“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” — Henry Ford
💎 Why It Matters
Transformative education occurs when students feel valued, acknowledged and included in a community of like-minded learners.
Self-paced courses require self–discipline and dedication.
Cohort-based courses give you a sense of community.Support and accountability improve student outcomes.
- District 3 • Validate ideas and business models
- Ship 30 for 30 • Fundamentals of writing
- altMBA • Become an effective leader
- Brand The Change Academy • Develop and test your brand strategy
- Practical Data Science • Data science and machine learning
- Ultraspeaking • Become an effective communicator
- No-Code Accelerator • Build and launch a no-code product
- Peltarion AI Accelerator • Build an AI-powered product MVP
- Author Incubator • Write and publish a book
- Thinking in Stories • Transform your ideas in stories
- Sensemaking 101 • Develop situational awareness
- Stand The F*ck Out • Stand out in crowded markets
- Teachfloor • Create and sell online live courses
- Eduflow • Design and build social courses
- Virtually • Create and automate live online courses
- Disco • Learning platform for virtual classes and bootcamps
- Clickto • Create and manage cohort-based courses and communities
- EducateMe • Cohort-based learning platform
- Airtribe • Build and manage live, community-driven online courses
- Superpeer • Video platform to engage with your students
- Rosie Sherry • Build your online community with Minimum Viable Community
- Kevon Cheung • Build in public with Build in Public Mastery
- Gbenga Adebiyi • Scale freelance business with Scale Up
- Laura Evans-Hill • Create compelling visual stories with Pencil Pirates
- Michael McGill • Implement stoicism in your life with Practical Stoicism
- David Elikwu • Career development with Career Hyperdrive
- Rockwell Shah • Invest into Bitcoin with Bitcoin Masterclass
- Zoe Robinson • Build prototypes in Figma with Prototyping with Figma
- Cam Houser • Record professional videos with Minimum Viable Video
- Companies will use cohort-based courses to train employees. You’ll learn from others via mentorship, conversation and collaborative work. Gaining tacit knowledge.
- Nomadic • Teaches managers how to become effective team leaders.
- Networking for Attorneys • Diane Darling teaches lawyers how to network effectively.
- Rapid Product Mastery Experience • Chad McAllister teaches product managers how to do proper product development.
- More cohort-based courses will flow into lifetime membership communities after completion. You’ll get continuous support from a network of like-minded people.
- 34 Elements gives access to a community of startup founders.
- OnDeck gives access to various networks of tech professionals.
- Product School promotes you to an alumni community after graduation.
- Transcend Fellowship gives access to a global community of startup founders.
- Reforge gives access to a community of peers dealing with the same problems.
- Blended courses will deliver the best learning experience. Combining cohorts and self-paced learning. This highlights flexibility and group support.
- PBL Design complements live lessons with self-study materials.
- Love Circular complements self-paced tutorials with live sessions.
- Behaviour Change offers self-paced exercises and live workshops.
- Digital Rights Learning Experience has both live and self-study course materials.
- Candle Digital designs blended courses with a mix of live and self-study lessons.
- Mastering Product Management offers both cohort and on-demand learning experience.
- Community Design Accelerator lets you move at your own pace or participate in live sessions.
- Hyper-niche cohort-based courses will emerge. Instructors will stand out by teaching long-tail topics.
- Backlink Building • Chris Tweten teaches how to build backlinks at scale.
- Twitter for Founders • Brett Goldstein teaches Twitter marketing for startups.
- Google Earth Engine for Water Resource Management • Ujaval Gandhi teaches water resource management professionals how to build apps with Google Earth.
- More professionals will use cohorts to pass professional exams. Getting support and guidance around complex topics.
- Qpractice helps interior designers pass NCIDQ exams.
- IAAP Academy offers IAAP-certified leadership courses.
- Benext offers courses in human resources with HRCI-approved certificates.
- 280Group offers AIPMM-compliant product management and marketing courses.
- Simplilearn offers courses in scrum, project management, IT infrastructure, cyber security, information system audit and more.
- Start small. Build a mini-course and offer beta access. Take an iterative approach to save time and energy.
- Ahmed Siddiqui is testing The Anatomy of Swipe.
- Brooke Write is beta-testing a cohort-based course on finding your niche.
- Fabian Szulanski plans to start small and get feedback on his upcoming course.
- Promise clear results. Tell what students will achieve by the end of the course.
- Bosspod Academy • Launch your own podcast.
- Idea to MVP • Build and launch your product MVP.
- Python to Projects • Build your own python project.
- Solidity Learning Path • Build two projects in Solidity.
- Dream Studio Course • Build your video studio setup.
- Build Your Squad • Find 100 early adopters in 30 days.
- Frugal MVP • Build a landing page or mobile app with no-code.
- Apps Without Code • Turn your idea into a no-code mobile app.
- Airtribe Launchpad • Design and launch your cohort-based course.
- 9x Automation Bootcamp • Build your own custom automation tool.
- Accelerated Fat Loss Challenge • Lose 11-15+ lbs of pure body fat.
- Nas Academy • Write 3 video scripts, film 1 commercial video, create 1 NFT project pitch and more.
- Presell to validate demand. This will help you save time, money and energy.
- Laura Evans-Hill presold Pencil Pirates for $21,000.
- Paula Pant presold Your First Rental Property for $140,000 before launch.
- Dave Beck plans to test demand before launching a cohort-based version of Train Your Intuition.
- Build in public to gauge interest, build trust, increase awareness and lower customer acquisition costs.
- Laura Evans-Hill shares her journey building Pencil Pirates.
- Norman Tran shared his roadmap for Relating Between the Lines.
- Kevon Cheung says he asked for opinions and crowdsourced ideas for Build in Public Mastery.
- Offer recordings. Frontrun objections due to busy student schedules.
- On Brand offers 12-months access to session recordings.
- HelloPM offers immediate access to recorded live lessons.
- System Design Masterclass offers recorded lessons from the last cohort.
- Add value with certificates. These signal knowledge and proof of work. You get free promotion when students share their credentials. This is low-hanging fruit.
- Insurjo teaches product management with certificates of completion.
- Juno College offers certificates for tech bootcamps and letters of completion for part-time courses.
- The Professional Certificate in Product Management: Women’s Cohort offers a verified certificate of completion.
- Format Risk • Cohort-based courses are expensive and hard to scale.
- Platform Risk • You are subject to events out of your control. Classcamp was a platform for cohort-based courses. It proved not to be viable and shut down.
- Reputation Risk • Poorly designed courses lead to false expectations, underdelivery and loss of trust.
🔑 Key Lessons
- Building an audience lowers the cost of acquisition. Cam Houser says free workshops are great for building in public.
- Cohort-based courses are great for learning soft skills. Recent research proves that group work leads to effective soft skill development.
- Cohort-based courses sacrifice scalability for interactivity.
🔥 Hot Takes
- Top performers can excel with self-paced or cohort-based instruction. As Issac Assimov says, “Self-education is the only kind of education there is.”
- Peer interactions are more important than star instructors.
- Courses that heavily depend on student interaction should vet students to make sure that they have similar levels of need and experience. Co.Lab matches you with other learners based on teamwork styles, experiences and interests.
“Cohort-based courses are expensive.”
There’s no free lunch. Additional value comes at a cost. Since money was invested, this also stops you from giving up.
“Cohort-based courses are not flexible.”
It can be hard to juggle cohort-based courses and other commitments. Choose self-paced courses if you prefer flexibility over interactivity. Some cohort-based courses offer lecture hours to choose from.
“Managing large student groups is demanding.”
Poor group management skills will spoil student experience. Try teaching small cohorts first. You can revert to a self-paced course later.
“This model has scaling problems. You can’t help lots of people at once.”
Cohorts are limited to the number of participants per call, room or platform. Self-paced courses are a better option if you prioritize wider reach over personalized teaching.
“Cohort-based courses require self-discipline and dedication too.”
Sure. It’s a matter of independent vs group learning. Which one do you prefer?
“Self-paced courses can offer asynchronous feedback.”
Self-paced courses can have discussion boards. Though they can’t replace the interactive and immersive experience of belonging to a dedicated student group.
- The Essential Guide on How to Create Cohort-Based Courses • A comprehensive guide on how to create cohort-based courses.
- How to Gamify an Online Course with Octalysis • Yukai Chou talks about how to gamify your online course with Octalysis gamification framework.
- The Future of Online Learning • Gagan Biyani talks about how to build and operate cohort-based courses.
📁 Related Reports
- Online Courses • Self-paced and flexible online education.
- Education Platforms • Tools that help you build, sell, grow and operate online courses.
- No-Code • No-Code tools help you build your course platform.
- Personal Brands • Personal branding powers the success of star instructors.
- Paid Communities • Cohorts and alumni networks are paid communities at their core.
Thanks to Jordan Divecha, Yolanda Stephens, Soma Mandal, Jose Quesada, Roald Larsen, Amardeep Parmar, Darren Travel, Stephanie H and Sean Hua. We had a great time jamming on this report.
✏️ Emin researched and wrote this report. Dru researched and edited this report.
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