What is a Social Learning Management System?

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Learning management systems (LMS) enable businesses to house and distribute important documents. Unlike a traditional file sharing service, an LMS platform is dynamic and capable of streamlining critical processes.

Many businesses leverage an LMS to automate employee onboarding, keep employees up to date on compliance regulations, and educate students, salespeople, and channel partners on how best to market, sell, and support their products.

Who Uses an LMS?

Enterprises

Large companies are responsible for training a high volume of employees with diverse backgrounds, levels of experience, and areas of expertise. Many businesses structure the content within their learning management platforms to accommodate the unique needs of various departments and keep resellers and franchises up to date on product releases, compliance requirements, and more. Other enterprise LMS users are global nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and higher education institutions.

SMBs

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) lean on LMS technology to develop local and remote employee skills with fewer human resources and training costs. Learning management platforms provide a consistent way for small business owners to empower their staff from anywhere in the world by housing all of the information they need to succeed to help scale operations and adapt to the constantly changing market. Learning management systems are used across all industries.

What Makes a Learning Management System Social?

While formal training is an essential part of any learning journey, not all learning happens in formal settings. It’s not uncommon for the most valuable lessons to be shared over lunch or in a quick team huddle.

Adding a social component to a learning management system provides users with a highly collaborative and community-based e-learning environment that combines the best of formal and informal learning styles. The ability to ask questions, contribute to discussion forums, and give and receive feedback allows users to build stronger connections with each other and better retain the information they’re studying.

Social learning management systems create a more enriching learning environment where users can convert the information they consume into usable knowledge.

By connecting users to one another, they can practice what they learn and socialize with other employees or students in a shared context.

The Benefits of Community-Based Learning

Converting your LMS into an online community creates a collaborative space for users to leverage their social connections to improve their learning experience.

Businesses that want to add value to their e-learning platform must be able to help their members reach their goals in more efficient ways. You can use your social LMS to set your platform apart from the competition and attract new users by promoting the benefits of a more effective and enjoyable training methodology.

  1. Curate Unique Educational Content

Curating an online community within your LMS provides a quality of content and community that users cannot easily find on YouTube, social media, or public discussion forums. Learners who don’t have access to a solid training program waste valuable time verifying the authenticity and value of the training they find on these other free platforms. When your organization provides carefully curated social learning content, your members can trust the source and chat directly with other users to verify their satisfaction. Plus, the content can be tailored to your company’s unique goals.

  1. Gain Insight Into Areas of Improvement

The most valuable asset an organization possesses is its user base. By learning in an online setting, users can share their expertise and experience with others.

Owning the community where your users share ideas of improvement gives you the valuable insight you need to improve your LMS's promotion, content, and structure and provide more value to your users while reducing churn.

You can even add forums and built-in rating systems, which operate as both social and feedback tools. For example, if you notice a recurring question popping up in forums, you can use these insights to identify and address training gaps. Or, if users consistently award five-star reviews for a particular part of their training, you can use this as an indicator to create more courses like it to keep users engaged.

  1. Add Value Through Mentorship

Having a mentor can greatly accelerate professional and educational development. An online learning community offers businesses the opportunity to provide added value to existing users via mentorship. If you want to tap into your users' expertise, they’ll likely be eager to help. Matching users to a mentor encourages them to actively participate in their training, too. Plus, a platform that has private, direct messaging functionality can ensure that these conversations can continue to take place on your platform/ease of communication to lower the barrier of staying in touch with your mentor. A social LMS gives you and your users what you both want: collaborative, peer-led learning.

  1. Increase Productivity

Perhaps the most significant benefit of adding a social component to your LMS is the efficiency it brings to org-wide processes. If a trainee has a question, the ability to chat with another user will help them find the answer quickly; or they can view past discussion threads to get help in real-time. When users need help, they get it, saving time and effort for more important tasks. Your LMS is essentially a central hub where your community can come together. It gives you the power to bridge the distance between functional roles, departments, and even time zones so that users can stay productive while learning and business can run as usual at any time, anywhere.

  1. Boost Engagement Outside of Your LMS

Social LMSs are a two-way communication tool, not like the one-way channel you’d find in a traditional LMS. This allows businesses to actively seek out user input and use it to create a more relevant curriculum, signaling to users that their opinions matter.

It will also encourage users to play a more active role in your organization outside of training because they feel like a valuable part of your team, increasing job satisfaction and loyalty.

With a traditional LMS, training can feel like another chore on a to-do list — adding a social component changes that. Conversation and collaboration are magnetic, inviting users to pose new questions and share their learnings as they gain more experience. This creates a powerful continuous growth and development cycle, the ticket to a happier, more knowledgeable, and productive team.

Ready to Get Social?

Social learning is nothing new. Storytelling has been one of the main ways to pass along wisdom for ages. At its core, social learning management systems allow people to do what’s natural — learn with and from others.

If you’d like to create a community-based learning environment for your business, you can leverage an existing LMS platform or an LMS API. Chat APIs are a top way learning management systems can provide a streamlined end-user experience that can quickly integrate into your current LMS and be ready for users to enjoy in record time.