What is Cohort-Based Learning?

Cohort-based learning is a collaborative learning style in which a group of individuals advances through a shared set of industry or interest-specific educational programs together.

Cohort learning models vary significantly based on content and the desired outcome of  each learning experience. One model might require students to attend weekly synchronous lectures and participate in group discussions with peers, while another might offer lectures and assignments independently, while meeting in person for community-building purposes.

Cohort-based programs provide opportunities for learner collaboration, support, structure, perspective, and networking. These community-building components are often absent in traditional remote learning experiences.


Our Cohort Learning model is built around the idea that students thrive when learning in community, and with the right amount of support. We believe that a supportive learning environment requires regular peer interaction, a strong mentor-student relationship, and the removal of barriers to access and success. 

Each program cohort is built around a community of practice; a gathering of students engaged in similar fields of study, with related but individualized educational and professional goals. Cohorts are typically limited to 10-12 students, ensuring personalized attention and community support. 

Each cohort depends on a dedicated facilitator to design a strong curriculum that includes group coursework and discussions, professional development seminars, social events and networking opportunities.

In addition to curriculum building, the facilitator plays the vital role of mentor, providing one-on-one guidance and administrative support, helping students enroll and register in classes, and access the wraparound support structure that ACE MV provides.


  • Collaboration– A cohort model of learning facilitates social interaction and community building, both of which are absent in fully remote platforms.
  • Support– Cohort learning connects the student to the support of their peers and to the cohort facilitator.  A range of potential needs can be addressed in this way, from help with assignments to help navigating evolving career goals.
  • Structure– Because students move through the cohort curriculum together, structure is provided through regular meetings, coursework and deadlines.
  • Perspective– Cohort learning  expands students’ perspectives. As  students engage with their cohort members, they’ll be exposed to new opinions, experiences, and ideas.
  • Networking– Our model is designed to expand students’ peer and professional network, introducing learners to potential employers and professional mentors in a supported and comfortable learning environment.


Cohort learning encourages students to expand their perspective as they master new material, transforming the classroom into a community of active knowledge-builders. As a result, the role of the instructor or mentor shifts from “information provider” to “facilitator,” and evaluating students’ learning progress becomes an integral part of this position.

Our cohort facilitators are experienced teachers and community leaders, with the ability to help guide students through coursework and career navigation. Many of our facilitators are affiliated with community colleges, which enables them to assist students in application, registration and financial aid processes. Facilitators are also knowledgeable as to industry-specific licensing and credentialing requirements, and are embedded in the Island’s community of practice and employment. 

Each cohort facilitator brings teaching and classroom experience as well as shared language and cultural competency into the cohort setting.