Social learning comes in many forms but is a popular format for online training. Giving students a chance to connect, share and collaborate brings different learning opportunities that are all possible with online platforms, yet are often overlooked.
Social learning has many different flavours. It could involve:
- Students add comments to ‘social objects’ such as a question, a video or a reflection point so that other students can see and comment on each other’s replies.
- Hosting video group calls to get groups of learners together to discuss the learning materials.
- Providing collaborative tasks that learners must work together on to achieve a common goal
- Back channels on other platforms (such as Slack, Twitter or Whatsapp) for students to share insights and build relationships.
All of these options contribute towards a richer learning experience where students can learn from each other as well as the subject expert.
Where do I start with social learning?
The key is to consider the learning experience as a whole and design this into the process. Don’t treat social learning as an add-on – it simply won’t get the engagement you are looking to achieve.
Instead, re-orientate your online training with social learning at the core. Review your content and approach to this. Weave in social opportunities where suitable to encourage your learners to connect and share with each other.
How can I implement this into a WordPress-based learning platform?
Luckily there are plenty of tools at your disposal to add communities to your WordPress LMS.
If you’re using LearnDash or LifterLMS as an LMS for your WordPress site, then BuddyBoss is a good place to start. BuddyBoss is based on the open-source BuddyPress community tool and is a powerful theme/tool etc that is a great companion to the LearnDash system.
Here’s a walkthrough on how you can implement BuddyBoss into a LearnDash LMS:
LifterLMS also has its own social learning add-on, which can be used to add social media-style conversations within a course.
Tutor LMS works well with BuddyPress and their team have provided a full run-through of how to set this up.
Of course, if don’t use any LMS plugin on your WordPress site, could just use BuddyPress to provide community functionality to bake into your courses.