Cohort Based Courses – the next phase of online education?

A cohort based course is an online course where a group (cohort) of students learn at the same time, usually over a fixed period, with a mix of online materials (watch videos, read text etc), live classes with an instructor and peer group collaboration and projects.

What have been the phases of online learning?

The recent early phase was the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) such as edX founded by Harvard and MIT, which has 2,900+ online courses. Also see wikipedia entry.

The next development has been marketplaces such as Udemy and Skillshare, together with online learning management systems like Teachable and Kajabi.

Why Cohort Based Courses

Cohort based courses mirrors traditional classes, with the added benefits of online learning.

A good example is Seth Godin’s altMBA a 31-day online leadership workshop. Other examples are Tiago Forte’s Building a Second Brain and David Perell’s Write of Passage.

A cohort provides a more interactive, immersive experience for students, with members of the course sharing their own understanding and application of the course material with each other as they go. 

Cohort based courses have a much higher completion rates 80-90%) than self-paced courses (5-15%).

The benefits of cohort based learning include:

  • Community. This enhances the learning experience.
  • Support. Get help and accountability from peers and instructors. 
  • Structure: set live sessions and due dates for assignments ensures the work gets done. 
  • Networking: build relationships by meeting new people with similar interests, goals and experiences as some of your peers.
  • Focus. Greater emphasis on learning the how, than the what and why.

What does this mean for TFI?

Intend moving to cohort based courses for the more extensive topics like preparing business cases. 

Could I ask you a favour by taking a few minutes to complete a short questionnaire

The upcoming course on Preparing Effective Business Cases for Transport Infrastructure commences on 18 August – click here for details.

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