LMS Customer Community: The Catalyst for Collaborative Education
October 11, 2023
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You can’t afford to ignore the value of an LMS customer community. Today, businesses realize that a Learning Management System (LMS) is not just a repository for courses and certifications but a platform for continuous learning and development for customers, partners, and employees.
When you infuse an active customer community into your LMS, you bring it to life. The results? A vibrant ecosystem that supports customer education and ongoing learning.
Discover what an LMS customer community is and why having a thriving community matters now more than ever.
What is an LMS (Learning Management System)?
A learning management system (LMS) is your go-to platform for everything related to learning and training. Think of it as a centralized hub where you can create, manage, and track eLearning content and materials. But rather than just being a digital file cabinet, an LMS is designed to make learning interactive and measurable.
Instructors can upload assignments, quizzes, and educational courses, while customers and employees can access these materials on demand to complete courses and earn certifications. An LMS makes progress and performance trackable with built-in analytics, making communicating the ROI of your learning and training programs easier.
What is a customer community?
A customer community is a dedicated online space where customers interact with each other and your brand. Unlike passive forums, a customer community is a lively, moderated platform that encourages discussions, questions, and sharing experiences.
Members provide feedback, help each other solve problems, and even contribute their own rich insights or content. The beauty of a customer community is that it’s a two-way street: you get valuable customer insights, and they get a more personalized, interactive experience with your brand.
What is a LMS customer community?
The real fun happens when you integrate an LMS with a customer community.
The synergy between the two yields powerful results like better knowledge retention and more referrals. Customers can chat with each other, share experiences, learn, and eventually become repeat buyers.
Benefits of integrating your LMS with your customer community
Businesses can’t afford to underestimate the immense benefits of integrating your LMS with a customer community. We’re talking about a winning combination that transforms how your audience interacts with your brand and content.
Improved reach potential
First, let’s talk about audience reach. Typically, your courses might attract one type of user—those interested in a specific subject. Now, add a customer community to that mix. Suddenly, you attract people who want to talk about the subject, learn from others, and share their own insights.
For example, a cooking course could attract hobbyist cooks. But when you add community forums on topics like “cooking hacks and best tools” or “budget-friendly recipes,” you’re pulling in a wider audience who may not have initially been interested in a formal learning course.
Centralized system for learning materials
Forget about fragmented platforms where users must jump from one site to another to engage in discussions or find learning materials. Integrating your customer community with your LMS means everything lives in one place.
So, if a user is going through a course on project management, they can directly link to a forum discussion on “best practices for team collaboration.” This is just one of the ways an LMS ensures you create an interconnected ecosystem of your best resources.
It creates a streamlined customer experience, reducing the time and effort users spend seeking information instead of actually learning. In fact, reports suggest companies experience as much as 18 percent higher employee engagement rates by adopting eLearning technologies. It isn’t a stretch to expect similar results with customer communities.
“We love leveraging some of the courses provided in WorkRamp’s marketplace–such as the instructional design courses, WorkRamp-specific training, and Zoom best practices. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we design a course, so we can support more teams and initiatives than if we’d had to build everything from scratch.”
-Robyn Barton, Global Director of Talent Development, Partner Hero
Scale learning content creation
When users actively engage in your community, they don’t just consume content—they create it. Discussions, Q&As, and user-submitted tips and tricks can become learning resources.
For example, a debate on the best coding practices could yield valuable insights you can later compile into a lesson or resource. Creating opportunities for different content types can significantly lighten the load on your team while giving them insights on data points like the most common user questions.
Your LMS customer community is essentially a sandbox for your brand. Users interact, learn, and discuss in a space framed by your brand’s values, aesthetics, and messaging.
You can launch polls, host live Q&As, and share exclusive insights or previews, enhancing your brand’s identity. The community can also offer testimonials and success stories in real-time, giving newcomers immediate evidence of your brand’s impact and credibility.
Offering certifications within your customer community does more than validate skills—it also helps immensely with engagement.
With the Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can easily design, deploy, and manage certification programs. When customers earn these certifications, they gain knowledge and get a tangible badge they can showcase for credibility in their professional circles.
Challenges of combining your LMS & customer community
Integrating an LMS with a customer community offers many advantages but doesn’t come without challenges. Let’s dive into some hurdles you might face and explore how an all-in-one LMS like the Learning Cloud can help to solve some of these challenges.
When you bolt a customer community onto an already feature-rich LMS, the interface can quickly become cluttered. When this happens, users feel bombarded by comments, menu options, dashboards, and too many buttons. Worst-case scenario? They disengage altogether because of the overwhelm.
Designed with a user-friendly interface, the Learning Cloud simplifies navigation and breaks the learning journey into intuitive steps, which helps you maintain a decluttered space for customer education. It’s designed with purpose-built tools with flexibility in mind, making it perfect for a variety of use cases, including:
- Customer enablement and education
- Customer and employee onboarding
- Talent development
- Compliance training
- Revenue enablement
- Partner training
Fragmented user experience
Integrating separate platforms—each with its own user interface—can make for a confusing, disjointed experience. The more complex the journey between your courses and community spaces, the less likely users are to engage with both.
This also makes it harder to tie customer learning to business results. Showcasing the ROI of your customer education programs becomes that much harder.
Merging an LMS with a community forum isn’t just a technical challenge—it’s also a financial one. You’re potentially looking at funding two sets of hosting fees, maintenance, and administrative costs.
This is where it’s key to do more with less. And all-in-one learning platforms can help you get there. With tools like the Learning Cloud, you reduce overhead costs and reduce the need for multiple software licenses. Not only that, you don’t need to worry about any additional hidden fees, helping you keep costs down.
Quality control of user-generated content
User-generated content can be a treasure trove of insights, but without proper oversight, it can turn into a chaotic free-for-all. An LMS customer community needs moderation tools.
Consider a few of the most useful learning and development tools WorkRamp offers for admins:
- Advanced permissions: Designate Academy-only Admins to simplify the Admin experience and give access to Academy-only content and folders
- Reporting enhancements: Surface more data on analytics overview pages such as custom registration fields and segments. Export the data as a CSV
- Automated assignments: the automation engine is loaded with filters, triggers, and actions for Automated Assignments, so Admins can pair their intentional learning strategies with automations once workflows are set up
- Flip cards: WorkRamp enables more text formatting, the inclusion of images, toggling of whether or not the learning card is mandatory, and the ability to remove the background on visual elements
Data security and compliance
Multi-platform customer data management not only doubles administrative workload, but it also doubles the risk of security breaches. About 69 percent of businesses reported suffering a data security breach in 2022.
WorkRamp’s comprehensive security protocols offer end-to-end encryption and compliance with industry standards, providing a singular, secure location for all your data. It’s SOC2, Type 2 Certified, 256 bit AES encryption, and even GDPR Compliant.
Complicated reporting and analytics
Managing analytics for two platforms often involves a juggling act of dashboards, KPIs, and metrics, which complicates the process of data-driven decision-making. This makes it harder to improve your learning materials, meet customer education demands, and retain your highest-value customers.
WorkRamp streamlines reporting and analytics with built-in, custom reporting tools that capture both formal customer training metrics and informal community interactions.
Difficulty in tracking ROI
Quantifying the ROI of an integrated LMS and customer community can be a maze of calculations and assumptions. WorkRamp makes this straightforward by offering features that allow you to tie training initiatives to measurable business outcomes. This means stats such as employee development rates, customer satisfaction scores, and revenue growth all become easily accessible.
“WorkRamp allowed me to understand what customers were being trained and pass them to our success team, capture prospects exploring our customer education content and pass them to our sales team, and then report on ALL of it in Salesforce, without needing to pay for professional services.”
Best practices for growing your customer community using an LMS
Growing a customer community isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. The key is to nurture continuous learning by making it engaging, rewarding, and community-driven—which takes work and the right tools.
Here’s how to make it happen:
People love rewards. Incetivize the learning experience by providing badges, certificates, or points for top learners.
Consider a few ideas:
- Community peer recognition: Spotlight members who are particularly active or helpful. Highlight their contributions and offer a small reward as a token of appreciation
- Skill badges: Assign digital badges for course completion or skill mastery. These badges can be showcased in the community and on professional profiles, which encourage participation
- Add a customer referral program: Offer financial incentives for members who refer new customers to your community, turning your most loyal users into brand ambassadors
- Personalized learning paths: Offer tailored learning experiences. Recommend courses based on past engagement and interests
Provide a variety of learning experiences
Everyone has their own way of learning—and they often do it at their own pace. It’s called learner autonomy and it’s why a one-size-fits-all approach to learning is a formula for failure.
Opt for a multimodal learning experience. Blend different types of learning—individual, group-based, instructor-led—within your LMS. Schedule live events where customers can interact with internal subject matter experts in real time. The more training content types and learning options you can provide for customers, the higher their engagement.
Make it easy to access materials
The average organization uses up to 130 SaaS apps, which complicates the access to learning materials. Then you have to deal with missed updates, fragmented tracking, and an inconsistent user experience. This problem is only magnified when you’re a large organization trying to facilitate training.
Simplify this by hosting all content in a centralized LMS. The Learning Cloud reduces the time spent searching for resources and increases time spent learning.
Use customer feedback to decrease churn rates
Feedback isn’t just for product development, it’s also priceless for community growth. Use your LMS to collect feedback on courses, instructors, and the learning environment. What could improve with the customer onboarding process? What part of a user’s learning path needs more context?
WorkRamp’s built-in feedback tools enable real-time insights, which can help you answer your user’s most pressing questions. In fact, companies that act on customer feedback have a 41.7 percent higher rate of saving on training costs.
Encourage community discourse
Learning isn’t just memorizing information. Rather, it’s also about discussing and questioning the content. This is why nurturing a culture of open discussion within your LMS can be an invaluable strategy.
An LMS customer community facilitates peer-to-peer conversations, Q&A sessions, and discussion forums. This is what takes an LMS from a mere content repository into a thriving learning community. The more social you can make the learning experience, the better the results.
Build your customer community with the best LMS
Scaling a customer community is simpler and more efficient with WorkRamp’s all-in-one Learning Cloud. As a platform, it isn’t built to just store content. Instead, it transforms your customer community into a dynamic hub for engagement and learning.
Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you build smart, sustainable customer communities. Contact us for a free, personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.
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