Encouraging More Return Learners with Cohorts and Team Courses at PepsiCo


Before the pandemic, PepsiCo had a siloed supply chain. But COVID-19 created a crisis mindset — where suddenly, everyone was forced into communicating across departments. Although many aspects of the business have now returned to normal, this cross-collaborative cultural shift is something that PepsiCo was keen to continue. To do so, the company needed to address how to get people to discuss their challenges — and how to educate them in different ways.


Paul Kent, Senior Learning and Development Manager at PepsiCo, worked with Udemy Business’ leadership development platform CorpU, and PennState’s Smeal College of Business. Together they investigated the difference that cohort learning could make — and how they could maintain the same level of cross-business communication that grew over the pandemic.


By implementing cohort learning, PepsiCo found its people were more engaged. “The core learning has great value in what we’re trying to do to get people to learn together,” says Paul. “And we’ve extended the CorpU platform and put some of our own practices on top of that.”

Paul also wanted to see exactly how much of a difference cohort learning made to the organization compared to individual learning. He ran an experiment giving a group of individual learners and a cohort group identical tasks, with just one clear difference — the cohort had to meet regularly. 

The difference was stark. Just 9% of the individuals returned to the platform regularly, whereas 87% of the cohort became return learners.

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