In May, BuddyBoss founder Michael Eisenwasser shared with Tavern readers the challenges of creating a profitable business in what is still a relatively small marketplace for BuddyPress themes and plugins. Developers are building niche social networks every day, but BuddyPress’ appeal as a platform hinges on the availability of compelling and reliable third-party add-ons.
Over the past couple of months, BuddyBoss has branched out into serving the LMS market with free BuddyPress integration plugins for LearnDash and Sensei, two of WordPress’ most popular LMS solutions. Both BuddyPress for LearnDash and BuddyPress for Sensei were created to work with any theme, but are also guaranteed to work seamlessly with BuddyBoss’ new Social Learner theme.
Both plugins have similar core feature sets that include the ability to create courses, lessons, quizzes, and tie it all in to BuddyPress activity, groups, and forums to create a social learning platform. Course managers can even introduce gamification into the learning process with open source BadgeOS plugin integration.
Social learning communities, like popular social goal or fitness tracking apps, bring a higher level of engagement by leveraging the people factor. An LMS powered by WordPress and BuddyPress provides students with the ability to connect to new friends, collaborate, send messages, earn badges – all activities that contribute to a higher level of motivation for learning and success.
The idea is not new to BuddyPress, as the long-abandoned BuddyPress Courseware project brought a social aspect to e-learning nearly four years ago. However, it is difficult to maintain an LMS plugin that only works with BuddyPress, because it doesn’t have the benefit of contributions and testing from a larger community. BuddyBoss made a strategic move in building plugins that would bridge BuddyPress to extend existing LMS solutions that serve the larger WordPress market. Both newer alternatives are available for free on WordPress.org.