BuddyBoss and Learning Management Systems: Do I Need Both?
As a BuddyBoss consultant, we often get the question, "If I get BuddyBoss, why do I need a learning management system (LMS)?" BuddyBoss and Learning Management Systems are usually referring to a specific LMS like LearnDash, which we use a lot when building membership sites.
Note: LearnDash is our preferred LMS, but BuddyBoss is well integrated with both LearnDash and LifterLMS.
For a more in-depth review of BuddyBoss, check out my recent article, What the Heck is BuddyBoss? It explains that BuddyBoss is actually two products. One is a theme. The other is a collection of features for enabling communication between members on the site. It gives you an overview of these two BuddyBoss components so you understand what it offers.
BuddyBoss provides features for adding community and social media features to your online course site. It allows students taking your course to interact with each other using messaging that's built. BuddyBoss and Learning Management Systems support Facebook-style newsfeeds and/or threads. Together, these features get students out of lone ranger mode. It converts your learning program from a lonely, do-it-yourself program into a community learning effort.
Students can be grouped based on the courses they've purchased. As part of this learning tribe, you can give them reexpasons to engage with other students, make them feel supported, and have them feel like they are part of something bigger.
As BuddyBoss Consultant, we've been building membership sites and online courses on BuddyBoss and Learning Management Systems since 2014. Back then, we didn't have an LMS to work with. We would build membership sites, typically for small business owners using Keap/Infusionsoft with Memberium. That was our market because of our familiarity with the platform and our Keap/Infusionsoft Certified Consultants credentials.
Memberium serves as the middleware between WordPress and Keap/Infusionsoft. Memberium uses information in Keap/Infusionsoft (i.e., password, membership level tagging). Together, they enabled those who opt-in or purchase an online course to get access. It keeps those that haven't purchased from getting access.
Since we didn't have an LMS to work with back then, we would assemble courses using WordPress pages. We would build a master course page. We would create pages for each lesson in the course. We would stitch them together with menus and navigation bars so people could click through the course.
Our team of membership and online course experts would build 3 or 4 of these sites a month, so we got good at it and our customers were satisfied with this approach.
Enter LMS systems, with LearnDash as our favorite, and the obvious benefit was how easy it was to construct and organize your courses. You set up a course and lessons and LearnDash automatically creates the menus and navigation. It makes use of typical WordPress features for adding the content (i.e., copy, video, downloadable PDF files, etc.). It gives you options for dripping out content. This enables course builders to keep students focused on one lesson at a time or to keep them from rushing through the content quickly. Other course builders use the drip feature as a way to protect their content so people on installment plans can't download the content and then cancel.
LearnDash provides features for creating quizzes or assessments. The quizzes can be used to confirm that students understand the materials. They can also be used to keep students from moving ahead through your course until they can demonstrate they have mastered the content. They move ahead only after they have completed the quiz with a passing score.
BuddyBoss vs. Your LMS
Given what an LMS like LearnDash can do, let's go over how it works with BuddyBoss. As I mentioned earlier, BuddyBoss provides features for member-to-member communication. Students can talk to their fellow coursemates. You can set things up so they use BuddyBoss to communicate with the instructor. Each member can:
- communicate via a message interface with others,
- post in newsfeeds you set up by course, by topic, by groups, and/or
- participate in discussion groups and even traditional forums.
LearnDash provides you with gamification features. This can be combined nicely with BuddyBoss' gamification, which can be enhanced with tools like GamiPress, to add gamification of all sorts to your programs. With gamification, students don't just move along just to gain a certification they need, they get caught up in some friendly competition achieving goals in your program. This can especially be valuable if you offer your programs to organizations and they sign up teams of their employees.
When these tools are used by a small business, creating a community is even more valuable. What we've seen happen in tight-knit communities is that people stay with the program, just to stay connected. That means they continue paying you, after completing your course materials just so they can keep interacting with others. They stay because of this community you have created for them.
There's lots more to this, but that is the beginning of what you need to know so you appreciate what an LMS has to offer and how it works well with BuddyBoss.
Hope this helps.