"the fourth wave of online education...: “Cohort-Based Courses,” ... the first to tap into the essential nature of the Internet: that it is open-ended and interactive."
Takes you through the first 3 waves:
- MOOCs, from 2008: overcame the “How to get content online,” problem "by converting traditional course materials into digital form and delivering them over the Internet" - but low completion
- Marketplaces, forming from 2010: solved the question: “How can we make money with online courses?”, but they took too much from the instructors: margins, price control, student relationships...
- Toolkits: rented infrastructure to instructors - but demanded a lot from instructors.
Also, "self-paced courses demanded ... too much time, too much energy, and too much dedication" of learners.
Enter phase 4: cohorts: "a group of learners who join an online course together and then move through it at the same pace... much of the learning happens peer-to-peer". Some use “flipped classrooms... pre-recorded content is consumed on students’ own time, and the live classroom is for... real time coaching, interacting, asking questions, and sharing breakthroughs."
What makes them different?
- Unlike MOOC communities, cohorts are "a pressure cooker for friendships", so the community aspect works better.
- The same "social accountability and support found in traditional schools: guidance counselors, study groups, teaching assistants, face-to-face class meetings, student portfolios, and final projects... support students... create a culture of high expectations... True accountability comes from being in relationships... formed through direct, meaningful interactions [which happens] under challenging circumstances, with everyone [facing] a shared goal. "
- "live interaction ... only possible via video calls" - good overview of the possibilities live video offers coupled with online tools (polls, emojis, whiteboards): "resembles a video game or a virtual world as much as it does a university classroom."
- impact: CBCs are ideal for "transformational learning... only happens deep inside communities of practice". This is not a frictionless convenience - "online learners are looking for a rite of passage"