erhaps you've heard of cohort education, but you're unsure of what it is or what some cohort based learning advantages could be for students and institutions. Well, the cohort based learning (CBL) is a collaborative learning method that is recently garnering popularity. But how did we get here?
Just a little over a decade back, an attempt to make education more liberal and self-paced, especially for online learning, became a trend. This method is popularly known as Mass Online Open Course (MOOC). But the MOOC was fraught with a lot of challenges. Several studies discredited MOOCs because of low completion and declining enrollment rates.
A study by the Columbia University Teacher's College found that MOOC programs have a completion rate of 15% or less. The Open University UK puts this figure at 12%. In fact, A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed that MOOCs have a high abandonment rate average of 96%.
But this is not a pity party for MOOC, and neither are we here to whine about its failures. Rather the seeming inefficiencies of MOOC and other methods re-ignited cohort-based programs to enhance learning outcomes and promote educational participation.
In this guide, we will reveal some benefits of cohort based learning and best practices to implement it.
But First, What Is Cohort Based Learning?
The cohort based learning model is an educational approach that promotes collaborative learning and group-based tutoring sessions. Here, a group of people (learners) follow the lessons together at the same pace and at the same time.
Think of this as an offshoot of the typical, traditional school system where a group of students of the same grade learns together in a classroom.
However, with the cohort based learning, cohort groups may be made up of fewer people, and it's a more intentional approach to encourage group learning. (A research paper published by the Journal of Education Sciences puts the typical number of students in a cohort based learning community or group between 10-26 people).
The cohort based learning is also not restricted to a physical classroom. In fact, the rise of online learning and the need to make it more effective led to the renewed drive for Cohort learning.
CBLs usually have pre-defined start-to-finish dates, and learning activities are structured to put students in small interactive groups. This enables them to start together and finish together while exchanging ideas and thoughts in the process.
RL Maudin et al., in their work on Cohort Based Programs, offer their cohort system meaning that sounds as an institutional setting designed to support students' social integration. This is opposed to the MOOC method, whereby people learn individually at their pace.
Why promote social learning (Cohort Based Education) when people can simply learn at their pace?
Of course, one of the major aims of CBL is to foster interaction and socio-educational relationships. You may wonder why; Studies have indicated that the biggest hurdle to students succeeding online is a lack of social engagement.
The truth is that social learning and effective online learning are strongly correlated. In other words, group-based learning significantly increases the possibility of successful online learning. Versey et al., in their research, found that over 80% of students find communal learning important to their online education. The same research found that 100% of instructors admitted that community learning enhances student performance and enables more students to finish their programs.
We can agree that CBL produces more successful outcomes when it comes to online tutoring.
5 Cohort-Based Learning Advantages That Make It Ideal for Students
We’re sure you already understand why CBL is important and why you should consider adopting it for your institution. But let's point out some distinct benefits of cohort learning.
1. Higher course completion and student success rate
A major KPI for institutions and instructors, whether offline or online, is the course completion and student success rate. A low completion rate signifies a lack of interest in your offering, which can be detrimental to your marketing efforts and long-term goals.
Sometimes a low completion rate may not be due to poor or less interesting course content. It could simply be the teaching method. We have already established that the MOOC, by default, promotes learning apathy and consequently produces lower completion rates.
CBCs, on the other hand, have a much higher completion rate. Recently published statistics reveal that CBC has a completion rate of 90%. Some studies even record higher completion rates, others slightly lower. Nonetheless, the average completion rates for CBC are significantly higher than the MOOC.
A study published by the University of Toronto finds that Cohort-based learning participants are more satisfied with their educational experience.
2. Feedback loop to enable a more efficient learning system
Another cohort based learning advantage for students is that it is an inclusive learning method that encourages group interaction and participation. The cohort based system makes it easy to get relevant feedback and identify pressing needs within the education system. You can rapidly determine where there are knowledge and skill gaps and create new learning resources to fill those gaps swiftly.
It also imposes the urgency to find solutions to problems or inefficiencies, enabling you to maintain quality service delivery and output.
3. Enhance your reputation and build credibility
Not every student understands the benefits of cohort based learning or the differences between MOOC and CBL before enrollment. So they rely on statistics like completion and success rates to decide where they enrol and how they rate institutions. Adopting an effective cohort based model naturally gives you an edge with those indicators because you will normally have higher completion and success rate.
And because people do better with collaborative learning, implementing cohort based model will enhance your credibility and rating. They would simply love the way you teach, even if they don't know the method you're using.
4. Efficient learning outcomes
Cohort-based courses facilitate learning and make it easier for your students to comprehend what they are being taught. According to a reported study, learning in a group increases students' retention by 69%. But when they learn individually, there is a 72% chance they will forget.
Also, because cohorts comprise people from different backgrounds and belief systems, it allows divergent views and differing perspectives. This allows for a broader learning experience, knowledge exchange, and sharing, culminating in quality outcomes and an in-depth knowledge base.
5. Better and increased revenue
An advantage of cohort based learning for startups is that it increases the potential for more revenue. This is because of the real-time nature and active involvement of the instructor. You know, with MOOC, you can create one video course and recycle it over and over again without needing to tutor live. But CBL demands the active participation of the students and instructors.
With a well-structured cohort learning program, you stretch your earning potential by charging more for quality and inclusive learning.
How Do You Get Started with Cohorts?
If you are already thinking of implementing cohort-based learning (and you should be), here is a quick rundown to help you get started.
1. Identify your target audience
Before launching a cohort program, you must determine your target audience and identify their needs and wants. You should have a clear idea of the kind of people or profession you wish to attract, and you should structure your offerings to fit their perspectives. You need to know their objectives, purpose, expectations, etc. It will guide you through creating working and efficient content and schedule.
2. Establish a relevant format
Your CBL program may not be a strict collaborative journey; you may create schedules and activities for individuals like in a self-paced scenario. This is especially important when dealing with professionals who probably have other engagements. So while there are collaborative classes where students study in groups, there can also be individual-based content.
3. Develop your lectures
You must build relevant and valuable course contents that add knowledge to your audience. Of course, your course contents must be relevant to your target audience. Your lessons can include videos and text files. You may also recommend other external resources to aid learning.
4. Build your courses on an efficient Cohort-friendly LMS
Cohort-friendly learning management systems make it easy to launch your cohort program without spending so much time trying to develop a web system. With a good LMS, you already have an architecture that supports the nuances of cohort learning. You only need to input your course program and launch.
Build the Best Cohort-Based Courses with EducateMe!
One of the key tenets of digital education is making high-quality resources easily accessible to everyone. The concept of education as taking place within four walls is also being challenged: it should not matter where people learn. Nowadays, you don't have to spend years honing your skills when it can be done in months. Hence, tutors and institutions have been tasked with leveraging leading-edge learning management systems, and in response, EducateMe has stepped up to the plate.
If you're looking for an efficient, easy-to-manage solution for your students, corporate staff, or startup, EducateMe has one of the smartest LMS for working in cohorts.
EducateMe is a cohort-based platform designed to optimize your cohort programs by providing you with an intuitive interface and a framework to build the best cohort based courses. The solution also integrates relevant tools that make teaching and learning engaging. These integrated tools include;
- Zoom: for live sessions
- Calendar: for reminders and to schedule classes
- Tracking and analytics system: to measure learning progress, participation, and completion rates.
- Meeting recordings: A built-in tool that records live sessions and adds them to your lessons.
- Messaging: enables instant messaging and communication among participants
- In-app notification: sends reminders about scheduled activities.
Undoubtedly, there are many cohort based learning advantages that make it worthwhile for the institution and students. And adopting this method shouldn't be optional. After all, education should be about impacting knowledge in the best way possible and producing great experiences and outcomes.
So why go for a less efficient method when it could be better? Ready to launch your cohort program? Get started here.