Online learning often brings to mind a single student sitting alone in front of a computer, headphones in, mind wandering, and no interaction with anyone else.

HBX is different. The learning platform is specifically designed to mimic the benefits of learning in a classroom, where concepts are debated, discussed, and challenged by peers. Teaching elements in each class are designed to encourage engagement and discussion through the use of cold calls, polls, discussion questions, and a variety of others. Every cohort has its own Facebook group, where people can make connections outside of the course platform.

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Even after courses finish, many HBX participants continue to stay in touch and interact with the HBX network. Whether it’s sharing certificate selfies, exchanging business expertise, or sharing job posts, the HBX community stays active long after the final exam.

With more than 28,000 students from more than 130 countries completing at least one course, the HBX network is truly global.  For CORe participant Kori Crockett, the global network was inspiring.

“One of the things I really liked about HBX is the interactive map on the platform that allows you to see who else in the world is studying with you at that moment,” she says. “Seeing classmates in my time zone working through course material at the same time as me was motivating, while seeing peers logged on halfway around the world inspired a true sense of community.”

HBX also introduced her to one of her closest friends, who and they went on to attend graduate school together at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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“We kept seeing each other on the platform, connected on Facebook and found out we were going to be enrolled in the same degree program at the Harvard Ed School,” she says. “On the first day of orientation, we randomly sat at the same table and said, ‘You look familiar!’ We made it a point to stop by Cardullo’s in Harvard Square for a photo op in honor of Financial Accounting, and the rest is history.”

HBX also offers students the opportunity to connect outside of the course platforms, too.  Every spring, HBX hosts ConneXt, a day of learning and networking with fellow HBX students. This year, ConneXt Live was entirely virtual, a full day of online programming intended to engage and inspire the HBX community around the world. The event included seven live sessions where past and current participants could engage with faculty and each other, four in our HBX Live studio and three in our Facebook Live studio, which garnered more than 53,000 views from people tuning in around the world.

Additionally, HBX recently debuted HBX Community, consisting of local chapters around the world where participants can join to meet up with fellow participants in their location, ensuring that the HBX connection exists both online and off-line. During the weekend of ConneXt Live, these chapters hosted 25 events around the globe, ranging from dinner to networking sessions to streaming the online sessions. More events are scheduled in the future, and you can sign up here to get involved and learn more what's happening in your local city!Istanbul Meet-Up; width: 100px; align: right;

In addition to active and case-based, social learning is a core tenet of HBX. At Harvard Business School, students are actively encouraged to interact with, learn from, and debate their peers. HBX has taken that essential business education teaching element and replicated it virtually, connecting students around the world in a virtual classroom.

To learn more about other unique elements of HBX, check out our blogs about cold callshigh quality video, and diverse teaching elements!

Natalie Chladek

About the Author

Natalie is an Associate Product Manager at Harvard Business School Online working on Leading with Finance, Negotiation Mastery, and Sustainable Business Strategy. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and M.B.A. from UCLA Anderson. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, and staying up too late rooting for her Bay Area sports teams.