How Cohorts is the next big thing in Edtech

In Online Ed Content is no longer king, Cohorts are – reads an article by a16z; one of the top global VCs.

Indian EdTech has been flooded by recorded online courses. Hundreds if not thousands of EdTech startups have leveraged MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) to help Indian learners get access to low-cost online learning.

We have already witnessed the rise of large course marketplaces raising millions of dollars, but suffering through similar bottlenecks as that of global players. Lack of Completion Rates, Personalization, Outcomes, Credibility, Practicality, Accessibility

Surprisingly, only 3% of learners complete the courses they enroll for. This is itself linked with a lack of Personalisation & Outcomes.

All learners learn, perceive, and grasp things differently. We even have different preferences with the format of the content we consume.

Learning as a process further requires interventions, something most students have experienced already in the form of doubt clearing classes, tests, homework & feedback reports.

Most online courses don’t take this into account and tend to offer the same solution to everyone without any personalized interventions.

Moreover, a lack of social engagement in online courses results in a drastic drop in motivation levels as a student progresses through the course.

Most Edtech start-ups tend to forget that learning is not just a mental experience, but also an emotional one – a side that’s often neglected.

Another major drawback happens to be the lack of outcomes. Some surveys suggest that only 10% of learners see any professional progress post successful completion of these online courses.

Adding up the numbers – implies that out of every 1000 students who buy a course, only 3 witnesses a positive outcome.
Lack of credibility & practicality further adds to the cause. The majority of the instructors have negligible pedigree or experience.
Furthermore, most of these certifications aren’t recognized/accredited or backed by a top government or academic institution.
The certifications themselves are easy to collect aided by a few google searches by the learner to get their final MCQ tests right.
While these Cohorts courses tend to ‘show’ the learner how a particular skill is performed, most of them don’t make the learner perform the skill themselves, falling short in ensuring real skill development.
Here too, lack of supervision or live presence of a mentor/teacher result in a lack of real-time feedback – a major contributing factor to a learner’s growth; eventually reducing the weight of such certifications on a learner’s CV.
Humans almost always learn in groups, if you look at how they do it. An apprentice observes the master practice the finesse of their trade. In a group discussion, several viewpoints on an issue are examined.
Basketball teams are made up of athletes that push one other to their physical and mental limits. Even with solitary abilities like writing, getting together in writing groups to provide feedback to one another is an essential component of development – and that’s what Cohorts are about.
Mentors provide learning & guidance to a small community of learners learning, practicing, and holding discussions together in a structured format. They usually look like live mentorship experiences driven by the community, curated content, live mentorship & learning by doing methodology.
Cohorts aren’t exactly new in some ways. From elementary school to graduate school, we learned alongside our peers, in real-time, with the guidance of a teacher, and now imagine learning your choice of skill from someone who has been there and done that, along with similar peers, backed up with live feedback & gamified tasks.
However, until recently, Cohorts this educational format was difficult to deliver online. Zoom’s popularity, fuelled by ever-expanding high-speed Internet access, made large group video conferencing frictionless and reliable for the first time.
Cohorts can now meet from dozens of countries at any time, focus on niche topics, learn from mentors who have the right brands, and adapt the curriculum on the fly.
Imagine learning sales from someone heading sales for Amazon – Live with personalized attention. Cohorts have made it possible.
However, most of these cohorts are priced between INR 50000 to INR 500000, driving them far from what Indian students can afford.
This has been a major factor that has kept such high-quality experiences out of reach for most Indians.
Cohort Courses are efficient and productive, allowing everyone to learn and gain as much knowledge as possible.
Cohort, an environment similar to school or college, will assist everyone in achieving their goals and will provide a fresh perspective on the educational system.
The authored article is written by Shawrya Mehrotra, Founder & CEO, Metvy and shared with Prittle Prattle News exclusively.
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