E-learning courses had developed greatly over the years, from text-based page turners, to video, interactive media, serious games, simulations and live webinars. The thing about e-learning is that it is Global. Your e-learning course has the potential to educate people on the other side of the world, while you are sleeping. We are in an era of Social media, gone are the days that learners need to study alone online. In fact, social & peer learning plays a big part in knowledge exchange. It’s time to make your e-learning course social, and there are a number of reasons to do so.
Before we begin, let try something together. We will call it a social learning experiment and you will see the relevance by the end of this article. I really encourage you to take part. So before you read any further copy the text below and Tweet this now:
‘Lets make E-learning Social @ #elearnsocial http://bit.ly/1QWUoNU ‘
What is social and what is social media?
Some definitions of social include
- ‘an occasion when the members of a group or organization meet informally to enjoy themselves’
- ‘relating to activities in which you meet and spend time with other people and that happen during the time when you are not working’
So social by definition requires people connecting for fun or common interests. Social media is a medium in which these people connect. The list of social media sites is growing but I am sure you are all familiar with sites like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Instragram and Pinterest. These sites allow people connect on common interests and are growing in popularity year on year.
Why you need to add social to your course?
There are a number of reasons why you should add social to your course. Without a medium for communication, the learning process on an e-learning course can be a lonely process. Adding social to your course can address this problem. Some of the reasons for adding social to your course include:
- Creating a medium in which the teacher and learner can communicate
- Increasing engagement with the learners
- Creating a platform where you can encourage learners to connect with each other
- To promote your course to a wider audience
Tools and Tips for adding social to your e-learning course
Try live social. If you are going live, let your students and followers know when. Post course announcements, send emails, and post to your social medial pages. Make sure the details include the date, the time, the social platform, and any tag or link that the learner will need to get social with you. There are many tools for going live with, twitter chat, Google Hangouts, Blab, or even just live discussion times on forums or discussion boards.
Make sure your live sessions are relevant to both your current student and your followers. It is important that you include and invite any followers because these are potential students. Social, when used correctly will drive sales. We are talking about adding ‘social’ so the more the merrier right (If you go out to meet some friends, meeting 1 friend is good, but meeting up with more is much more fun, right!)
Some ideas for live social include a Q&A section on the course, providing additional bonus lessons on areas learners are struggling with, or you can run a community meetup, online ‘party’ or general discussion. Engage with your audience and make them part of the event.
The key to all of this is social, social in every way. So make the event sharable, and encourage your learners and followers to share the event.
A new tool, which is very popular with Udemy instructors is Blab. Blab allows live streaming between 4 people with unlimited viewers, however people can hop in and out of the conversations allowing others to join the chat. The sessions can be recorded and shared with others after. Blabs are extremely sharable, and attendees get the chance to share the event while they are attending, attracting other views that may be interested in your topic. Google hangouts & Skype are also tools commonly used by educators for live social interaction.
But if appearing on camera is not for you, you can still run live events. Twitter chats can be schedules, and although limited to 120 characters per post, twitter chats have been known to draw thousands of people to the chat. In addition to twitter chats you could also run live chat times on discussion boards, forums or communities that you are part of.
Live social is only one option, but what about rolling social. Rolling social happens in communities and on discussion boards. Here you can post questions often to encourage participation and provide awesome content that is worth sharing, showing off your expertise. But again, don’t limit your audience to your learners, use it to attract more interest on your topic and your course
You can also use social for challenges and activities and competitions within your course, which are still truly social. The use of hashtags is fantastic for this and the number of social media site now using them is growing. The trick is a combined use of a statement with a use tag/handle, a hashtag and a link. Do a search on twitter for the hashtag #elearnsocial and see how many people got involved in our competition/experiment. Can you see how effective this can be with your e-learning course? Not only are you engaging your learners, but you are also creating a social ripple for your course, because you can follow and share hashtags. In your course, you could ask your learner to tweet something like
#Excel Rocks. I just completed a #basicexcel course. F11 will insert a quick chart! @theexcelclub http://bit.ly/1U3Z5L7
Or you could pose a thought provoking question and ask your learners to tweet about it using the designated hashtag and your handle.
Rules to follow when making your E-learning course social
So now I have given you some ideas and tools, there are some basic rules that you should follow
- Make it sharable, have a share button at every available opportunity
- Turn up when you say you will, even if no one else turns up, make sure you make a post or a small recording
- Engage with rolling social, don’t leave questions unanswered
- If you offer a prize, give the prize
- Remember your goal is to educate. Marketing is a bonus you get from making your e-learning course social.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paula is a Qualified CPA with over 15 years’ experience in the fields of Accountancy, Business Management,Process improvement, Internal Audit, Group accountant, Operations management and Training. All across a broad range of industries and sectors. Paula has been Key Speaker at many Accounting Events where her talks on Excel are received very positively. Taken from her experiences in Accounting and business fields, Paula also has Udemy courses and Curious lessons for those wishing to up skill, especially in the area of Spreadsheets, Bookkeeping and Accounting.
Now an E-learning Educator 5+ years, Paula also has a focus on E-learning, Online Teaching, Education Technology and Instructional Design. Drawn from her online teaching experience,Paula has a number of courses available to online teachers to help bridge the skills gap for those that teach or wish to teach online.
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