If we build it, members will come, right? Organizations and associations dedicate significant resources to their learning strategies and content development in order to attract members and make their membership more valuable. However, while knowledge cuts to the core of what attracts people to these organizations, expectations for participation are often not met. So what is the missing piece for creating a successful learning environment for your members?
The Missing Piece
An organization’s learning program can take many different shapes – formal curriculum based learning, live online or in-person events, and informal knowledge sharing, like discussions and library entries. But social learning may be the missing component in driving an effective and engaging learning landscape for participants.
What do we mean by social learning? Generally, social learning is an informal place where learners can learn from other learners. This could include community forums, polls, discussions, event forums, and so on. A lot of this might already be happening within your community, but imagine layering that with the education initiatives of your organization. How can you enhance your educational offerings by incorporating a social learning component?
First: Break Down Silos
Communities and learning management systems (LMS) have typically been created as separate and distinct areas, with no bridge bringing the two together. But why? Idea sharing and discussions happen in one area, while people enrolling in classes and connecting through webinars and courses happens somewhere else. This separate existence can cause fragmentation and a slowdown of momentum.
If members are already invested in a community where they participate and share strategies and ideas about real life experiences, why would we disconnect them from that and move them somewhere else to start over? In a sense, that’s what happens when the private community and the LMS are separate. When an LMS and community are combined, the two build on each other—the existing relationships and patterns of engagement—making both systems stronger.
And: Build That Bridge
So the answer is clear, right? Building a bridge to bring community and learning together in one centralized location supports a culture that drives engagement and loyalty.
Build your LMS directly into your community to bring peer-to-peer support and subject matter experts together in a dynamic environment, all while offering individualized participant experience. Imagine this cohesive environment supported by single sign-on and a fully branded presence that mirrors your organization. Offering this type of all-in-one experience will significantly improve the way your community learns, engages and interacts with your purpose.