E-Learning is a digital trend that many of us have been following over the past few months. Due to the limited possibilities during the lockdown, it has become an important part of our society. For many online learners, however, the e-learning experience lacks a sense of community and therefore, also a lack of communication with others. This is a shame because learning together is not only more fun, but you can also learn from each other and thus boost learning success. Hence, the importance of investing your time in the e-learning community
So what is an e-learning community anyway?
With the term e-learning community, we are referring to all of the users within your e-learning platform. Let’s assume you run a platform such as Udemy, Skillshare or edx, which appeal to a wide audience with many opportunities to learn new skills. Your online community here consists mainly of students.
An online community can, for example, serve as a platform for users to exchange ideas in forums or perhaps there’s a section where students can share the tasks they have solved. In other words, it’s a place for learners to exchange ideas and have a positive learning experience. The benefit? A positive learning experience ultimately leads to a sense of belonging, which motivates online learners to persevere and continue learning.
A well-connected online community is therefore the key to a better and more successful e-learning experience. Unfortunately, many platform operators find it difficult to build a community. Many online learners lack the incentive or motivation to exchange ideas. As you can imagine…it is more difficult to get an answer from someone who is not standing directly in front of you. While it takes a lot of effort to build an e-learning community, we have good news for you: There are many ways to make online learners feel like they belong, regardless of their location, background or personal goals.
Advantages of an e-learning community
For those of you who are not yet convinced that you should invest time in your e-learning community, let’s take a look at the benefits:
Discussions and debates. One of the most important strategies for coming up with new ideas and concepts is to discuss and debate them. With a strong, positive online community, your students can share information with one another and develop their unique ideas through joint discussions.
Increase in returning online learners. A strong community increases the chances that users will stay in your e-learning platform, return after completing a course or even bring new knowledge-hungry people to you. According to studies, communities also bring an increase in sales.
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Here are 3 tips for how you can build your e-learning community with the help of user feedback:
1. Get to know your community and understand their needs
Learners are more likely to participate in your e-learning platform if you offer them real added value. They are there to get specific information and to build skills. In order to find out what this added value is and how you can offer it to your users, you’ll have to get to know your users.
Our advice? Conduct surveys, collect feedback, and hold interviews to determine their goals and expectations. Experienced online learners, for example, have completely different needs than newcomers. It is impossible to please everyone, but you can approach it by collecting online student feedback.
If you have built your platform on videos, give your users the opportunity to rate them using a feedback form. This is a great moment to ask whether the user liked the video, whether it is suitable for beginners, whether they would recommend it to others, where they need more support, whether the content was valuable, etc. The possibilities of feedback are limitless. If you build the different needs and ideas of the users into your e-learning platform, you give your learners a voice. That being said, this allows you to build your community around the real needs of your users and give them exactly what you crave.
2. Create an information center
To build the community, you need a place on your platform where all the information comes together. For this information center, we advise you to create as much content as possible. An e-learning blog with articles on various topics, news, trends, tips and tricks is very suitable for expanding a community. Give learners the opportunity to interact and comment on these blog posts so that an exchange takes place. After each blog post, you can include a feedback survey so that you can gather insights into how your posts are received by the community. It could look like this:
There are – of course – many other ways to create this information center. You can provide the community with a forum in which the e-learning users can discuss everything from questions to ideas and problems on the topic. During your courses, ask the learners questions and tasks, which they can later share and discuss in this information center.
3. Promote a dialogue between platform and learners
An important part (not only when building an online community, but also in general when running an e-learning platform) is the dialogue between you and your learners. Communicate with your learners in all ways possible. This includes everything from replying to comments to asking questions in forums and replying to messages.
Emails campaigns are a good way of promoting this dialogue, from follow-up emails to newsletters. While this is a one-way communication, you can still help build a community. By sharing the right content at the right frequency, you can bring more visitors back to your forum or blog. But how will you know what content speaks to your users and how often you should provide it? The answer is simple. Just ask your online learners by collecting email feedback. This will help you discover what your readers really want to read and what information they’re missing.
Get your e-learning community on the right track
The e-learning industry is on the rise and there is more and more competition in the market. So it is time to take advantage and start listening to your learners within your e-learning communities!
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