch WhatsApp API in action

With the help of the WhatsApp API and Woztell, teachers can benefit from the distinction between professional and personal life. It is a smart solution that greatly improves the use of WhatsApp for students, teachers and the educational institutions themselves.

WhatsApp for education operations 

At this point, we have an overview of the benefits of WhatsApp for teachers and students. But, they don’t stop there.

We want to take a closer look at what the app can do for operations and the management of educational institutions.

Applications

After all the effort of finishing the last year of high school, students have to ponder about their future.

They apply to several universities and institutions depending on their likes and ambitions.

The use of WhatsApp API in the application process can make a significant difference for students, making it easier for them to manage these processes.

Using WhatsApp in an educational institution can help to humanize the first contact that possible future students will have.

Registration and enrollment

New and returning students want their application process to be as easy as possible.

Still, bureaucracy can make things go sour.  

WhatsApp can be a great aid, guiding students during their process of enrollment. Whatever the doubt or problem, they will know where to send a message.

Payments

The unpleasantness of making a payment, alas, doesn’t go away.

Still, the payment process can be easier with the help of WhatsApp. Institutions using WhatsApp can send invoices, purchase links or even create templates.

The templates will help with payment reminders in a creative and fresh way.

Customer support

Perhaps this is one of the most evident advantages of integrating WhatsApp API.

Students can easily reach out to the institutions in order to express their possible doubts or concerns. Using the WhatsApp API, it is easier to connect students with the suitable agent that will help them.

Having the same WhatsApp number for all services and a tool such as Woztell to centralize all communications, helps improve the workflow.

We have found that businesses experience a great decline in their complaints as well as saving uptime

With chatbot applications or the use of templates, academic institutions can benefit from these advantages.

Ads and integrations

We consider the recruitment process as a critical moment.

Adding a link to the ads that direct to a WhatsApp chat makes it easier to establish the first contact. Moreover, we strongly suggest that organizations add the WhatsApp icon to their websites.

By making this first contact easier, educational institutions increase their conversion potential.

Events

Organizing and managing events is easier than ever with the WhatsApp API. Institutions can use templates to their advantage and send bulk messages.

It doesn’t matter if it is about an academic event or a reminder to meet a deadline; organizations can use reminders to schedule their upcoming events easily.

WhatsApp for education operations

WhatsApp for education marketing

The strategy of WhatsApp for marketing purposes is on the rise. This is because of many factors, such as an increase in the role of communications.

To put it into perspective, the open rate for email is around 17% while the open rate for WhatsApp messages is 98%.

Using WhatsApp Business can make a difference, and we are going to explore how it can improve every step of a marketing strategy.

Sales funnel

For every marketing strategy, there is a sales funnel.  It is in the sales process that opportunities turn into real transactions.

There are many steps, and a strategy that uses WhatsApp as a communication channel can have greater results.

Leads 

It is common to see leads as opportunities, but our approach is to view them as potential customers.

We should treat leads in the way we want to be treated by any other business; with care and attention.

Once they show interest, we must contact customers and potential customers as fast as possible. With WhatsApp, you can forget about creating forms, and jump into a direct conversation.  

In the first stage of communication, predefined messages can be beneficial. These message links open WhatsApp in a mobile or desktop app, with a pre-written message the user only has to click on to send.

Interaction campaigns 

The purpose of a campaign can vary depending on the objectives. Regardless, one common factor is always the call to action (CTA).

The CTA in a campaign is the next step you want the customers to take. The creation of ads and campaigns to grab the attention of potential customers is almost an art.

So, the campaign has to be attractive to the eye and easy on the thumb.

Including a CTA that links directly to WhatsApp Business will avoid the turmoil of going through websites, emails, phone calls… It will directly connect you with your potential customers.

Retention 

For all the effort that goes into creating a new client, there should be a strategy to keep them coming back.

Customer service that feels personalized to the needs of clients will make them more likely to return.

With a retention strategy for education, students would feel more inclined to enrol in another course or master’s degree.

Upselling 

Once a retention strategy is in place, there is a possibility of upselling.

The aim is to improve the basic product in order to increase the price and thus improve features.

WhatsApp can help you entice customers or students to improve their purchases. As we mentioned, you can use templates to send offers and directly send more information, if requested.

Feedback 

Besides offering a real-time solution with WhatsApp, you can also have real-time feedback.

Once you finish a chat, you can request feedback with a predefined template. The customer can answer it comfortably from their WhatsApp.

Centralizing communications will allow you to review the data and be able to trace it back. The data collected is a potent tool that allows you to improve your services.

The use of WhatsApp API in education to work with students, institutional operations or marketing and sales departments is at an early stage and full of opportunities.

Conclusion 

WhatsApp for education is still in its baby steps. However, educators and institutions alike are discovering the advantages of evolving their practices to adapt to the new reality.

We have given you an overview of the impact WhatsApp has on many areas of education. From improving the efficiency of your campaigns to saving time and effort in customer service.

With the WhatsApp API and Woztell, you can choose a smart solution that will have a great impact on your business, with the smallest of changes.

Watch WhatsApp API in action

With the help of the WhatsApp API and Woztell, teachers can benefit from the distinction between professional and personal life. It is a smart solution that greatly improves the use of WhatsApp for students, teachers and the educational institutions themselves.

References 

Baishya, Diganta, y Saurabh Maheshwari. «WhatsApp Groups in Academic Context: Exploring the Academic Uses of WhatsApp Groups among the Students». Contemporary Educational Technology, vol. 11, n.o 1, noviembre de 2019. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.30935/cet.641765.

Bouhnik, Dan, y Mor Deshen. «WhatsApp Goes to School: Mobile Instant Messaging between Teachers and Students». Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, vol. 13, 2014, pp. 217-31. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.28945/2051.

Cetinkaya, Levent. «The Impact of Whatsapp Use on Success in Education Process». The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 18, n.o 7, noviembre de 2017. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.19173/irrodl.v18i7.3279.

Woztell. Make the Most of WhatsApp API and Zoho CRM. 2021.