As an educator, you are probably already aware of the importance of communication and social interactions when it comes to the learning process. While physical classroom settings naturally provide opportunities for student collaboration and discussion, online educators can struggle to incorporate social features in their courses. New social learning tools can be used to merge your LearnDash courses with your very own social network. With social features, your students can better communicate, exchange information, and succeed in their e-learning experience.
In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to two of the most popular social learning companions for LearnDash and other learning management systems: BuddyPress and PeepSo. Find out more about how each plugin works and the benefits they could provide to your LMS below.[bctt tweet=”Looking to enrich your online courses with social features? Find out what social networking WordPress plugin will best suit your e-learning site in this post.” username=””]
Using PeepSo For Social Learning With LearnDash And Other LMS Options
What is PeepSo?
PeepSo is a lightweight WordPress social network plugin, designed to help users build communities around their niche, interests, businesses, and more. In itself, PeepSo is available for free and provides a wide array of features including user profiles, activity streams, and user reactions. It also has hashtag functionalities, community member blog posts, widgets, and live on-site notifications. Premium add-ons can be purchased to enhance and add functions to your social network. Additionally, PeepSo offers the advantage of having a highly efficient support system and a team of developers. Through a one-on-one ticketing system, PeepSo users can get answers and solutions to any problems they run into.
Social Learning With LearnDash and Other LMS
Group learning is key to education, be it in-person or online. For instructors looking to replicate the social aspects of education in their e-learning site, PeepSo is a good solution to consider. PeepSo offers several add-ons, with LMS specific options available. Social learning LearnDash and LifterLMS integrations for this social network plugin are offered as premium products.
LMS PeepSo integrations give you access to features including:
- Enrollment streams: Enrollment streams allow you to showcase enrollment posts to let your students see which courses are getting popular in your site.
- Completion streams: With completion streams, you can put your students’ success on display, by sharing each time a student completes a course.
- Student Profiles: Students will be able to create unique profiles, showcasing courses they’ve enrolled in, their avatar, posts, and more!
- Chat: The PeepSo integration will allow students to access a chat feature to instantly connect with fellow students and instructors.
- Course Groups: PeepSo gives users the ability to easily join and interact in a group setting. When a student enrolls in a course you can use this plugin to automatically include the user in the class group. You can also create groups related to specific courses.
Your students can also take advantage of the basic features of this plugin such as customizable profiles with avatars and cover images, notifications, likes, activity posts, comments, and more!
Additionally, the PeepSo and BadgeOS Integration can also be used to incorporate the student awards used elsewhere in your course in your site’s social network. This will help you increase engagement and participation in your community of students.
See it in Action!
Take a look at how other successful websites have used PeepSo for different purposes here:
Case study #1: Unfound
Unfound is a global community created to bring cyclists together. This PeepSo powered site allows cycling lovers to easily connect and share their riding experiences by providing them with a niche-specific social network. Additionally, Unfound’s social network can be linked with Strava, a popular tool used to track rides, to easily allow users to share their latest accomplishments and experiences.
Case study #2: Next Door
Another great example of how PeepSo can be put to action is Next Door. With next door, users can create totally private social networks for their neighborhood. In this case small private networks are used successfully to connect neighbors in a safe way, allowing them to keep an eye on neighbourhood activities and events, increase security through communication and even share recommendations on local goods and services.
Case study #3: Notabli
Another creative use example of PeepSo you should look at is Notabli, a website that allows users to use a private social network to share their children’s photos and achievements with close friends and other family members. What makes Notabli attractive is that it keeps families connected while also serving as a tool for organizing all relevant moments in your children’s life.
Case study #4: Minds
Next we have Minds, a social network built with PeepSo that allows you to post videos, blogs, images and statuses, while earning tokens for your contributions. Additionally this site includes private messaging and video chat functionalities. Additionally, followers can motivate creators by paying them directly through the platform.
Using BuddyPress For Social Learning With LearnDash And Other LMS Options
What is BuddyPress?
BuddyPress is an extremely popular free plugin designed to help WordPress users create any type of community. With over 200,000 active downloads, this plugin has been widely successful at helping people incorporate social networking in different kinds of sites. Known for being the most user-friendly social network plugin out there, BuddyPress is a great option for all skill sets. Some of the functions BuddyPress provides are member profiles, activity streams, user groups, and messaging. These user communication features are valuable in an e-learning system where communication and collaboration between students and instructors are vital.
The main benefit of this plugin is its great popularity, resulting in a great amount of information and support forums. Additionally, there is an extensive amount of add-ons available and BuddyPress works well with almost all WordPress themes.
Social Learning With LearnDash And Other LMS
BuddyPress can work with many different types of sites and can provide great benefits when used with an LMS plugin. Buddypress has several integrations available, with most popular plugins like for LifterLMS, LearnDash, LearnPress, and Sensei.
The LearnDash integration allows you to add online profiles, user groups, and use private messages to build up your online community. At the same time, the LifterLMS integration includes several user profile features enabling users to display their courses, memberships, achievements, and certificates. With the LearnPress integration course creators can display data like completed, current and future courses on BuddyPress user profiles.
Some BuddyPress features of special value for any LMS include:
- Members: Your students can be classified into different member types, set their own avatars, and cover images.
- Groups: With BuddyPress you can create many different types of groups for your students to interact in and individualize their settings.
- Forums With BBpress: Class forums have become a staple in online learning sites. These spaces are ideal to host class discussions, ask questions, and even post small assignments. With the BBpress plugin, you’ll have a dependable and easy to use forum system to enrich your online classes. Since both of these plugins integrate well together, your course forums will work with your site’s Buddypress groups, profiles, and notifications.
- Notifications: A good notification system will help your students remember upcoming lessons, assignments, and quizzes.
- Internal Messaging: With BuddyPress your students can have their own inbox and receive private and public messages. This tool is very beneficial to allow students to contact their instructors with questions or other issues or talk to each other to exchange tips and work on group assignments.
Additionally, you can improve your course engagement, even more, using the BadgeOS Community Addon. This Addon integrates BadgeOS features into BuddyPress and bbPress, allowing online students to complete achievements and earn badges by participating in your online learning community.
See it in Action!
Take a look at how other successful websites have used BuddyPress for different purposes here:
Case study #1: Students Nepal
Students Nepal used BuddyPress to build the first online student community available to students in Nepal. In this site, students can connect with each other to answer questions and provide advice regarding different colleges and courses.
Case study #2: University Of Lincoln
To see a clear example of how BuddyPress can be used for an educational purpose can be seen in the University Of Lincoln’s blog site. Here students use their same university credentials to log in and are then signed up as community memebers using BuddyPress. This gives students access to their own student profiles, access to join different groups and create their own blog posts.
Case study #3: Total Wellness Challenge
The TWC uses Memberpress and Buddypress to sell membership access to fitness challenges and wellness community. Using BuddyPress Groups, a unique BuddyPress Group is set-up to correspond with each different challenge. The site uses a fun point system to help participants keep track of their activity throughout each day for about 4 weeks. Points are awarded for making healthy nutrition choices, working out or taking part in other healthy-lifestyle activities.
Case study #4: Study Church
Study Church, created using BuddyPress, is an example of the many unique applications this plugin can have. This site modernizes discipleship by allowing users to creat their own small groups where people can engage in religious study using lessons, Q&A’s, discussions and more.
How To Choose The Best Plugin For Social Learning With LearnDash And Other LMS Options
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best social network plugin for your e-learning site. There’s no definitive winner in terms of performance or function. The best choice will depend on your WordPress site, your online course needs, and individual preference. The social learning tools above integrate with LearnDash, LifterLMS, and other LMS options.
Some important considerations you should keep in mind are:
- Compatibility with your WordPress theme and LMS of choice. It’s always best to go for the plugin that can work with your original theme and LMS, rather than making changes to adapt to a new tool. Both social learning plugins above can integrate with LearnDash.
- Budget. Both BuddyPress and PeepSo are available for free. Yet depending on your use of add-ons, the price of setting up your social network can increase. Look at both free features and paid BuddyPress and PeepSo add-ons and figure out which system can provide you the best solution at the lowest price.
- Support needs. BuddyPress has a wide amount of documentation and support forums available, but if you are looking to work one-on-one with a support team PeepSo would be a better fit. With BuddyPress, most maintenance and problem resolution would be handled by yourself, based on the documentation found online. With PeepSo you’ll have a dedicated support team to help you out.
- Intended use. While both of these plugins have similar features, there are small differences that set them apart such as access to a support team, pricing, and LMS integrations. Ultimately, you should select the plugin that can provide the specific functions or features you need.
In most cases, we see BuddyPress used to create community websites centering around a specific common interest. Some popular sites using BuddyPress center around vlogging, religious worship, sports fanship, and even motherhood. Rockhaq, a Buddypress community centering around music journalism for schools, is a great example of what can be achieved with BuddyPress. As an application example, if you are teaching a knitting course with LearnDash, you could incorporate social learning by adding a social network around the hobby of knitting. This network can be used to allow students to share tips, tricks, and completed projects.
For those looking to easily monetize or make a business out of their community PeepSo is a good option since it integrates with many different tools. However, if you plan to use their full stack of premium products, it does involve a steeper price. A great example of a PeepSo community would be Unfound, a website centering around cycling, that has a Strava integration to showcase rides, an active blog, and a shop.
PeepSo vs. Buddypress: Overview
Social Learning With LearnDash and Other LMS
Improving students and instructor communication in your e-learning WordPress site is an effective way to improve your student’s learning experience. Looking for the best tools to incorporate social learning with LearnDash courses? Contact WooNinjas for help in the selection of the best add-ons and plugins and their configuration.