With eLearning platforms becoming more prominent in our daily lives, more brands are seeking innovative ways to foster a sense of community among learners. The aim is to increase knowledge retention and overall productivity by encouraging more positive interactions and socialization among learners.
Notably, these efforts reflect the concepts of Social Learning Theory, which essentially emphasizes that as a social species, humans have an inherent desire to belong. Consequently, we learn by engaging with others – whether that is through mimicry, storytelling, cooperation and/or healthy competition.
One of the main ways that humans learn is through behaviour modelling. Throughout history, imitation has strengthened cultures and societies by enabling the transfer of information from one individual to another in the form of customs, mannerisms, and so on. Recent research has demonstrated that when an individual wants to be accepted by another person, they will start to unconsciously mimic them to establish a connection.
Educators and developers can utilize this knowledge of behaviour modelling to strengthen their LMS design by building more interactive online group training sessions and mentorship programs that promote learner collaboration. Allowing learners to connect with each other on eLearning platforms gives them an opportunity to learn from experts, professionals, and high-performing colleagues within their field as a motivating force to enhance their own skills.
Humans learn their most powerful lessons through storytelling. We absorb knowledge from those around us based on what we hear, see, and read. Storytelling allows us to engage with others and share our own personal narratives about the world with them. This exchange of ideas is entertaining, holds others’ attention, and helps strengthen our understanding of different attitudes, concepts, and skills.
Instructional Designers and developers can utilize storytelling in their LMS design to foster a sense of community by creating socially relevant and memorable content that learners can actively engage with. Another way to promote a sense of community is through forums and discussion boards that allow learners to ask and answer each other’s questions.
The desire to belong as part of a group is a major component of Social Learning Theory. The way others behave around us strongly influences our own actions and beliefs as we are more likely to embody socially acceptable behaviours to fit in.
Gamification provides learners with a fun way to absorb information and solve problems. By integrating leaderboards with point systems in the LMS design, learners are more likely to stay engaged and retain more knowledge from the material. Leaderboards are especially useful for promoting healthy competition as they allow learners to compare their own performance to that of their peers. As a result, this motivates them to improve if they notice that they are falling behind.
Without a doubt, integrating core concepts from Social Learning Theory into LMS designs helps to strengthen a sense of community among learners. By tapping into individual’s unconscious needs to model each other’s behaviours, gain knowledge through storytelling, and boost their overall performance via cooperation and healthy competition, brands can make their eLearning platforms more immersive and socially engaging to galvanize richer learning experiences.
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