Cohort-based learning might not be an entirely new trend, but it is quickly emerging as one of the most popular ways for businesses to upgrade their learning and development strategies.
In any sales environment, investing in the constant development and growth of your employees is crucial to ensuring long-term success. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to access education in today’s world, from online programs to traditional courses.
Cohort-based learning offers unique benefits over many other development models, thanks to its high completion rates, low cost, and exceptional ability to drive team collaboration.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Cohort-based learning, or “cohort learning” is a community-focused educational strategy, in which a group of learners move through a series of courses, or a program together. It’s a fun and engaging approach to education, usually involving online and hybrid courses with collaborative elements.
Cohort-based learning delivers insights to a wide range of employees at the same time, all working towards the same goals and deadlines. Because everyone in your team is working on the same training content at the same time, they can share ideas and collaborate on issues as they work.
Like many forms of training, cohort-based learning can be delivered in a variety of ways. Some companies offer a mixture of asynchronous and synchronous learning experiences. For instance, teams might attend lectures at the same time, and complete readings or quizzes in their own time.
A community focused strategy for education, like cohort-based learning, can enhance the learning experience in a variety of different ways. Studies show that while traditional self-paced courses can suffer from completion rates as low as 3%, cohort based courses often earn a completion rate of more than 90%. Both individual employees and companies benefit from:
You might be wondering how cohort-based learning differs from traditional educational and coaching experiences in the modern world. One simple answer is that cohort-based learning is far more collaborative. Studies show that students are more engaged in their work when they’re also involved in peer interactions with other colleagues.
Cohort-based learning encourages team members to pool their resources, share their insights, and connect as they move through a course or program. This not only helps to improve adoption of learning programs, it can also boost company culture too.
Cohort-based learning is also particularly well-suited for distributed global teams, remote employees, and hybrid workers. It can help pull staff members from different environments together, by encouraging them all to work towards the same learning deadlines.
Most cohort-based learning courses also include some asynchronous aspects, so teams working in other parts of the world can still complete tasks at the time that makes sense for them.
Most importantly, compared to traditional learning, cohort-based learning is considered far more engaging and impactful. The socially collaborative nature of cohort-based learning helps capture and retain the attention of employees, helping them to develop technical skills faster, and hone their soft skills at the same time.
Some companies even use gamification tactics, like leaderboards, competitions, rewards, and badges, to help keep staff members motivated throughout the learning experience.
As companies and sales leaders search for new and improved ways to develop and engage their workforce, cohort-based learning is emerging as a popular solution. It can help organizations increase revenue by strengthening the skills of multiple sales employees at the same time.
Plus, because cohort-based learning strengthens relationships between employees, it can also have an impact on things like employee satisfaction and engagement rates, and talent turnover.
Of course, like any effective development strategy, cohort-based learning programs need to be implemented carefully to deliver the right results.
Most cohort-based learning programs leverage digital tools and e-learning technology, to ensure team members from all over the world can engage in the same courses. Notably, there are a huge number of platforms out there that promise to offer accessible, inexpensive courses tailored to your needs.
However, not every platform will be suitable for your business. When you’re looking for a solution for cohort-based learning, make sure you consider:
When implementing a new training or development strategy into your business, it’s important to have a clear view of what you want to accomplish. In other words, what are you going to be monitoring and measuring as employees progress through the course?
One obvious thing you’ll want to keep track of, is your employee’s proficiency with the skill or topic you’re training them on. You can track results on quizzes and assessments to get insights into how well your employees understand the learning content.
However, you might also want to monitor other things too, such as increased collaboration between team members, higher levels of engagement at work, or improved motivation. Some courses can even help to improve your employee’s confidence and self-esteem.
Once you’ve found a platform and established goals for your cohort-based learning strategy, the next step is figuring out the curriculum. In other words, what do you want to teach your team members? The best way to get started here is to assess the current strengths and weaknesses of your employees.
Are there any particular areas your employees seem to struggle with frequently, such as mapping the buyer journey, building rapport, or handling cold calls? If you’re not sure what kind of training will be best for your employees, consider asking for their input and feedback.
Remember, cohort-based learning works best when there are plenty of opportunities for team members to connect and collaborate. Ensure the topics you choose don’t require too much individual work. It’s also worth ensuring no course lasts too long. Cohort-based programs are often fast-paced with tight deadlines. You don’t want to put too much pressure on your employees, or risk losing their interest with a lengthy course.
Finally, it’s important to understand the value of facilitation when implementing a cohort-based learning strategy. Ensuring your team members actually take part and gain something from their courses requires more than just giving them access to the right software.
Make sure you set aside time to show your employees how the platform you’re going to be using works, and how their progress will be monitored. Ensure they understand how to collaborate with their team members on projects, and set regular meetings so people can discuss topics.
It’s also worth having someone in your team on-hand to answer any questions your employees might have as they progress through the course. This dedicated facilitator can help with everything from technical issues, to reminding employees of deadlines as they approach.
Embracing cohort-based learning can be an excellent way for business leaders to invest in the development and growth of their teams. With the right cohort-based learning strategy, you can infuse your employees with new soft and hard skills at the same time.
Plus, the right program can have a huge impact on your wider company culture too, helping to pave the way for better collaboration and communication in the years to come.
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