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Cohort-Based Learning: Yes or No?

Understanding the fundamentals of the vast domain that is Learning & Development with the help of a self-proclaimed L&D geek.


* Cohorts are a method of offering knowledge to the same group of people synchronously, over a pre-defined amount of time, until the delivery goal has been reached. It’s very similar to how formal education is currently offered to children and young adults.
* This teaching style has become the default method since the Industrial Revolution, as explained by Sir Ken Robinson in his RSA talk on changing education paradigms. In his speech, he highlights how this teaching paradigm no longer serves current and future generations of children; this finding is also relevant for adult learning. There’s a fun animation based on this talk that you can watch here.
* It’s hard to make a case for offering cohort-based learning programs in general. The potential, apparent benefits of learning synchronously (for example, relying on your peers to keep up with the class and stay engaged in the learning process) are offset by each individual’s need for a personalized learning experience. The reality is that each person has their preferences and style of acquiring knowledge, which sits at the core of self-directed learning.

When to use cohort-based learning programs:

1. Particular situations where a group of people with the same learning objectives and level of knowledge/skill must go through a learning activity with a well-defined goal in mind.
2. Some examples include compliance scenarios or situations when your organization launches new products or services and must quickly bring its employees up to speed.

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More episode from this series

Our guest is Lavinia Mehedintu, People Experience Manager at eMAG, Eastern Europe's largest e-commerce website, and co-founder and content curator at Offbeat, the digital platform of actionable resources exclusively dedicated to L&D professionals. Together we cover some of the most important aspects of working in Learning & Development, from topics like workplace psychological safety to understanding L&D metrics and analytics. Each episode has actionable advice that you can start implementing TODAY.

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