Using Cohorts to Create Community and Connection

One of the biggest challenges that came with the wholesale shift to remote work during the pandemic is that many employees felt disengaged and disconnected from their work and their colleagues. Even as people have begun returning to the workplace, there is still a larger population of remote workers that will remain that way. In this new hybrid environment, the isolation challenges for remote workers become even sharper, as they can begin to feel cut off from their peers who are in the office.

Learning teams have worked to address these challenges by shifting the way they create and deliver learning, leveraging tools that enable more communication and collaboration with a learning context. Learning experiences can go a long way toward driving community and culture, even when people are not in the same place. One strategy companies are having success with is something that has been around for a long time: learning cohorts.

Cohort-based learning is something most people associate with higher education, but it can solve many challenges in today’s on-site/virtual work environment. Essentially, cohort-based learning has learners take a series of classes and courses together as a group, sharing the same schedules and timelines.  This creates an environment where learners progress at a similar pace by driving accountability.

But what makes cohort learning so attractive now is the collaborative element. It is a way to keep both remote and on-site learners connected in a continuous, ongoing way. There are more opportunities for shared perspectives which lead to more knowledge breakthroughs. This is especially critical at a time when the only option for many remote workers is on-demand, self-paced learning. These programs can be extremely productive and impactful, but they don’t offer many chances for the kind of connectivity that makes companies successful.

Cohort-based learning brings the kind of structure and support that is missing from solely self-paced programs. It also provides learners with a network of peers they can turn to outside of the learning environment. Today’s technology-enabled, highly digital world of work allows organizations to take learning cohorts to a new level.

To learn more about modern cohort-based learning, tune in to an episode of Brandon Hall Group’s Excellence at Work podcast with Chris Olson, Head of Corporate Strategy and Partnerships at Class Technologies as he talks with Rachel Cooke about what goes into creating effective learning cohorts for today’s learners. 

David Wentworth, Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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