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Webinar Recap: Let’s Learn Together: Enhancing Online Learning with Communities

Recently, Heather McNair, VP of Engagement Strategy over at Higher Logic, teamed up with Blue Sky’s Channel Manager, Jodi Ray, to discuss how organizations can enhance their online learning with communities.

Check out our quick recap of the webinar below!

elearning community

We live in the age of modern learning.

What does this mean? We’re seeing two big shifts – to digital and lifelong learning.

Learners are now global, mobile, and social. People expect to access almost everything digitally – at any time, from any device.

Learners are now lifelong learners. People are facing “the other 50 years” when they exit the traditional learning system, so professional development and continuing education are no longer a nice to have, but a must-have for most people.

Across generations and industries, data shows professional development is the biggest driver of engagement and value received from an association.

Those of you who capitalize on the modern learner will be the ones who come out on top and who will be seen as the go-to resource.

But what is currently happening?

Many associations are falling short of providing members value. Why? Associations are working with multiple vendors which can lead to inconsistent user experiences and data stored in multiple places leading to assumptions being made rather than educated decisions coming from analytics.

A recent Gartner study reported organizations expect to compete on the basis of customer experience. If you are going to provide a leading-edge experience you need a comprehensive digital foundation that will respond to the technological shifts we continue to experience.

What can you do?

To be most effective, you must develop a digital ecosystem around your elearning. Important components include a community, association management system, marketing automation, engagement and personalization, advanced monetization, and live virtual events.

Providing your end users a seamless experience between all of these platforms will increase the chances of them coming back again and again, increasing your member retention and non-dues revenue. Their experience must be consistent, reliable, easy, and engaging.

Professional Subject Matter + Peer to Peer Support = Happy Learners

The benefits of the LMS are that the information is reliable and has been vetted by the association. There are verifiable outcomes. However, there is very little interaction.

With a community, the upside is that there are great learning opportunities from your peers, but there is no real quality control or vetting process.

When you combine the two, it’s a recipe for success. People can receive guidance and support from their peers while also getting professional learning.

Some examples include study groups for certification programs or similar; “Paths,” tracks, or groups of courses; and single course support for complex topics.

Gamification + Personalization

From badges and ribbons for course completion to leaderboards to seeing what your peers have done to personalizing your profile to show what you’ve been doing and what you’ve completed, the opportunities for social collaboration are seemingly endless within communities.

Integrating the systems

Removing as many barriers as possible helps increase participation. Having a single sign-on integration between systems and reducing the number of logins a user has is a simple step to making your end users’ experience simpler.

Syncing data such as courses started and completed and certificates earned so that the data is stored on multiple platforms helps end users’ keep track of their transcripts and also can help launch other activities in the community. This data can also then be written back to the association management system or other database of record.

This allows associations to be able to see all data points in one spot and analyze what is working, what is popular, what they should be focusing on in order to increase their value and success.

Automation of the systems also helps to increase engagement. From automatically adding learners to communities, sending emails to encourage participation, and adding badging and ribbons to their profiles, letting the systems automatically do this for you saves you time and gets your users involved.

Embedding content right into your community. From videos and documents, to test and entire courses, you have the option of having your members learn without leaving their community environment.


In this day and age, organizations need to make sure they have a strong digital foundation in order to remain the leader in their industry. The combination of elearning and community forms a top-notch digital educational and social experience that will keep your members engaged and continuously coming back for more.

Want to dive a little deeper? Watch the webinar on-demand here.

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