We're social beings, and everything we do is in sync with others. Learning, the attribute of personal integrity and development, is more successful based on interpersonal connections.
Since the whole world has had to face the pandemic social interaction has decreased despite efforts to maintain relationships through online platforms. Course creators everywhere have noticed low engagement levels and lack of motivation that have led to poor course completion and increased dropout rates. There's general apathy when starting a new course.
However, every problem has a solution. You can use your learning management system (LMS) to create learning experiences that can be enjoyed by more course participants at the same time. Most LMSs have features that help you design the perfect social environment to foster learning.
6 LMS features that help you create great social learning experiences
Every good LMS gives you the tools you can leverage to build a virtual community where learners interact, share, collaborate and, ultimately, learn. Look for the following features in your LMS to create a great social learning experience for you and your learners :
Your platform gathers learners from different backgrounds and various time zones, but they all have something in common: your course. The groups feature that helps you create opportunities for interaction by giving common tasks and assignments to achieve or by facilitating learner-led study groups within your course.
Since people are avid social networking users, you should leverage their preference for online communities and help learners influence each other to stay motivated. Moreover, once created, these connections can last a long time, going beyond a course's duration.
Some LMSs have integrated forums into their software because no matter how much technology evolves, this feature is an efficient way to run a learner community. They can use forums to post messages or replies to threads, generate discussions, ask questions, give and receive feedback.
Read more: How to give the best feedback to your online learners
Forums facilitate social learning through participation, sharing knowledge and expertise. When learners become an active part of these communities, they tend to model others and evolve together. Forums are also beneficial for learner engagement. Once you create this opportunity, learners will grow this resource, and it could become a go-to information source in the long run.
Just like any messaging app, the LMS chat allows learners to interact with fellow learners or with you, the instructor. This feature facilitates communication and feedback. Chats can be done within a group or one-on-one between peers and/or the instructor. Learners get immediate answers to questions for a straightforward learning experience. What’s more, you can also implement a live chatbot to answer the most common questions learners have.
Read more: Is the chatbot an online entrepreneur’s best friend?
This innovative concept makes the online platform feel more alive by emphasizing a sense of community and making the learning experience more interactive. Pulsating activity indicators show in real-time the most active courses, groups, and learning paths. This makes learners aware of everything going on in the course, emphasizing a sense of community.
The online learning environment can sometimes be tedious, so you must design engaging modules. One way to achieve this is to use gamification. Through leaderboards, learners have a tangible and public representation of their work which can trigger a feeling of competition. Badges provide positive feedback and generate more effort put into achieving great results.
Read more: How to include gamification in your course design
To sum up
Most people are working and learning from home, and there isn’t that much face-to-face interaction. Yet, being part of a community is important. In addition, every course creator needs to understand the benefits of connection and sharing experiences. That's why it's a great strategy to design opportunities for social interaction in online courses, which will increase learner engagement and motivation.