How Virtual Cohort-Based Learning Delivers Impactful Leadership Development
In cohort-based learning, individuals connect as a group to learn, collaborate, and actively engage in activities built around a specific subject. In doing so, this learning method creates a deeper understanding of shared goals and shows learners how to achieve goals — together — in the workplace. Leveraging this common and proven approach for in-person learning, the Udemy Business method for leadership development incorporates cohort-based learning in a virtual environment.
The online platform has delivered successful virtual programs to over 75,000 participants a year since 2012. Our online, cohort-based learning approach mimics in-person learning in a tailored, scalable format that can support participants across the globe. We’ve learned that focused, incremental, group-based learning improves participation, increases engagement, and drives constructive conversations. It’s instrumental to the overall success of the participants, teams, and organizations.
Adapting virtual learning to different learning styles
Udemy Business understands that everyone learns differently, so we’ve incorporated a variety of teaching methods into our cohort-based learning platform. Each program comprises synchronous and asynchronous elements to support learners who prefer to learn on their own and those who learn best through collaboration and discussion. We also incorporate videos, readings, reflection opportunities, active learning activities, and opportunities to ask questions from peers and experts. This blended approach helps improve and expedite the learning process.
Individual learning vs. cohort-based learning
Many online learning programs are entirely self-paced. This approach can be an effective way for an individual to learn new hard skills, such as industry knowledge or technical skills. Cohort-based learning is ideal for helping participants develop and apply power skills — skills that are critical in leadership development. Modern leaders cannot simply rely on industry knowledge and technical skills. They must be proficient in power skills to work with managers, peers, and employees effectively. Examples of power skills include:
- Making team members feel valued and included
- Having difficult conversations with team members
- Advocating for new ideas and initiatives
- Communicating effectively to every level of the organization
Benefits of cohort-based learning
Creates dialogue and builds community
Online communities are an ideal place to foster relationships. Introverted participants have time and space to contribute to conversations in a safe environment, while extroverts have an opportunity to discuss ideas during live, online events. The community aspect of cohort-based learning drives group success and is contingent upon each member’s participation and involvement in the group. This learning style creates a team dynamic and comradery focused around a common learning goal.
Fosters acccountability within the group
Accountability arises from individual responsibility and its role in someone’s commitment to the team. Individual and team performance is essential to the success of the cohort. It’s just as important for team members to hold one another accountable as it is to hold themselves accountable to their learning goals. The Udemy leadership development platform encourages accountability by providing feedback to participants on how they are progressing in the program compared to the rest of the group. The platform occasionally follows up with learners who are progressing more slowly through the program than their peers so that the learners can take action to catch up with the cohort’s progress.
Creates stronger interaction and engagement
Relationships develop as a result of community interaction. In an active virtual cohort, team members participate in live exercises that foster collaboration, participation, and discussion. These activities often include a reflection exercise where team members openly discuss their take on the team training initiative and how it relates to the workplace.
Like any learning program, quality content is crucial to the program’s impact on learners and helps them relate theory to their everyday work. Udemy Business integrates these critical factors to drive impactful learning that develops leaders — and strengthens team relationships — at scale and in a relatively short period. This is one of many elements that make cohort-based learning a successful tool for workplace growth. Learn how to drive change through cohort-based leadership development by speaking with the Udemy Business team.