What Is a Cohort Program

What Is a Cohort Program

What is a cohort program? The birth of the cohort program came as educators and psychologists began to better understand how people learn. One of the key factors in learning is the impact of community—the people whom we learn with and from. Based on the importance of community in education, the cohort program came into being.

The Basis of a Cohort Program
To understand what is a cohort program, it’s important to answer, “what is a cohort?”  The dictionary definition of cohort is “a group of people banded together or treated as a group.” That is a perfect way to define the “cohort program” in its educational context. A cohort program is “a group of people banded together or treated as a group” in a degree program or course of study. A simple way to view a cohort program is as a group of classmates.

The Benefits of a Cohort Program
Cohort programs have a wide array of benefits. After all, cohort programs were developed in response to some basic facts about human nature and learning—i.e. people learn better in groups. Thus, the underlying benefit of a cohort program is the fact that people learn better as they study as part of a group—a cohort. Cohort programs provide an active, interactive, and dynamic setting for students to grow their knowledge and skills. Rather than the professor-teaching-student model of traditional learning, cohort programs bring students together to build community, foster creativity, build leadership skills, and encourage greater progress.

The Progress of the Cohort Model
The typical university offers hundreds or thousands of different classes, all of which are attended by hundreds or thousands of different students, each of whom are in any one of hundreds or thousands of different majors or degree programs, all of whom are attending these different classes in their different majors at different times and for different purposes. It gets complicated, and it’s absurd to think that any two students would follow exactly the same schedule of classes—attending every single class at the same time and place as another student—especially for the duration of their degree program. However, the cohort model argues that this is a more beneficial form of learning—the togetherness model. As students study together, they develop relationships—a form of learning, which transcends course material, and morphs into life skill training. In this way, cohort programs more accurately train students in on-the-job skills. Now, even online education is tilting toward the cohort program model.

What is a cohort program? It’s far from perfect, but it’s another educational step forward in training students to function more effectively in their communities, families, and workplaces.

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  1. Barbra Breslauer says:

    Webster University St. Petersburg is considering starting a cohort program. Any information and/or advise you could provide would greatly be appreciated.
    Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
    Barbra Breslauer

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