For this month’s dive into The Evolution of the Association LMS: 10 Considerations for 2020, we are looking at Community and Learning, the idea of integrating community into your content and your LMS.
We now live in a world that has gone almost entirely virtual, and if you are not using your LMS to bring your community together to learn and share ideas, you’re missing out on a huge engagement opportunity. According to a Finn Partners report, Engaging Members From a Distance, of the 15 associations observed, all of them included some online learning into their outreach methods during the pandemic.
Learning doesn’t stop when the instructor stops teaching; organizations can create an environment where peer-to-peer learning is just as important as learning from subject-matter experts by providing tools to simulate the value in-person learning.
When learners engage in community-based learning, they participate in a multi-dimensional educational experience based on self and peer experiences, rather than being told information from a single perspective in a flat environment.
So how do you incorporate Community and Learning into your LMS?
Community and Learning is all about active participation and bringing together diverse communities:
- Make learning active, not passive. In the virtual classroom, establish defined roles with clear expectations of participation.
- Create a space for dialogue. Community members can continue sharing ideas and best practices long after initial learning ends with specific discussion boards dedicated to specific topics.
- Get the conversation going. Post thought-provoking questions with a discussion board attached to your webinar and get buy-in before the presentation begins.
- Share resources. Share resources from your LMS’ learning catalog with membership while encouraging members to share helpful and relevant resources.
- Live participation. With CommPartners’ Elevate, you can integrate with your preferred webinar services like Zoom or GoToMeeting and facilitate participation during live events.
- Create unique profiles. Allow your learners to create unique profiles within your LMS so that interaction can be personal.
- Motivate with badges. Use badges and credentialing to encourage members to participate and post on discussion boards more frequently.
Community and Learning has the best results when there are several ways to engage, and those options are easy to use. Keep UX, or user experience, in mind and ensure your learners know how to access and use the tools you’re providing them.
Looking for more ideas on how to combine Community and Learning? Watch our latest webinar Social Learning in a Virtual World: Tips for Higher LMS and Community Engagement. Watch it and other on-demand webinars here.
Keep an eye out for next month’s deep-dive into Rich’s The Evolution of the Association LMS: 10 Considerations for 2020.
If you’re interested in learning more about Elevate or integrating community into your LMS, contact Meghan Gowen at email@example.com.
Learning at conferences can happen in two ways: peer-to-peer and from subject matter experts. Often, what initially attracts us to a conference are the impressive keynote speakers or interesting sessions that contribute to our professional development. Subject matter experts facilitate that kind of learning.
We are also drawn to the social aspects of a conference. The opportunity to network and discuss your field with peers is incredibly valuable. This is peer-to-peer learning. However, something we often hear about at CommPartners is the fear that virtual learners will miss out on peer-to-peer learning, the learning that happens in the hallways, at networking events, or during the meal breaks. While nothing can make up for a face-to-face conversation, it is possible to create a community within your online learning environment.
CommPartners’ LMS, or Learning Management System, Elevate, seamlessly integrates with Higher Logic, an organization specializing in interaction and engagement. Higher Logic allows your Virtual Conference to have a dedicated space for free-flowing conversation between learners that can move beyond the classroom and be as structured or as casual as you want. Here are some ways to facilitate peer-to-peer learning using Higher Logic’s community learning tools:
- Include a discussion board in each session, adding a new dimension to the speaker’s presentation. This will facilitate a conversation that is specific to that session’s content and won’t get lost in other conversations.
- Speakers can pose thought-provoking questions before a session to get learners thinking before the session begins or will engage learners before the session for more buy-in during the presentation.
Integrating With Your LMS
- LMS’ that have paired community with learning have a more sustainable education system. Education and conversation become cyclical as topics are presented and discussed and then evolve into new ideas for future sessions.
- Include a Higher Logic badge as part of your conference to certify attendees as community builders.
- Include discussion boards on multiple areas of your site to facilitate networking and socializing that extend beyond the classroom. Learners can discuss advances they see their field, new technologies or topics, make connections with peers, etc.
- Open up the discussion; this is an opportunity to ask your members for feedback about your organization or the conference or get them talking about the conference with other members.
Integrating Higher Logic discussion tools creates a dynamic community of conversation and knowledge among your learners. It provides the peer-to-peer learning that many conference attendees search for at a virtual event.
To hear more about Higher Logic and how to make your Virtual Event engaging, join Higher Logic’s Heather McNair for Make Your Virtual Event More Interesting Than What’s Inside the Refrigerator, a free webinar on May 28 at 1 p.m EST. Register here.
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For more information about peer-to-peer learning and how to integrate Higher Logic’s community learning tools, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present at the 2019 Higher Logic Super Forum, on the topic of community-based learning. At the start of the session, I discussed the difference between training and learning. I suggested that training tends to be one dimensional or instructional, in support of a specific process or job with a singular path towards the end goal. Learning can be described as a multi-dimensional approach, that links educational experience and work performance. It focuses on personal qualities and situational decision making. Too often online education programs that fit well into the learning space are structured as training. The problem is, there is little space created for engagement, conversation and sharing of ideas and this leads to minimal learner to learner or learner to instructor engagement.
A way to address this situation is to create space for sharing of ideas, reflection and connection among participants. This was one of the initial goals when we formed a close partnership with Higher Logic to bring learning and community together as a single offering. While we have had some success achieving this on a macro level with an integrated user experience (UX), a single menu structure and seamless integration, we have not had great progress on a content level.
In my talk yesterday, I made the case that if you are offering online learning that is enhanced from a collaboration among participants, an integration of your community and LMS on a program level makes a lot of sense. Here are three benefits of integrating discussions within your online course, virtual conference or webinar offerings:
- Your community members have already taken time to set up their profile and participate in the community. They can now leverage that presence to engage fellow learners in a more focused way. Adding online education to their participation makes them more active and creates synergy between the two platforms, therefore increasing participation.
- Satisfaction with a course will be enhanced when there is the opportunity to share ones ideas or thoughts with other learners.
- Adding discussions provides a continuum of what is learned. It provides participants the opportunity to continue with the topic once the course is completed.
Recently, CommPartners enhanced its integration between Higher Logic’s Community and CommPartners’ Elevate LMS. Is it time for you to make this a priority in 2020?
If you have questions on how to move forward with community based learning, contact Meghan Gowen, VP of Client Development at email@example.com