How to Use Your LMS's Forum to Keep Learners Engaged Laura Wilson Published on July 4, 2019 Of all the challenges corporate trainers face, engagement of learners always seems to be one of the most troublesome to overcome. Your learners log in to your LMS once, have a look around, maybe take a course or two, and POOF!, they’re gone, never to be heard from again. Any LMS worth its salt should provide you with an arsenal of features to tackle this problem head-on - gamification, mobile learning, diverse course content options, etc. Here at LearnUpon, one of our favorite ways to encourage engagement is through social learning via a forum. Easy-to-access as it’s right there in your LMS (depending on the LMS you use, of course), here’s how you can use your forum to keep your learners engaged. 5 Ways to Engage Your Learners with a Forum To ensure these tips are as actionable as possible, we’re sharing real-world examples. These are how our real customers use forums to boost their learners’ engagement with great success. 1. Develop pre-planned talking points When initially set up, forums can remain deserted for a while. This is easy to understand. People are shy or self-conscious and don’t want to make the first move. So, it’s up to you, as a trainer or manager, to get the ball rolling. The best way to combat this is to create a list of pre-planned talking points that you can post in the forum. These can relate to course training materials, discussions about real-life scenarios, or even requests for feedback on your employees' modules. One business that trains through LearnUpon decided to introduce a forum for employee onboarding training. As they’d been delivering the same courses to new hires for over a year, they had a good idea of what questions and discussion points would arise during the training. So, they decided to add these questions and discussions to their forum on the day they launched it. This simple step immediately broke the ice and got learners engaged with the learning content. 2. Participate in conversations Forums should be a two-way street. Your learners should feel free to chat amongst themselves, but as a trainer, you should also be jumping into the conversation too. This is a big mistake we see our customers make. They don’t get involved and there is no guidance or structure to the forum. So, get yourself involved by responding to comments, asking questions, and continually interacting with your learners so they’re gaining valuable information about their training. 3. Share resources When customers ask us what should they post on their forum to increase engagement, we recommend that they treat it like an internal blog. This means you should post anything that you believe will add value to your audience and their learning experience. At LearnUpon, we have an active forum within our LMS used by our employees. Our managers are encouraged to post as many resources as possible that relate to the training their team members are receiving. From YouTube videos to blog posts to eBooks, there’s a wealth of information being shared that helps us engage further with our training. It’s a knowledge base that each team member can effortlessly access when needed. 4. Assign moderators Even though conversations are happening in your forums, they could be lagging or getting off point. One way to resolve this is to assign moderators to oversee the comments and questions within your forum. Their job is to jump in when comments go off track or when an important topic is waning. They can answer questions, share resources, and encourage your forum members to come back and comment on threads. One successful method we’ve seen is organizations assigning moderators based on a topic. It could be a trainer, manager, or subject expert, ultimately they’re each responsible for certain topics within the forum. For employee training, it’s usually done by team. For example, a manager of the sales team will moderate any threads about sales training, a support manager does the same for their team, and so on. Using this method means that moderating the chats are scalable for your team and you’ll get maximum impact engaging your learners. 5. Enable notifications Last, but not least, when you or a learner creates a post you should know and be prompted to log in to read and engage with it. With forum notifications, your learners get a summary email informing them of the activity that's occurred within the LMS forum. It’s a simple, but the sure fire way to get your learners engaging with their training content. Are forums a part of your learning and development strategy? Let us know how you use them, or any other methods, to keep your learners engaged with their training.