Facebook Groups as an LMS (Learning Management Platform)?
We have had many updates and changes with Facebook over the last few years, and while many marketers think Facebook is a dead platform, there have been substantial changes in regards to Facebook Groups that should excite marketers.
Facebook Groups has evolved from a lead generation platform and now Facebook Groups have many marketing features that now, I think are underrated. Once in particular is the social learning group which I believe is to be the next LMS inside of Facebook.
Facebook is full of features and is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 1.4 billion users people login in every day to check updates, promote their businesses and share their latest news. It is also a fantastic forum for e-learning.
Many learning management platforms allow the learner to access information and resources online, however the learning itself is not inclusive with a community feel or support, this can be a problem as the participant can feel stressed at home with just their computer.
What is an LMS? Learning Management System is software application for administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.
Facebook groups as a LMS system allows the participants to engage in real time discussions and chats, allowing the participant to ask questions and have access to their trainer at all times. Also getting support from the other participants, providing an inclusive learning environment, similar to the class room learning.
As a Certified trainer and assessor, which my niche being social media education, I have spent many hours developing and using online learning systems. A report from 2004 stated that in Australia, the Australian government invested over 95million dollars into the e-learning sector. There has been a strong need for the educational system to change its delivery and with the growing use of the internet and digital literacy, we have seen many Registered Training Offices use learning management systems online to allow the delivery of their courses to their participants.
With this in mind, we have also see the massive niche of education for non accredited training, you know, these weekly courses that help you learn absolutely everything you need to know, (The Expert Industry) which are totally accessible on website portals like OptimizePress, Kajabi, then came along affordable delivery platforms like Teachable and Thinkific, the online e-learning niche is a multi billion dollar growing industry and we can see why.
I researched a blog from 12 years ago and the article writer stated “that having an entire course in Facebook is simply not going to happen” Never say never, in my opinion, we can never underestimate the power of Facebook and its continual strive for improvement.
Everyone has a smart phone at their reach, most of us have access to the internet and learning is easy as 1,2,3.
Experts are emerging everywhere, which is great, my favorite saying is “you don’t know what you don’t know” and for me personally, keeping up to date with social media means that I need to know what is new and trending and what will work for my students and clients.
For the past 12 months I have been working at a not for profit organization called Envizion, working with Entrepreneurs of the Future, and all of our resources, additional learnings, power hour recordings have been utilized in a private group on Facebook, just this last week I had the opportunity to put together a pitch for the Department of Education and Small Business Training in Brisbane, I flew down from Cairns with the CEO of Envizion to pitch an online course for Assisting Women in Business, some of the criteria to be success in the delivery was to be able to reach women in regional areas, that may have limited connectivity. I created the framework of this course inside of Facebook and used this platform as my Learning Management System. On the flight I realized that many inside the Vocational Education System are not using Facebook and It made me wonder why?
In the presentation we covered privacy as I believe this maybe the only concern that might be stopping them. With the new sub chat feature, our participants will be able to hold conversations around each of the units delivered. Giving them more support and structure.
There a number of reasons that I decided to utilize this framework for the course delivery and they include the following:
Why I Used a Facebook Group as a Learning Management Platform
- Connectivity – everyone either has or has access to a Facebook Profile, we don’t need to issue them with login details and passwords to a site that is held elsewhere, everyone can join the group and get immediate access to the learning material and resources.
- Facebook is a known platform that is trusted, it also has a front interface, people can navigate the learning material from the tabs on the left side.
- Facebook has the mentorship option, we can help the women with accountability inside the group and this is prompted by the Facebook mentorship options.
- We can organize our learning material and delivery, using Facebook live or pre recorded videos, we can also upload pdfs, files, word documents, excel spreadsheets to assist in the learning process.
- Chat options allows the groups to have up to 250 person sub chat rooms, allowing members, also allowing members to have up to 50 people on an audio or video call. This option is great as many participants have different learning styles, audio, visual are two of them, it will also promote learning as participants can break out with the trainer to discuss content that needs more material and learning. With Groups Chats, Facebook expects users could “plan events, arrange in-person meetings, or have deeper discussions.”
- Integrate a bot to assist in the communication process and course delivery.
- Group insights now available, giving admins a better understanding to trends and behaviors.
At the moment I believe I am one of the first to inter-grate a paid membership site within Facebook and currently use groups for a number of my e-learning opportunities for my students, some of the ways I have been using Facebook for e-learning:
Other Ways I use Facebook as an e-Learning Platform
- Groups – we all are familiar with having a free group to give our potential clients access to more content, having a free group you can hold webinars as a learning tool – free!
- Membership – have a paid membership group, delivering content each week and organize with the units tab
- Support – For face to Face workshop you can have an online e-learning platform to support these participants.
- Accredited training – Support and deliver your accredited training in a secret group and integrate a bot for extra curriculum activities like quizzes.
- Non – accredited delivery of mini courses. Share your expertise and earn money by having a popup group on a specific topic and deliver the course content weekly.
The only difference I see with Learning Management Platforms and Facebook maybe the interaction of learning materials like quizzes and assessment tools for accredited qualification, however lets chat about bots for a moment, you can integrate a bot with your Facebook and allow the participants to use the bot to score them on a quiz and introduce the assessment tools.
A few tips to ensure your e-learning is live and the participants are getting the maximum learning opportunities:
Some Tips on Using Facebook Groups as a Learning Management Platform
- Choose your name carefully
- Create ground rules for the learning environment (everyone will be at a different level of their learning)
- Appoint multiple admins and moderators
- Make sure you commit to your delivery of your content, weekly and daily.
- Give online learners a reason to participate, this will increase their learning outcomes.
Also Facebook is a free platform, we have access to many tools inside of our groups like mentioned above, FREE!
Facebook really offers more than the normal learning management platform, we have the ability to use Live Video, you can integrate your powerpoint presentations or just be live as if you were delivering a lecture, or both. Encouraging questions and feedback from the participants.
Announce events for the course, this can be meetups, lectures, webinars or offline activities.
Feedback from polls about the course, the content and the delivery, there is always room for improvement.
Scheduling our e-learning content, inside of Facebook, you can outline your course and schedule a few weeks or months in advance.
A feature many of us may not give credit to is the Auto translate, this accommodates a world wide audience, the group will have the content in its original language with the translation button at the button.
I hope as a business owner, trainer or educator that you have a bigger understanding of how to use Facebook as a Learning Management System for your next e-course, accredited or non-accredited delivery or maybe just as a complimentary tool to your existing platforms. Facebook is for ever evolving and so should we as trainers and educators, giving our participants easy access to the learning resources and materials. Rather than a number of logins to different learning platforms that they have signed up for. As finalist for the 2019 Social Media Marketing Awards here in Australia, in the category of Social Media Educator, I hope that you see this post as an opportunity to stand out from the group and embrace Facebook as your new LMS option!
Will YOU now consider using Facebook Groups as a learning management platform?
For more information, tips and a quick how-to guide on setting up your own Facebook group, check out this great infographic from Become A Blogger.