Following on from his first blog post, 6 tips and tools for social learning, our social lead David Thair shares more advice on getting the most out of social learning.
At FutureLearn, the idea of social learning or learning through conversation is important to us. That’s why we built commenting into almost every step of a course.
If you are new to FutureLearn or to social learning, we know it can feel quite overwhelming, so here are a few tips to help you feel at home.
1. Complete your FutureLearn profile
Your FutureLearn profile is what other learners can see about you when you interact with them in a course.
If you haven’t already, you should add some information to your FutureLearn profile: you might include the country or area you live in, your hobbies or interests, or why you’re taking courses on FutureLearn.
If you don’t upload a profile picture, a coloured logo is created from your initials (so Example Learner would be represented by ‘EL’). However we recommend uploading a picture so that your profile feels more friendly.
2. Join the conversation
You can post a comment on almost every step on FutureLearn.
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to. You are not expected to write a comment on every step, or even read every comment on every step in a course! That would take a very long time.
But we do recommend writing a comment when you have something to say: maybe the step has prompted you to share your own experience or reflect on an idea, or perhaps you can help answer a question by another learner.
If you don’t feel confident in writing, don’t copy another person’s comments. It’s better to try and write your own.
If you just want to encourage someone, why not ‘like’ their comment instead?
3. Follow interesting people
If you think someone writes interesting comments, you might wish to ‘follow’ them: press the follow button on someone’s profile or next to their comment.
Following someone makes it easy to find their comments when you use the following filter (see point 5 below).
Following works across FutureLearn, so if you and a person you are following join another course, you’ll already be following them there too.
Important: if someone follows you, they don’t ever get notifications about your activity (such as when you comment or when you join a new course). Following is only used when filtering comments.
4. Bookmark some comments
Read a comment that you’d like to come back to later?
Just press the bookmark button on the comment, and use the bookmarking filter (see point 5 below) when you want to find it.
Press the bookmark button again to remove it from your bookmarks.
5. Sort and filter comments
Here’s the clever part!
At the top of every comment section there are two buttons you can press to filter and sort the comments on the step:
The show button lets you choose which comments you see on the step. The default is ‘all comments’.
The sort by button lets you choose the order you want to see the comments in. The default is ‘newest’ comments first.
If you choose sort by: most liked you can quickly see the comments and conversations that other learners found useful or interesting on that step.
To find comments by people you are following, use the filter show: following. This will show you comments on that step by people you are following, as well as the rest of the conversation if their comment is part of one.
To find comments that you have bookmarked on that step, use the filter show: bookmarked.
To find your own comments on the step, use the filter show: your comments.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Have you picked up any other social learning tips? If so, please share them in the comments below.
Want to suggest new social features for FutureLearn? Visit our suggestions and feedback forum to make suggestions and vote on them.
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