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How to design a great social learning experience for remote learners with an LMS

Social learning occurs pretty much anytime, anywhere, both through face-to-face interaction in the workplace and online. That's why L&D departments need to incorporate social learning into all training programs.

Social interaction plays an important role in learning and it’s one of the key factors that makes training successful. Interacting with others during training can motivate people to learn more, to achieve better results, and it helps greatly with making the activity an enjoyable experience.

Read more: 3 useful social learning tips for instructional designers

During these times, when most organizations have implemented remote training strategies and most learning happens from home, it can be a challenge to keep people engaged in training activities. Social interaction happens at considerably lower rates and this may make both learners and instructors feel isolated and unmotivated to go through online courses.

Read more: Things to consider when designing training to upskill remote workers

While you might not be able to replicate the same social experience that happens during face-to-face training, there are ways to make learners feel part of a community during online training. With the help of a learning tool such as an LMS, you can easily achieve this.

How to design a great social learning experience for remote learners with an LMS

You’re probably already using an LMS to deliver training, so why not dedicate some extra time to tap into its social features and design a great experience for your remote learners.

Read more: 3 Perks of using an LMS for training remote workers

A good LMS has many functionalities that can help organizations promote social interaction and collaboration. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

  • Groups

    Groups are an easy way of enabling learners to interact and share ideas. You can create a group for learners within a course, a group for the entire organization, or put together a team where learners can collaborate on a certain project.

  • Connecting as friends

    There are learning platforms that allow users to connect as friends, as they would on a regular social network. Us can, therefore, add learners and instructors as friends, see when their friends are online, chat with them, send them private messages, and more.

  • Forums

    Forums are areas where learners can post questions on various topics and get answers, either from fellow learners or from instructors. During training, questions always arise and since taping your colleague on the shoulder and asking them a question is not really possible now, forums are a good substitute.

  • Live chat

    These can be really useful if you’re doing synchronous remote training, and you want to provide your learners with a quick way to ask immediate questions during the training session. You can also allow learners to have one-on-one live chats with other learners and instructors.

    Read more: The spectrum between synchronous and asynchronous training

  • Activity indicators

    This isn’t a feature you’ll find in just any LMS. It’s quite new on MATRIX and it makes the platform feel more alive. Through pulsating activity indicators, users can see in real-time the most active courses and groups. Within a course, learners can see updates when an instructor posts to the news feed, when a learner receives an award, when another learner completes a module, and more.

  • Gamification

    Creating games for your learners is a great way of boosting engagement in online courses. Learners enjoy earning points and badges more than you’d think. Also, seeing a leaderboard with their ranking in the game and the score of other learners, makes them feel part of a team and motivates them to improve.

    Read more: Taking gamification in training to the next level

Wrapping up

These are just a few of the functionalities within an LMS that can help with making online training courses more engaging and provide learners with some of the social aspects that they’re used too during face-to-face training.

Take a moment to decide what could work for your training and start with implementing just one or two. I’m sure you will see great results and your learners and instructors will thank you for it.

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