e're naturally social learners, as many psychologists have shown. In fact, Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, nailed it in his famous quote:
"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn."
Nowadays, more than half of the companies embrace social learning, and 2/3 of them plan to ramp up their social learning initiatives. Social learning platforms make learning a fun and engaging experience by using interactions and peer-to-peer learning for a variety of purposes, like professional development, academic education, and informal skill-building.
The tricky part is finding an environment that fuses educational resources with networking features, letting learners mingle and collaborate with peers, instructors, and mentors.
When on the hunt for a social learning software, you need to weigh factors like features, pricing, user-friendliness, integrations, and customization options.
In this article, we'll guide you through 12 social learning management systems that check all the boxes and assist you in picking the right one. But first, let's dive into the social learning concept and how it's impacting the way we educate.
Theory of Social Learning Explained
Social learning is essentially learning by interacting with others in social situations, where observing our progress is a crucial part of the process. This idea stems from social behavior theory, which focuses on learning new things by watching and imitating others. Learning occurs in our minds as we interact with others, even without rewards or punishments.
Albert Bandura, a Canadian-American psychologist, developed social learning theory. He conducted an experiment with a "Bobo doll" where children observed an adult behaving aggressively with a toy. He aimed to determine the children's actions after the adult was rewarded, punished, or ignored for their behavior.
The results showed that children who witnessed the aggressive adult were more likely to act aggressively compared to those who saw a calm adult. This demonstrates that learning from others significantly impacts our actions, not just for children but for everyone.
We are now part of various social networks like school, work, and family. The image below illustrates this perfectly.
How Social Learning Impacts the Workforce & Business Partnerships
In social educational settings, there’s usually a community culture where everyone's always learning and sharing their knowledge with others. This helps the whole team perform better. To put it in context:
Imagine you're grabbing a coffee in the break room and you bump into a coworker who's just figured out a new trick to save time on a spreadsheet. You chat for a bit, they show you the technique, and you leave with a cool new skill up your sleeve. That's social learning in action.
It can happen in all kinds of ways, like:
- Casual one-on-one chats
- Team brainstorming sessions
- Online communities or social software
- Expertise directories, and more.
So how might educators, team members, colleagues, and business partners benefit when they socially network and collaborate?
Benefits of Social Learning Platforms
Social learning technologies take traditional training up a notch by bridging the gap between formal and informal learning. These tools offer important advantages, such as:
Active Engagement for Better Learning
Educators can foster a deeper understanding among learners by promoting active participation through questions, discussions, and collaborative activities. This approach helps students think more critically, ultimately leading to better learning outcomes.
Share the Knowledge (and the Memes)
A business can set up a social learning platform to train new employees on company policies and industry best practices. Employees then engage one another, share experiences, and ask questions, leading to a more efficient onboarding process. Plus, they'll have a go-to place to share that perfect meme that captures the essence of a Monday morning.
Help Learners Choose Their Own Paths
You can design customized learning paths to let learners explore their interests and passions. It's like a "choose your own adventure" book, but for professional development. In the same sense, teams get to pick specialized training topics, like closing deals or building rapport. Sales reps, for example, can improve their talking skills.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
When asked about the benefits of social and emotional learning, instructors pointed at the reasons shown in the image above. In other words, social platforms that promote peer-to-peer collaboration provide a space for learning communities to exchange ideas, support each other, and grow together. This virtual collaboration fosters a sense of belonging, responsibility, tenacity, and teamwork.
Educate Anywhere, Anytime
Offer learning on-the-go for busy bees. Time-strapped employees can use their daily commute, a lunch break or while waiting in line for coffee, to catch up on professional development courses on their mobile device,
The Proof is in the Metrics
Corporates can keep an eye on progress with valuable metrics like access reports and leaderboards. This lets leaders & execs review crucial data from a social learning platform to identify top performers and areas for improvement, driving productivity and friendly competition among colleagues.
Networking and Relationship Building
They help educators, businesses, and learners connect with like-minded individuals, fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the formation of professional relationships.
Real-world Problem Solving
Social learning platforms encourage users to tackle real-life challenges together, like figuring out how to increase customer retention or determining the best strategy for assembling that pesky office chair. With a supportive community, motivation and learning never stop.
What’s a Good Platform for Social Learning? Basic Vs. Advanced Features
When it comes to features, there are the basic and the advanced ones. For SaaS-based models, you'll need to upgrade to a premium account to unlock those advanced components. That said, it's important to take a good, hard look at what the best social learning platforms bring to the table before diving in.
Basic functionalities are the backbone. Such platforms start with the primary features and expand into the advanced ones as they scale. Here are the most important basic elements for social learning platforms.
Allow users to create personal profiles with information about their interests and expertise, fostering connections and collaboration among community members.
Enable users to post questions, share resources, and engage in conversations on various topics, promoting active learning and knowledge sharing.
Provide a centralized location for educators to store and organize learning materials, making it easy for users to access relevant content.
Offer tools for educators to design and deliver online courses, allowing them to share their knowledge and expertise with a wider audience.
Facilitate the organization of webinars, workshops, and other events, helping to foster engagement and collaboration among community members.
Keep users informed about new content, discussions, and events, ensuring they stay engaged and up to date on community activities.
Allow users to communicate directly with one another, enabling private conversations and one-on-one support.
Provide insights into user engagement and activity, helping educators identify trends, measure the effectiveness of their content, and make informed decisions about community management.
Offer tools for monetizing content and courses through subscriptions, memberships, or one-time payments, allowing educators to generate revenue from their community.
These include more sophisticated functions that make a social learning platform stand out. Advanced features to consider are:
Provide a structured approach to learning by organizing courses and content into a predefined sequence, guiding users through a progressive learning experience.
Assessments & Quizzes
Offer tools for creating assessments and quizzes to gauge user understanding, providing valuable feedback for both educators and learners.
Incorporate elements of game design, such as badges, points, and leaderboards, to motivate users and encourage engagement.
Enable educators to group users into smaller learning communities, fostering more intimate connections and focused discussions.
Offer seamless integration with third-party tools like Zoom, Google Workspace, or email marketing services, streamlining community management and enhancing user experience.
Enable the release of content on a scheduled basis, allowing educators to control the pace of learning and maintain user engagement over time.
Provide detailed metrics on user behavior, content performance, and revenue generation, giving educators a comprehensive view of their community's success.
Single Sign-On (SSO)
Allow users to access the community using their existing login credentials from other platforms, simplifying the user experience and increasing security.
Enable educators to customize the look and feel of their community, reflecting their unique brand identity and creating a cohesive user experience.
Offer a mobile app for easy access to the community, ensuring users can stay connected and participate in discussions from anywhere.
Making the “Pick”
A couple of conditions must be met for the right choice of social learning platform. So consider the following questions:
🎯 What's the Main Goal of the Platform and Who's it For?
See if the platform matches your learning goals, interests, or job. Some platforms focus on specific industries, while others cover more subjects.
🤝 Which Social Features Does the Platform Have?
Look at features like forums, chat rooms, or group workspaces to see how they promote interaction, teamwork, and engagement. The platform should help build connections, feedback, and support.
💸 How Much Does It Cost and What Extras are There?
Consider the platform's cost, including subscriptions or course prices, and see if it's worth your money. Look for additional resources like articles, webinars, or tutorials to boost your learning.
📱 Is It User-friendly and Easy to Access?
Evaluate the platform's ease of use, navigation, and overall experience. A good social learning platform should be simple and accessible, so you can focus on learning, not fixing tech issues.
Top Social Learning Platforms Classified & Reviewed
Let’s breakdown and go over the 12 best online social learning platforms in 2023.
Cat #1. Social Learning Platforms for Education Cohorts
This category fosters cohort based learning and social networking among peers or people with a common goal.
EducateMe is a social learning lms that combines CRM, data analytics, video conferencing, and networking features in one easy-to-use dashboard. The pricing starts at $2.5 per month for each learner.
Why Use EducateMe?
Combines fun and education by allowing users to create channels for group communication, send direct messages to mentors and other community members, and use emojis to express themselves.
Synchronized Live Community Events
Enhance engagement with live sessions that automatically sync with a calendar dashboard. Users can host live lessons, Q&A sessions, masterminds, and collaboration events. The platform also integrates with Zoom and Jitsi for seamless video conferencing.
Custom Profile Pages
Members can showcase their social networks, short bio, location, expertise, and headline, helping them connect with others in the community.
Users can tailor the social learning platform to reflect their brand identity with customizable logos, typography, colors, shapes, custom domain, and sign-in and sign-up pages.
Structure Your Program Using Cohorts
- Content-Rich Lessons: EducateMe enables you to create lessons with a variety of resources, including text, images, and files. Providing diverse and relevant materials assists in better engaging learners.
- Interactive Assignments: Offers interactive assignments that integrate with a Kanban-based framework. This encourages learners to actively participate in tasks for a hands-on learning experience.
- Quizzes for Knowledge Assessment: The easy-to-use quiz builder ensures that students grasp important concepts in any learning environment. You can carry out regular checkups on student progress and understanding.
Eduflow is a feature-rich course building platform catering to educators, corporate teams, and sales teams. It enables users to design learning materials, solicit peer reviews, and encourage collaboration through cohort and team concepts. The platform offers five pricing options, ranging from $0 to $649 per month.
Why Use Eduflow?
Efficient Course Creation
Eduflow's intuitive drag-and-drop course authoring tool enables users to create engaging courses quickly. It supports formatted text, images, videos, and file uploads to ensure content remains attention-grabbing.
Progress Tracking and Data Analysis
The platform allows you to monitor learner progress, engagement, and knowledge acquisition. This provides valuable insights into training efficacy and employee development, all while ensuring data security.
Extensive Integration Options
Eduflow boasts over 60 integration options, allowing users to seamlessly connect their learning platform with various software tools.
Maven is a learning platform that allows experts to provide cohort-based courses directly to their target audience. As one of the leading cohort learning platforms, Maven seamlessly combines influencer marketing, online learning & social networking elements. Its user pricing policy remains undisclosed.
Why Use Maven Learning?
Sharing Knowledge & Enhancing Influence
By imparting your knowledge, you can assist others in achieving success and advancing in their careers. Your course has the potential to develop into a thriving community that boosts your credibility and expands your impact.
Notoriety for Expertise & Accountability
Maven offers simple frameworks, models, and exercises that help you create and launch your course in just two weeks, allowing for continuous improvement. The platform features experts from top companies and fast-growing startups.
Building Cohort Courses & Engaging with Your Learning Community
Students on Maven are dedicated to self-improvement, and they are both accomplished and intelligent. Your teaching experience on Maven can contribute to the refinement of your own ideas and knowledge.
Earning Terms for Instructors
As an instructor on Maven, you keep 90% of your course revenue (excluding Stripe transaction fees). This ensures that the platform only benefits when you do. Moreover, you retain ownership of your content and intellectual property.
Cat #2. Community Based Social Learning Platforms
These are online educational platforms designed to foster learning and collaboration within a specific community.
Disco is a platform designed for creators to establish and scale their learning communities in one location. It focuses on creating live, cohort-based experiences, with two pricing options: a pro plan starting at $75/month and an organization plan starting at $399/month.
Why Use Disco?
Efficiency and Ease of Use
Disco combines a learning platform, community platform, and more into a single, user-friendly solution. This integration helps users save time while operating a vibrant and successful learning community.
The platform enables users to create a branded space for collaborative learning. Users can develop the ideal curriculum, organize members into groups, monitor community engagement, and track learners' progress.
Disco provides an array of tools for monetizing learning communities, including discounts, referrals, payments, and templates for crafting the perfect learning experience.
Community Engagement Tools
By integrating essential tools for building, operating, and growing a learning community, Disco unifies the community and learning aspects on a single platform.
Disco offers tailored demos based on users' unique needs, showcasing how other learning communities successfully utilize the platform.
Mighty Networks is a platform that allows users to create courses, memberships, and offers within a unified community. The platform is accessible via iOS, Android, and the web, with subscription plans available at $33/month (community) or $99/month (business).
Why Use Mighty Networks?
Users can facilitate real-time connections through chat features in a Space, whether it's casual or part of a cohort-based course. Alternatively, a feed can be utilized to display articles, polls, questions, and events.
Mighty Networks enables users to build courses and communities on the same platform. Course formats include live cohort-based, content-only, or community-based, focusing on member challenges, events, and activities.
Within any Space, users can incorporate events ranging from high-ticket masterminds to conferences, meetups, native live streaming, Zoom integration, or in-person gatherings.
Selling Access and Bundling
The platform allows users to sell access to individual Spaces or bundle them together, offering one-time or subscription purchases, free trials, and charging in various local currencies.
Mighty Networks offers a range of features designed to create a welcoming first experience for members and facilitate connections within Spaces.
- Welcome Checklist: Users can customize and control a checklist to guide new members through their first steps on the platform.
- Icebreaker Question: A well-crafted question can be asked to engage new members, fostering interaction and connections.
- Introductions: Prompted self-reflection and introductions are displayed in the feed, allowing existing members to welcome newcomers.
Connection Features within Spaces
- Profile Page: Members can introduce themselves, and their activity, interests, courses, and groups are organized for easy access.
- Top Members: Active members are highlighted, encouraging others to browse, connect, and be inspired.
- Members Near You: This feature makes it easy for online connections to transition into real-life relationships by showing nearby members.
- Member Categories: Custom categories enable members to self-select and connect with relevant peers.
- Ambassador: Users can reward members for inviting others into the community, promoting organic growth.
Mighty Pro Mobile App
Mighty Pro is an invite-only community for Mighty Pro Hosts, focusing on launching and growing their businesses on Mighty Networks. The social learning app offers access to mastermind groups, masterclasses on community engagement, and exclusive materials to help users learn and adapt quickly. Additionally, Mighty Pro app users receive early access to new product updates and releases from Mighty Networks.
Tribe (Now BetterMode)
BetterMode is a contemporary community platform tailored for SaaS businesses, aiming to create engaged customer communities. It offers two pricing plans: the Advanced plan, suitable for growing brands and companies at $500/month, and the Enterprise plan, available upon request for large businesses or those in regulated industries.
Why Use BetterMode?
Build a Customer Community
- Customer Engagement: Facilitates peer-to-peer discussions and groups to keep customers engaged and invested in the community.
- Product Innovation: By involving customers in the innovation process, BetterMode helps companies improve their products and services.
- Customer Retention: By providing an engaging social experience, the platform aims to increase customer retention and Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
- Learning Experience: Serves as a knowledge hub for organizing webinars, sharing tips, and conducting AMAs, all in a centralized location.
Customizable Learning Spaces
It enables the creation of private, cohort-based spaces to offer tailored content and experiences for students. These spaces encourage customers to discuss and share their knowledge using built-in tools and rich content optimized for search engines.
The platform allows users to configure SEO options for posts, making it easier for users to find the community when searching for relevant content online.
BetterMode provides an array of customizable templates, allowing users to build their community effortlessly or create their templates from scratch. Pre-built templates are also available for quick creation of commonly used spaces, such as discussions, ideas, questions, articles, and events.
Cat #3. Collaboration & Networking Platforms
These learning & social networking platforms that facilitate project collaborations among team members and corporate learners.
360Learning is an innovative learning platform that combines AI and collaborative features, enabling organizations to upskill effectively and continuously using their in-house experts. The platform offers a team plan at $8/month per user, with custom pricing available for business plans upon request. A mobile app is also available for on-the-go access.
Why Use 360Learning?
Learning Needs & Expert Nominations
Learners can share their needs seamlessly, while internal experts can address these needs, reducing pressure on L&D teams. The platform allows learners to nominate experts or utilize AI to identify internal subject-matter specialists.
Dashboard & AI-Powered Insights
The platform leverages AI to analyze learning data and provide actionable insights, helping organizations create tailored learning experiences for their employees. Users can monitor shared and answered learning needs, delivery times, and course engagement, as well as sort, filter, and prioritize information to keep everyone informed.
Collaborative Learning Tools
- Forum: The Learning Needs forum ensures focused discussions, where learners and experts can post training requests and volunteer directly in the thread, tagging relevant user groups or individuals.
- Upvotes & Sharing: Users can upvote and share learning needs, with the most upvoted needs appearing at the top of the feed for easy prioritization.
Course Development & Customization
360Learning provides access to a catalog of best-in-class courses and allows for the addition of subject matter experts as co-authors. The platform includes collaborative commenting and validation workflows to maintain high-quality standards. Organizations can personalize the platform's appearance to match their branding, fostering a seamless user experience.
iSpring Suite is one of the leading social collaborative platforms & co authoring tool kits offered by iSpring Solutions. With 12 tools included, it covers a wide range of eLearning needs. Pricing starts at $770 and goes up to $1,970 for the premium version per year, with different rates for businesses, freelancers, and academies.
Why Use iSpring Suite?
Convert presentations into Online Courses
iSpring Suite allows clients to easily turn PowerPoint, Word, and PDF files into online courses with just a few clicks.
Interactive Assessments & Role-Play
The toolkit offers 14 ready-made question templates to create quizzes with videos, drag-and-drops, branching, flexible scoring, and customizable testing rules. You can create branching scenarios with voice-overs and built-in characters and locations to enhance team communication skills through realistic simulations.
iSpring Works with 150+ Popular LMSs
iSpring Suite boasts seamless integration with over 150 well-known Learning Management Systems (LMSs) thanks to its compatibility with SCORM, xAPI, cmi5, and AICC standards.
Cat #4. Peer Learning & Subject-Specific Sites
Social spaces in this category emphasize the importance of learning from one another, with students helping their peers or receiving guidance from more experienced individuals (mentors). You can leverage them if software with specific subjects or fields of study, such as programming, mathematics, or language learning is needed.
GrowthMentor is a platform designed to connect startup and marketing mentors with individuals seeking expert guidance. Users can browse through the available mentors or personalize their search using filters such as objectives, language, industry, or software tools. Notably, mentors have the opportunity to create and manage their own teams.
The platform offers different pricing options, from a $30 lite plan to a $75 pro plan, and even a $358 team plan (billed per month, paid quarterly). The team plan includes unlimited free calls with all free mentors.
Why Use GrowthMentor?
1:1 Calls with Mentors
One of the primary features of GrowthMentor is the ability to facilitate 1:1 calls between mentors and team members. The platform supports Zoom and Google Meet, allowing direct interaction and learning from experienced professionals.
Clarity and Confidence in Growth
GrowthMentor also aims to help users gain clarity and confidence in their growth journey. By identifying growth blind spots and addressing them quickly, users can effectively move forward with their campaigns, startups, or businesses.
Team Management Features
Team management is simplified with GrowthMentor, as it allows for easy license transfers, usage monitoring, and scaling seats up or down according to demand.
Building a Supportive Network
Additionally, the platform encourages building a smart, supportive network. Beyond mentor calls, teams can also network with other community members, effectively creating an exclusive growth-oriented LinkedIn-like environment.
Codecademy is an online social learning site dedicated to teaching coding and computer science. The courses, created by industry experts, cover a wide range of sought-after technical skills and languages, such as Python, React, and SQL. Pricing varies for individuals, students, and teams.
Why Use Codecademy?
Forums for Peer Interaction
Codecademy Forums provide learners with an opportunity to strengthen their understanding of coding concepts. Users can ask for feedback, share their expertise, and answer code-related questions, fostering interaction and inspiration among fellow learners.
The official Codecademy Discord community allows members to engage in real-time conversations with other learners. They can share coding resources, collaborate on projects, and ask questions in a supportive environment. Helping each other debug code is a key aspect of this thriving community.
Chapters for Local Collaboration
Codecademy Chapters facilitate virtual or in-person collaboration with fellow learners. Users can either start their own local Chapter or join an existing one to maintain motivation, receive support from the Codecademy team, or deepen their understanding of the subject matter by teaching others.
Social Learning Tools
The difference between a social learning platform and a social learning tool is that usually, they try to integrate external tools into the platform they use.
Miro is an online whiteboard platform designed to facilitate brainstorming, planning, and collaboration in real-time. With an extensive range of templates featuring embedded content like videos and tables, Miro can complement class materials and inspire students to create their own work. Pricing options include a free plan, a starter pack for $8/month, and a business package for $16/month, both billed annually. Monthly subscriptions are available at higher rates, and custom pricing for Enterprise plans can be requested.
Why Use Miro?
Miro supports collaboration across multiple devices, including mobile, tablet, desktop, and interactive displays, ensuring seamless teamwork from anywhere.
With connections to over 100 apps, it helps teams work more efficiently by offering a scalable and secure space for collaboration.
Users can build their platform expertise through free courses, videos, and live training sessions with product experts.
Miro as a Whiteboard Tool
It provides a user-friendly virtual whiteboard experience, allowing teams to collaborate and build content effortlessly. The platform offers a more advanced and feature-rich version of a traditional whiteboard, accessible on multiple devices.
Verified Badges for Skill Recognition
Miro offers digital badges to recognize users' proficiency in various aspects of the platform. Badges can be earned by completing courses and passing short quizzes on topics such as:
- Miro essentials
- Mapping and diagramming
- Collaborative meetings
- Client collaboration
These verified achievements enable users to showcase their skills and expertise with Miro, while also encouraging continuous learning and improvement.
Live Training and Q&A
Miro offers live training sessions led by product experts to keep users informed about new feature releases and best practices. Attendees also have the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers during the live Q&A portion of the sessions.
Slack is designed as a digital headquarters for effective collaboration among team members, systems, partners, and customers. With millions of users around the world, Slack caters to a variety of businesses, from Fortune 100 companies to small enterprises. It offers a free plan and three paid options: Pro ($6.75/user/month), Business+ ($11.75/user/month), and Enterprise Grid (custom pricing).
Why Use Slack?
- Public Channels: Accessible to anyone within an organization, public channels foster transparency and offer context to the conversations taking place.
- Private Channels: Suitable for sensitive or confidential discussions, private channels are only open to invited members.
- Slack Connect: This feature enables collaboration across multiple organizations within a single channel, streamlining communication with clients, vendors, agencies, and more.
Efficient Access to Information and Tools
Slack's comprehensive message archive and easy access to work tools help minimize the need for constant tab-switching.
- Apps and Integrations: Users can integrate Slack with a variety of services, such as Google Drive, Office 365, and over 2,200 others, to create a more streamlined workflow.
- Workflow Builder: This feature automates routine tasks and communication, allowing team members to focus on tasks that need human input.
- Search: Slack's search functionality allows users to find information quickly within the company's conversation history, reducing repetitive questions and saving time.
- File Sharing: Users can share files, documents, photos, and videos from their computers, devices, or cloud storage services without the need to switch tabs or windows.