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What Makes Yellowdig More Engaging Than Your LMS Discussion?

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

“I found that the Yellowdig discussions were far more personable than any other LMS discussion boards I have partaken in. The flexibility of content and responses made it more engaging and exciting... I definitely found that people were more active and excited about posting and responding to others' posts. Previous blackboard discussions have felt somewhat forced -- the responses are always standard and plain.” - Undergraduate Student, Drexel University

LMS Discussions are commonly utilized by instructors as a means of discussion and participation, but they consistently fall short in facilitating real and engaging conversations. Feedback and data have suggested that Yellowdig Communities add greater value to the learning experience than traditional discussion forums. As this student expressed, Yellowdig Communities encourage active peer-to-peer engagement that is personable, interactive, and fun.

So, what factors make Yellowdig Virtual Communities more engaging than LMS Discussions?

The 9 feature sets of the Yellowdig virtual classroom platform foster a community environment where users and instructors enjoy participating and engaging on a regular basis.

The 9 feature sets include, design framework, grading, data, audience focus, notifications, social feedback functions, content exploration, campus networking and co-curricular communities, and alternative interaction modes.

Design Framework

business 101 class on Yellowdig virtual classroom

LMS Discussions are designed as separate discussion assignments that are usually arranged by a course module. Yellowdig communities are designed as a single scrolling content feed with active conversations at the top. This design framework invites students to engage with all of the course material rather than one specific topic or prompt.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Placing active discussions at the top of the feed allows good conversation topics to stay active while others drop off. Also, the social media style of Yellowdig has a familiar feel for users. A single scrolling feed keeps all of the content in one location and encourages both curiosity and exploration.

Educational Efficacy

All of the content in one location allows for integration across course topics and the review of course material across the entire course. More contact time with the course content naturally results in higher student success.

Instructors and Administrators

The benefit of Yellowdig’s design framework for instructors and administrators is that there is no need to create assignments. Yellowdig communities also do not rely on the instructor to constantly spur conversations. Students spark conversation by asking questions, sharing insight, and connecting course content to current events or articles. Instructors chime in as they see fit.

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Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

This patent pending point system changes student behavior to create worthwhile peer-to-peer interactions. By earning points for starting good conversations, students are less likely to procrastinate.

Educational Efficacy

The gamified platform encourages more content consumption and actual conversations.

Instructors and Administrators

Since the Yellowdig point system is automatic, instructors do not need to spend time grading posts. Therefore, instructors will have more time to interact and share expertise, resulting in less adversarial relationships with students.

Campus Networking and Co-Curricular Communities

How an online learner connects to Yellowdig

While LMS Discussions are strictly for the course setting, Yellowdig functions as a standalone platform that is useful for student interaction in all aspects of student life such as, orientation, programs, job boards, alumni communities, etc.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Yellowdig becomes a familiar fixture of the student journey in and outside the classroom, and students are able to reconnect with peers beyond the classroom.

Educational Efficacy

Students who are fully immersed in a learning community are able to take full advantage of the institution's resources which extend well beyond the classroom.

Instructors and Administrators

Students already familiar with Yellowdig from other communities are able to easily start using it within classrooms.

Audience Focus

Students in community

In LMS Discussions, instructors design topics and act as the primary audience. Since there is no student creation of discussion topics, responses lead to constricted conversations. With Yellowdig, students are encouraged to create posts that will interest other students and to ask good questions. Students are the audience for posts and conversations between students emerge from this focus.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Since posts are student generated and focused around timely and relevant information, students naturally have interest in the conversations occurring.

Educational Efficacy

This student focused platform provides students with the opportunity to co-create their learning experience by connecting course topics to the real world and asking questions.

Instructors and Administrators

With a student focused platform, course discussions never get outdated or stale.

social media for higher education

When using an LMS Discussion, students receive a notification for every new discussion and post. In Yellowdig Communities, there is a robust email and in-app notification system that takes users directly to posts and replies that mention them or that are relevant to them personally. There are also nudge notifications that remind students to participate on a daily basis.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Students know when others are responding to them, so this allows for real back-and-forth conversations. Also, relevant notifications get students to re-engage and participate regularly.

Educational Efficacy

By supporting more conversational turns, Yellowdig’s notification system delivers the true educational promise of peer discussions.

Instructors and Administrators

The notification system ensures regular interaction, so instructors do not need to spend time constantly reminding students to participate. When an instructor’s attention is specifically needed by students, they can be @mentioned.

Social Feedback Functions


In LMS Discussions, the only social feedback function is a thumbs up. Yellowdig utilizes emoji reactions, @mentions, #hashtags, and configurable post accolades.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Yellowdig provides more interesting and fun ways for students to interact with each other and for instructors to provide feedback to their students.

Educational Efficacy

The use of many different social feedback functions help highlight the content that is most worthwhile to read and provide students with visual indicators of the extent to which others liked a post. Also, giving out reactions is highly predictive of learning, and fun emoji reactions encourage students to read and react to more posts.

Instructors and Administrators

Accolades are a fast and easy way for instructors to provide feedback. Social feedback features are simple ways to understand the things that are engaging to students and to help call attention to specific things for specific students.

Alternative Interaction Modes

students working together on laptops at a university

LMS Discussions do not include alternative interaction modes, but Yellowdig Communities offer direct messaging, groups, and synchronous features.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Yellowdig’s direct messaging, groups, and synchronous features, allow all student interactions to take place in one tool that students visit often. Avatar indicators are useful in allowing students to know others are online and that they have opportunities to interact synchronously.

Educational Efficacy

These features support small group conversations via one-to-many direct messages or groups established by the instructor. This enables collaborative, group work, with its associated benefits, to run in parallel to a larger learning community.

Instructors and Administrators

Instructors can directly reach out to students and provide feedback privately. The groups functionality allows a small instructional team to oversee a lot of students without having to set up many communities or courses.

Content Exploration


LMS Discussions do not offer a full-text search of all discussions, and content can only be filtered by author and discussion title. These separated discussions create barriers between content. Yellowdig communities offer a full-text search of the community with robust filtering capabilities.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

These content exploration features enable the finding and revisiting of prior conversations.

Educational Efficacy

Topics and posts can be easily rediscovered for studying.

Instructors and Administrators

Instructors have the ability to find specific student posts and comments with very specific criteria.


Yellowdig's community health analytics dashboard for virtual classroom engagement

LMS Discussions have extremely limited data analysis tools beyond manual grades, but Yellowdig has robust tracking of student engagement data. Yellowdig contains a Community Health Dashboard and downloadable reports with over 70 variables.

Engagement, Retention, & Satisfaction

Yellowdig’s student behavior data reveals the topics that capture student attention. This information can then be woven into the class. This access to data also encourages more frequent participation.

Educational Efficacy

The wealth of engagement data allows implementation and course design decisions to be based on actual outcome data and to be contextualized in terms of expected outcomes.

Instructors and Administrators

Yellowdig’s data tools give instructors the ability to benchmark their course against other communities and adjust pedagogy, easily track students that may be displaying worrisome behavior patterns, and perform attendance and “regular & substantive” interaction reporting.


gameful learning points system for virtual classroom participation

LMS Discussions have a manual assessment for grading that can be a time consuming process for instructors. Yellowdig Communities use a point system that grades automatically and motivates student participation.


So, when choosing the platform that's right for your course, consider the features of this platform and how they impact the user and instructor experience:

  1. Is the platform boosting engagement, retention, and satisfaction?

  2. Is it helping your students to comprehend and absorb the course content?

  3. Is it simplifying your workload as an instructor?

The platform that you use has a significant impact on the learning experience of your students and your free time as an instructor. Make sure the platform you use checks off all three boxes!


If you are interested in learning how you can improve student engagement with Yellowdig, reach out to us at


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