Cohort-Based Courses: Revolutionizing Online Education and Fostering Intellectual Exploration

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Aug 14, 2023

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Cohort-Based Courses: Revolutionizing Online Education and Fostering Intellectual Exploration

Introduction:

In the world of online education, the abundance of educational content has made it difficult for creators to stand out. Platforms like YouTube and social media offer a wealth of learning-related material, making content generation a losing battle. Additionally, traditional online courses, such as MOOCs, often struggle with low completion rates and lack of community engagement. However, a new approach called cohort-based courses (CBCs) has emerged as a game-changer in online education. This article explores the rise of CBCs, their benefits over traditional courses, and how they foster intellectual exploration and community building.

Content is No Longer King:

In the current landscape of online education, content is no longer the key differentiator. YouTube alone witnesses 500 million daily views of learning-related content, making it clear that educational material is cheap and easily accessible. MOOCs, with their recorded videos and defined syllabus programs, offer evergreen content, but their completion rates range from just 3 to 6 percent. This gap between the promise of online education and its actual results has led to the recognition that what is scarce in online learning is community.

The Importance of Community in Online Learning:

Research has shown that the presence of a community significantly improves learning outcomes. In cohort-based courses, students progress through the material together, forming cohorts that foster hands-on, feedback-based learning. This interactive approach not only increases accountability but also provides a network of peers to engage with, similar to the benefits of startup accelerators. This sense of community ensures higher completion rates and better engagement with the course material.

Monetizing Expertise and Building Community:

Traditional social platforms often create a division between monetization activities and community building. Creators struggle to make a living solely from advertising revenue, leading them to explore alternative means such as brand partnerships or low-margin merchandise. Cohort-based courses offer creators a productized offering that combines content with community building. By front-loading the effort in building the course, creators can leverage their time and effort while offering students a more immersive and engaging learning experience.

Philosophers' Approach to Intellectual Exploration:

Philosophers have long understood the importance of rigorous thinking and intellectual exploration. They engage in intellectual combat, making ideas fight with each other to uncover the truth. They understand that ideas change with the times and are influenced by the actions of others. By embracing intellectual grace and considering opposing viewpoints, philosophers can hold two conflicting ideas in mind and still function effectively. This approach is essential in the pursuit of truth and progress.

The Influence of Social Learning and Cultural Exposure:

Humanity's primary advantage over primates is our ability to engage in social learning. Exposure to ideas and cultural trends significantly influences our beliefs. However, popularity does not equate to correctness. Jumping to conclusions limits our ability to discover the truth, as the best options are not always the most advertised ones. Philosophers challenge the frames and premises of ideas, enabling them to uncover deeper truths beyond popular consensus.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace cohort-based courses: Consider enrolling in cohort-based courses to experience interactive learning, community engagement, and higher completion rates.
  • 2. Seek intellectual exploration: Adopt a philosopher's mindset by engaging in intellectual combat, considering opposing viewpoints, and challenging the premises of ideas to uncover deeper truths.
  • 3. Prioritize community building: Whether you're a content creator or a learner, focus on building a supportive community around your area of interest. Leverage cohort-based courses or other platforms to foster meaningful connections and enhance learning outcomes.

Conclusion:

As the landscape of online education continues to evolve, cohort-based courses are emerging as a powerful alternative to traditional online courses. By prioritizing community building, interactive learning, and intellectual exploration, CBCs offer a transformative learning experience. Creators can monetize their expertise while fostering a sense of belonging, and learners can engage in active, hands-on learning with the support of their peers. By embracing these new opportunities, we can redefine success in online education and unlock the full potential of intellectual growth and discovery.

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