Social Learner for LearnDash Communities for Best E-Learning
BuddyBoss just updated their Social Learner for LearnDash. It's a great theme that combines what both BuddyPress and LearnDash do together to build a turbocharged learning environment. You can, of course, build off of what LearnDash can do for online course building. That's taken a great step forward with LearnDash 3.0 that was recently updated with some super new features. This is something you should definitely consider if you want an online course community and a private Facebook groups doesn't fit your needs.
HOWEVER, be very careful. As good as this solution is, we see a lot of people asking us to help them with it and the solution is NOT what we would recommend for them. Watch my video where I go over the pros and cons for this and when is it a good match.
Since we build a lot of Infusionsoft Memberium membership sites, we get requests for Buddyboss. What people are really asking for is the Buddyboss Social Learner for LearnDash. It's a specific solution with a very specific purpose.
Let’s go over what Buddyboss is. Buddyboss is a Wordpress theme built by the people from Buddypress. Buddypress is a forum tool you can easily add to WordPress. It enables members to have discussions with each other on your website.
What you typically do is create topics related to each of the sections or modules of your learning program. So, let’s say you have a marketing section, an organizational section and an administration section. You can create a different topic for each section. That makes a topic specific forum area where people can have those discussions.
It’s a very effective way to:
- build a community,
- have people interact with each other and
- have someone who’s maybe farther along in a program help those who aren’t as far along.
A lot of times this last one becomes a huge help to your customer service team. You’ll have learners that are farther along in the process, teaching the people that are farther behind. So it’s a great combination.
Now, another way to do what BuddyBoss get you is to create a Facebook group. You get all the benefits of Facebook, all the connectivity that you get with people using their phones, getting notified when people make comments on a thread, all the benefits of Facebook. The disadvantage of using a Facebook group is you don’t own any of that content. You don’t have a lot of control over how that content can be used later and the format is Facebook. Good, bad or indifferent, it is what it is. BuddyBoss allows you to pull it in.
Now, when you use the Social Learner from LearnDash, you get, first of all, all of LearnDash which is a very organized learning management system or LMS built in your WordPress site. If you’re using it with Memberium, which is what we typically do, it’s going to be connected to Infusionsoft. So you get a lot of the benefits that go with that.
But what the Buddyboss theme does is it allows you to bring together your membership site with a forum. Instead of the forum just being just another page on your site, and we’ve built a lot of sites like that, it becomes pretty much the basis or the foundation for the whole site. If you see a site built with Buddyboss, you'll notice it has a right and a left sidebar. On the left, you typically will include course navigation and other content navigation information. On the right side, you have a lot of information for communicating with other members. You can list all the members or the members that are most active. You can opt to display the members that have commented most recently.
You can click right into someone’s profile and see everything that person’s published about themselves: their name, their bio, their picture, whatever it is you want people to share within their profiles. When you arrive at their profile, you can follow them; you have the ability to "like" their content. It provides a lot of the social media and Facebook like features. That’s really convenient.
If what you’re wanting to do is to create a tribe or a community of people all discussing your material, this is the tool to use. You can foster an area when the members of your group support each other.
I do want to warn you. Buddyboss is not the right solution for everyone. First of all, if you cannot get your tribe or your people or you don’t want to have your people talking to each other, don’t use this theme. It’s gonna have a lot of features that you’re basically gonna turn off or remove. Removing these can be a difficult thing to do. We’ve done it for some clients, but you’re basically turning off the features that were the reason why you bought Buddypress or Buddyboss to begin with. If you don’t want a forum, if you cannot get everybody in your program to use it, then I recommend against using Buddyboss.
But if community building is what you’re after and you have the energy and the resources, it's a solution to consider. If building community is a key component of your program, then Buddyboss has the features. If you did try and use another theme or WordPress approach, you would need to building these features yourself. Buddyboss Social Learner for LearnDash is a theme, but it comes with a number of plugins with all the instructions and a lot of detail that goes into getting it configured correctly. Together they get you all the benefits that it’s intended to give you. I'll throw it out that this sort of customization is one of the things my team and I do. We’ve worked on these and we understand how all those components work together.
It’s not for the faint of heart but it is very doable and the instructions are very clear. But if you did want to outsource it to us, we’d be glad to help you. So I hope this overview of Buddyboss has come in handy.
Let us know what you think.