Investigating the use of mobile communication technology in professional development: a connectivist approach




In most universities in Zimbabwe, the educators do not possess professional teaching qualifications. Most educators resist institutional interventions aimed at equipping them with appropriate pedagogical skills due to the rigidity of intervention programmes. The advent of mobile communication technology brought various social media platforms that enhance communication. This study was aimed at investigating the experiences of university educators during the use of WhatsApp Messenger to learn about inquiry-based pedagogy as a professional development course. Nine university educators who had no prior training in pedagogy were purposely selected from three Zimbabwean universities. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion were conducted to gather empirical data. The connectivism theoretical framework was used to understand the phenomenon under study. A thematic network analysis was deemed suitable for this study. The findings showed that by learning about inquiry-based pedagogy (IBP) on the WhatsApp Messenger platform, the university educators managed to transform their professional identities as well as improve their pedagogical practices. It may be concluded that WhatsApp Messenger offers a conducive platform for educators’ professional development. It is recommended that universities use WhatsApp Messenger for professional development through online communities of practice.

Author Biography

Patrick Mutanga, Harare Institute of Technology


Dr. P Mutanga is the director of the Technology Education Centre at the Harare Institute of Technology. He holds a Master of Education in Science and Mathematics Education as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from the University of South Africa. His research interests include Educational Technology, Science Education, Professional development among others. 






Special Issue