Exploring Discourse as a Learning Management System


I manage a forum with thousands of members, and I would like to start teaching there: courses, training. As a Learning Management System.

I’ve already researched several, for example Moodle, it seems to work.

But I believe the best solution would be a “native” Discourse solution. :wink:

So: does anyone have any experience teaching using Discourse?

Any suggestions are welcome.

I currently have a “system” but it is very “manual” and dependent on me updating everything, even HTML in topics… :point_down:


@pfaffman may have some helpful advice about Discourse as an LMS.

also this:



I’ve flirted with this idea a bit too, and it has come up on meta.discourse.org quite a few times. Turns out that there is a half-built plugin to do exactly what you might be after:

It would take quite a bit of dev effort to get it up and running nicely. In practice, this would mean a client with deep enough pockets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t arrange that when looking into it.

An alternative would be a bunch of folk who band together and pool sufficient cash to make it happen so that they can happily use it. They would have a lot of input into how it looked / worked naturally.

If this would be of interest to anyone, please like this post and I’ll likely get enthused enough to explore it further.


I can’t quite tell what you are doing manually.

Are you now concerned with the presentation of the course materials or grading, giving credit, having a way for learners to have different ways to respond with their answers?


Thanks for response dear.

In fact, our entire project is free and open source, as well as the future decisions of the community.

What we are seeking is a way to create a roadmap, a path that anyone who wants to learn something can follow.

For example, imagine a person who wants to undergo 5G training (the focus of our community is ICT and Telecom).

Where does this person start?

Our Learning System would be something like this…

It would be somewhat similar to PowerPoint slides…

We already have a lot of material, many slides, numerous papers, videos, discussions from thousands of experts…

It’s more about trying to “organize” the knowledge path that each member has already taken.

For example, going back to 5G training…

"To learn 5G, the roadmap is as follows:
Topic 1 - link
Topic 2 - link
So, in a simple way, the member would know what they have already seen (and theoretically learned) and what they still need to learn.

This would apply to all other “training.”

As you can see, it’s a bit different, but we are aiming for something truly unique, even compared to traditional learning systems…

I’m not sure if I was very clear.

The truth is, the big problem is that the community is completely free/open source, so it doesn’t have an owner or someone responsible for developing it.

I do it in my spare time, others do it in their spare time.

But I believe that with perseverance, we will get to a better place.

Thank you very much.

So you have a topic to outline the required topics and if you open all the topics you’ve finished?

You could do something like that with an outline topic and/or a tag. When a user has read all topics matching the tag a badge could be awarded. If you’re self hosted and can use badge sql that might be good enough for your use case.

1 Like

What you described was just a normal and traditional way. But perhaps you simplified actual plans a bit. Moodle would be an answer but it is quite heavy system. Free, though.

But you could achieve it using groups, I reckon. Or you can rethink need of roadmap.

1 Like

Thanks, everyone! Contributions have been really great.

Before I get into my responses, let’s have a quick summary of the motivation:

  • We’ve been one of the largest telecom and ICT communities for decades. Thousands of members across all networks (e.g., LinkedIn), and we also have a forum (Discourse).

  • Despite having thousands of discussions to date, we still see plenty of room for improvement.

  • For instance, a new member who joins the community today and wants to learn something consistently and continuously, like 5G, often gets lost amidst the many questions (and answers) about 5G, ranging from basic topics for beginners to advanced ones.

    • These new members almost always reach out and ask questions like, “How can I learn 5G? What do you suggest?”
  • Another example, even experienced users, when they have a doubt, often just post a new topic, even if the question has probably already been discussed. :frowning:

    • Of course, some will say, “Teach old members to search before posting.” Yes, we do that, but we have to agree that with the ever-increasing number of topics, it’s not so easy.

Hence, the idea of an “index” or something similar, our Collaborative Learning System, which would serve as a guide for all new and old members alike.

Now, onto answering the questions…

Yes, it would be great. Unfortunately, we don’t have any members who have the time for this, not even me, as I have my regular job. As I mentioned, the free forum is done in our spare time.

But I’ll try to talk to the other moderators; maybe they’ll consider and find a way to go down this path.

Not exactly. At least, from what I know, the normal and traditional way doesn’t have such a direct connection with the community where members can interact in each topic and expand the discussion, for example.

There might be a way, but I’m not aware of it, which is why I asked for help from the experts here.

In any case, thanks again for all the help so far.

I won’t go into details here; that’s not the goal. But if anyone is interested in seeing what we’ve been thinking of as our roadmap or collaborative learning system so far, here’s the link:

And at the moment, we’re also brainstorming in the community. I’ll post any updates we come up with here.

Thanks, you are doing a wonderfull job. This came across my mind. There can be two sections atleast -

  1. Questions & Answers, where one can ask queries and get answered by other members.
  2. If idea is to provide a learning path to the new members, there need to be concrete learning path with videos and texts related to the topic. The question answers can not result in full fledged learning path. Live sessions with Q&A can be planned where registration can be done forehand.

Great @Shalab_Tripaathi .

I believe what we are building there can even be incorporated by Discourse in future.

  • The focus here is the platform itself (discourse as a forum system).

  • And and in the forum there we are trying to get to a solution to meet everyone’s demand: new member way of learning, senior members how to evolve etc.

Perhaps what we define together can even drive or direct the future of Discourse, expanding more towards the forum / teaching system, as it has everything in common. :wink:

Here’s an idea that might be worth exploring.

  1. Make a topic template for each “course” that people can use to create a topic for themselves to track their learning in a particular subject
  2. Template can include checklists
  3. Topics could be created in a dedicated category to track people learning (which others could mute if it becomes too noisy - or watch if they really like to help)
  4. Users could be encouraged to use the topic also as a kind of public notebook to share notes and questions about what they are learning

We do something kind of like this for onboarding at Discourse and it’s pretty lightweight but works pretty well.


If you don’t have users who can create what it is that you say you want when given a technical solution for your problem, what are you asking for? If you’re not able to create the courses at all why do you want a way to create them?


You know when I say we’re all strapped for time? Yeah, it’s not just me – everyone’s in the same boat, unfortunately. :wink:

Now, as for those courses, we don’t really need to whip up any new ones. We’ve got a goldmine of info right there on the forum, covering everything from the basics to the super advanced stuff in telecom and ICT.

But here’s the snag: we’re struggling to figure out a simple way to organize it all. We’re brainstorming ideas and still mulling over how to make our community better.

Nothing’s set in stone yet, and we’re open to any suggestions you might have. The manual approach we tried didn’t work all that great, but hey, we can tweak it and make it better. I’ll be sharing what we’ve been hashing out soon, so stay tuned.

And here’s the kicker: it’s not just our forum – this goes for any forum on any topic.

Everyone wants a clear path to learn and keep growing, and that’s why I popped into this discourse meta. Maybe someone’s in the same boat and has a nifty solution or suggestion. :blush: