Social media and collaboration technologies are viewed as valuable tools for creating a new reality of collaborative learning, particularly in higher education facing millennials growing up with various technologies in their daily lives. Using the example of an undergraduate course taught on-campus, this study examines how millennial students in higher education use social media and other collaboration technologies in their collaborative learning activities to co-create new knowledge through the application of existing knowledge and the sharing of ideas. A semi-structured survey-based qualitative research method is used to reveal the primary decision factors driving students' technology choice for use in their collaborative learning tasks and to assess the impact of the use of such technologies on their learning experience and performance.
The analysis reveals convenience as an important decision factor impacting millennial students' choice of social media and collaborative technologies to use in their team-based collaborative learning interactions. In particular, the three salient types of convenience emerge that matter to millennial students: convenient to everybody in the team, convenient to access and use, and convenient to collaborate with each other privately within the team. The analysis suggests that the use of social media and collaboration technologies chosen by students in their collaborative learning activities is more likely to result in students with positive collaborative learning experience than otherwise. In addition, a moderately strong correlation (r= 0.425, p< 0.01) is found between students' learning performance and their perception on the impact of the use of the technologies of their choice on learning experience. Based on the analysis, this study proposes a student-engaged, technology-choice-and-impact framework that captures the relationship between millennial students' convenience-driven technology choice and its impact on collative learning experience and performance. Further efforts should focus on investigating pedagogic designs that engage students in technology choice for improved collaborative learning experience and performance. The results of this study can inform educators and education technology providers in tailoring their approaches to incorporating technologies with learners in mind, thus turning their engagement into improved learning experience and performance.