Blue Sky Blog

Explore our insights about lecture-based learning and discover why our innovative virtual events services and content management solutions are powerful assets for any organization.

Social Learning: Integrating Courses with Community

Social Learning

Social Learning has been a buzz word for some time now. It’s easy to talk about the benefits of wrapping social features around more traditional courses and education initiatives but how does it all really work? 

Community Group 

It’s difficult to get people to engage when they aren’t even in your community! Setting up a dynamic, auto-populated community based on users who are engaged in a course is a great way to kick things off. Do it on a course by course basis, or create a community group based on something slightly larger than a single course – perhaps a community for a specific curriculum or category, or for all learners. 

Depending on the nature of your courses and programming, you can determine what the right level of anticipated engagement might look like and then create an automation rule to put people in those groups. Community participation (I.e. make X number of posts / replies) could even be a criterion for course completion and certificate awarding. 

In a similar fashion, you could set up community groups around live events and webinars that happen through your LMS. Then invite attendees and your speaker/instructor for a follow up Q&A to happen in the community. This also generates a lot of great content for your community that could be made available to the group after the fact. 

Gamification 

Gamification is another buzz word up there with social learning and it’s becoming increasingly important. Sure, if people need to obtain continuing education credits each year or specific certifications to move to the next level in their career, they’ll take your courses. And yes, there are always people who want to continue learning. However, people are busy and have short attention spans. So why not make learning a little bit more fun? 

Badges are not only a great way to reward your learners for their participation, they also serve as a marketing tool for others to find out about your educational programs. Say you’re in a general community group, or maybe in a discussion forum after an event and Mary, who has the Expert Course-Taker 101 Badge leaves a comment. This might trigger you to find out what she had to do to get that badge and follow in her footsteps to take that course (or courses!). 

Badges can be displayed in private communities, but can also be displayed in broader social worlds, like LinkedIn, allowing recognition of badges from your educational content to reach a much greater audience. 

Marketing 

You’re engaging your current learners with communities and gamification, but what about those who haven’t joined in yet? You need to keep marketing! With communities like Higher Logic, their automation rules are driven off of user activities, and because LMS activities can be sent over to the community and counted among these, it’s easy to generate a variety of automation rules to segment your audience to better personalize your marketing. Think – is a renewal campaign going to be more effective if you send the same email to every member? Or is it going to be better if you target users based on their activity? Should you send the same renewal email to someone who has never taken a course vs. someone who is getting a ton of member benefit out of your LMS?  

With an LMS / Community integration you’ll know these things easily. The same goes for pretty much any call to action you might be putting in front of your members – not just renewals, but onboarding, event registration, volunteer recruiting, etc. Improved segmentation leads to better rates of conversion in pretty much any of these cases. 


While these are just some broad ideas of how an LMS and community integration could work together to benefit your association, we’d be happy to take a deeper dive into any of these and discuss your goals and needs. Contact us today to learn more.  

Leave a Reply