Around 2010, Mass Online Open Courses (MOOC) revolutionised education by enabling people all over the world to access learning courses online and set their own pace for working through the materials. However, over the last decade, MOOCs have dropped in popularity, with declining enrolment and completion rates.
On the flip side, there is a rising trend toward the attractive alternative – cohort-based learning While MOOCs are usually delivered through Learning Management Systems, cohort-based learning is implemented through Learning Platforms that focus on the experience.
How Cohort-based Learning Platforms Differ from Learning Management Systems?
A Learning Management System is software that enables organisations and educational institutions to create and manage lessons, courses, and other training materials to deliver educational courses to learners quickly and efficiently. Learning Management Systems come in all shapes and sizes. Some are complex and used by thousands of learners, while others are created on a smaller scale for access by several employees for internal training.
Cohort-based learning platforms focus on the experience and learning journey of the participant. Learners work together as a group and move through the course lessons and materials together, emphasising the collective knowledge of the cohort/ group. Learners in the same cohort will complete the course together, whereas a self-paced course allows the student to pause and restart.
How Cohort-Based Learning Is Transforming Online Education
Learning in a cohort-based environment increases the interaction and accountability of learners. With greater access to the instructor and their peers, learners experience collaboration and a sense of community that is lacking in MOOCs. As a result, cohort-based learning is on the increase across the globe.
1. Higher Course Completion and Student Success Rate
Course completion rate and learner success are often KPIs for Learning & Development Managers. A low completion rate can signify issues in the Learning & Development process. In many cases, a low completion rate may be due to the teaching method rather than the content. Cohort-based courses have a higher completion rate than traditional MOOCs. In addition, participants in cohort-based learning programs report being more satisfied and engaged with their educational experience.
2. Build a Culture of Learning
Cohort-based learning, coupled with a strong learning design pedagogy, helps improve the quality of learning amongst participants. Through discussions of contemporary case studies to the joy of engaging activities and the ability to apply it at work, this builds a strong understanding amongst learners, resulting in higher completion and success rates. It also creates a strong culture of learning within the organisation. Businesses can also ensure that their people are always competitively skilled, especially in an ever-changing business landscape.
3. More Effective Learning Outcomes
When students learn individually, there is a high chance that they will not retain information well as it is usually a one-way download. Cohort-based courses, on the other hand, increase retention by making it easier for learners to understand the course material. In addition, cohorts comprise a range of learners who are often from different backgrounds and have different beliefs and values. Through the sharing of these backgrounds, beliefs, and views, learners are exposed to varying perspectives, which leads to a wider learning experience. Learners in cohorts are also encouraged to ask questions that lead to better comprehension and outcomes.
4. Feedback to Enable Better Learning
Cohort-based learning creates an inclusive environment for learners where interaction and participation are encouraged. By providing a safe and collaborative environment, learners are more likely to feel comfortable providing relevant feedback and identifying gaps within their knowledge and course delivery. This gives Learning & Development Managers the ability to quickly determine areas that should be addressed and improved. Beyond feedback, data and insights also help managers recognise learners who are highly engaged vs unengaged and identify ways to encourage them towards achieving their learning goals.
5. Applying Learnings Back into the Workforce
Most employees entering the workforce will have experienced a blended learning experience, where they have learned in classrooms, online and on the job. Most workplace learning is experiential and happens in the workplace, with the remainder of learning through social interaction and formal training programs. When it comes to employee training, it is important to create opportunities for employees to learn key skills and apply them in the workplace. The most successful Learning & Development Managers find ways to combine experiential, social and formal learning, which can be achieved through cohort-based learning.
The future of workplace learning is cohort-based. Cahoot learning transforms learning experiences through peer-to-peer collaboration to drive deep engagement, build capability and shift mindsets.
Cahoot Learning is an online learning community platform that enables learners to work collaboratively to achieve learning goals. The way we design our courses allows learners to solve real-world problems, arming them with the tools to apply their learnings back to their roles.