BenchPrep Team May 28th, 2020
Remote Training: Transform Social Distancing into Social Learning
To keep everyone safe we’ve been asked to do something unprecedented — to stay home.
Now, companies need to move to online learning by necessity. eLearning courses aren’t just a “nice-to-have” anymore. But, research tells us people don’t like to learn alone. We’re collaborative by nature.
How can online learning fulfill our social needs?
We have five suggestions on how you can use your Learning Management System (LMS) and other tech resources to transform social distancing into an opportunity for social learning.
Encourage Community in Your Cohorts
As courses move virtual, the easiest place to implement social learning is through cohorts, each equipped with its own discussion group. In this type of group, learners can talk to other participants, as well as the instructor. BenchPrep found that the average discussion participant is 15% more active than a non-discussion participant.
Group projects provide another way to build community and learner engagement. Online collaboration tools make virtual group projects possible. Participants can meet over video conferencing software like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to make it happen.
- Incentivize discussion forum participation by offering a reward or making it part of a challenge
- Add a group project to the course
- Encourage learners to use chat features during classes
Build Communities with your LMS
Your educational content creates the experts of tomorrow. But these experts need someone to share their expertise. A systemwide community available to all learners at all levels provides this opportunity. At the same time, learners need specific groups to create their identities and collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Your LMS can house both big and small groups to give your learners a range of community options.
- Add expert moderators to a systemwide community
- Create dedicated groups for people to self-join
- Create grad groups automatically after cohorts complete their courses
Make Virtual Pals
When even coffee dates have gone virtual, it makes sense to add virtual networking to your courses. Try asking your participants to log into a water cooler chat or another digital networking event.
Learners often enjoy having accountability partners because they encourage each other to meet their goals. They also often share similar anxieties. Designers can add specific forums to help accountability partners find each other or instructors can set up a time for networking during the class.
Finally, mentoring doesn’t need to be face-to-face to provide benefits. Virtual mentoring or coaching helps learners meet their full potential. Mentors can also be people who recently learned the material because there’s no better way to master material yourself than by teaching it to someone else.
- Host virtual networking events
- Offer a mentorship program
- Encourage accountability partners
Gamify the learning
Social learning takes on a special quality when combined with gamification. Learners are instantly more engaged. They’re working harder. They’re taking bigger risks. After all, they won’t lose anything important, it’s just a game.
Learning Management Systems can include gamification in the platform by offering digital badges, engaging digital flashcards, leaderboards, and experience points. Together, these features offer a better user experience to keep learners engaged.
However, gamification doesn’t need to be fancy in order to work. Simply giving people challenges often sparks that competitive instinct. Or, free software like Kahoot allows learners to compete in a fun way.
- Consider team challenges
- Turn on built-in gamification LMS features
- Build your own competitive quizzes with software like Kahoot
Learners always need connection, but especially now
Remote learners always need extra social support, but especially now when social isolation has taken its toll on many people’s mental health.
Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean we need to give up on social learning. You just need the right tools to give your community a place to flourish.
BenchPrep provides discussion boards as well as built-in gamification tools to help your learners connect and stay engaged with your eLearning course material. It’s the perfect tool to get your social learning off on the right foot.
We realize many people need robust learning solutions during COVID-19, but they can’t wait for months from implementation to launch. BenchPrep created our Quick Start Program to help you take your program online within 4-8 weeks. It offers easy contract terms and our award-winning, learner-centered platform.
Learn how BenchPrep’s Quick Start program can give you the tools you need to transform social distancing into social learning.