The rise of Online Learning Communities in 2022 📈

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Ishwar Sundararaman . 17 Feb 22

4x Entrepreneur | Raised from 25+ investors | Mentored 1000+ founders | Last startup hit $7mn run rate & 100+ team

We are witnessing a massive rise in online learning communities. 🖥

In a survey of students, 69% of them preferred learning in groups, rather than in a self paced online class.

This should not come as a surprise. We have always gone to schools and attended classes in small batches. 

But for some reason, we thought online learning can be achieved by just watching videos at your own pace. 

😷 During Covid, offline classes went online. And replicating the group learning experience online has been a massive challenge.

This is where online learning communities come in.

🏫Online Learning Communities: Definition

An online learning community is defined as a set of learners pursuing a common goal. They assemble in an online space to learn and achieve an outcome.

Online community and group based learning

The common perception is that these communities learn just from one another, but in reality effective learning can only come with the guidance of a coach, trainer or teacher

OLCs are primarily used for educational purposes, to foster exchanging ideas, enable group work and provide live or asynchronous support while learning.

Members of an OLC typically communicate with each other through forums, chat rooms, live video meetups and audio rooms.

OLCs therefore can be likened to a type of social networking site that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and ideas between members.

If you recall, some of our strongest networks are formed while we were in school and college.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the learning community can really help create a very strong professional and support network.

Especially because the members are connected by a common goal

What goals do learners chase

Knowing the learners goals, can help us to understand what it is that motivates learners to enroll and participate in OLCs.

Some of the most common reasons people join an OLC are to learn something new, and build a network of like-minded individuals who you can reach out to for help.

But the goal driving them to do this isn't the act of learning and networking. 

The bottom line is that, OLCs help learners achieve their goals.

This naturally brings us to the question, What goals do learners commonly chase in online communities? Let's take a look below

1. Cracking Exams / Get better grades

2. Get a job / build their career

3. Make more money

4. Save time

5. Become famous

6. Look / Feel good

7. Get healthy & fit

8. Build personal brand

You will notice from this list that learning a topic itself is not the goal. What learning that topic will do for them is the goal

How does an Online Learning Community help learners achieve their goals

The main benefit of an online learning community is not just access to the coach, but getting access to a supportive group of fellow learners chasing the same goal.

It helps learners stay focused, accountable and gets them unstuck.

The online format allows learners to quickly find the resources and support they need to achieve their goals.

And it helps learners share their experiences and learn from others’ mistakes. 

What are the benefits to the host of an online learning community?

1. Increased Engagement and Participation

One of the main benefits of hosting an online learning community is that it can increase engagement and participation from your participants.

By providing a platform for your participants to share knowledge and ideas, you can create a more engaged and interactive learning environment.

This can lead to increased understanding and knowledge retention among your participants, which can ultimately lead to them achieving their goals

2. Acquire new students

Many assume that an online learning community is only for enrolled students, but by enabling access to prospective students you can unlock a very strong trust-building mechanism.

When new students join the community, they notice the discussion, the achievements, and more.

A community is hard to fake, a website on the other hand is much easier

And this results in  and A learning community increased success in your learning objectives.

3. Increased Lifetime Value

Learners leave courses once they are done. But they rarely leave communities they have joined.

This gives the coach their attention, which comes in very handy when you launch new courses and programs.

Especially if they loved your first course, they are likely to enroll in more

4. Build a Personal Brand

Every single learner who joins the community always knows the host. It builds credibility and trust over time, which is priceless in your marketing efforts.

This personal brand can not only help you sell more courses, but also win consulting assignments and speaking opportunities.

This forms a virtuous cycle that can catapult your course to the next level 


How do you create an online learning community? 

If you are convinced that an online learning community is great for both the coach and the learner, then you probably want to know how to get started.

We share below the most popular platforms to host your learning community

1. Unsolved - Their entire platform is dedicated to helping you build learning communities. A single platform that can help you host your course, build a learning community, enable marketing and heighten engagement with gamification.

2. Discord - Though built for gaming communities, we have seen many course creators use this platform to host their communities. Pros are learners probably have it downloaded on their phone

3. Slack - Built to enable communication within companies, they have built a really robust platform to enable that. And is hence used by some to enable learning communities

4. Facebook / Whatsapp Groups - Everyone is already on Facebook and Whatsapp, having a discussion group on it makes sense.

If you don't want to have different destinations for your community and courses and want to get started easy, then Unsolved seems the right choice 

Conclusion: An online learning community seems to be the best way to turbocharge your online teaching business, with benefits to both the coach and the learner

So, the big question is when are you going to get started with building yours?