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The Definitive Guide to Cohort Based Courses

Cohort-based courses happened as a consequence of psychologists and educationists trying to understand how people best learn. One aspect of learning that...

Written by Atika Qasim · 4 min read >
cohort-based courses online | teach

Cohort-based courses happened as a consequence of psychologists and educationists trying to understand how people best learn. One aspect of learning that stuck out the most was: community. Who we learn with and who we learn from can make all the difference in deciding how course impacts our personal and professional growth.

What is a cohort-based course?

And so, these types of live courses are specially designed to cater to a select number of students with a focus on the topic/skill to be provided. If we come to cohorts definition, historically, cohorts have been used to describe military units, survey groups. And while students don’t go to war in a cohort-based environment, they definitely are posed with challenges and have to achieve similar objectives.

What is the background of cohort-based courses?

cohort based courses meaning

Online education, much like traditional education, has evolved other the years. Innovation in online learning has gone from releasing preparatory reading material to self-paced, recorded video learning (which still is a much followed option) and now arrived at cohort-based courses.

Innovation usually comes about in the absence of a solution, and the solution cohort-based courses have lately been providing is that of communal, two-way learning. Courses like these have proven instrumental in shifting the physical classroom to an online space, where students start studying a topic together, have the same goals and objectives set out for them, and end up with similar learning outcomes at the end of the course.

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Cohort-based courses focus a lot on togetherness, community, collective enlightenment of the students (even of the teachers), which you won’t find in self-paced, video courses. Self-paced courses have their own merits, but collaboration is not one of them.

Cohort-based courses are the future of online learning, according to Gagan Bayani, co-founder Udemy, a $3 billion dollar valued self-paced learning marketplace for thousands of teachers and students. He is currently working on a cohort-based course platform along with Wes Kao, Founder AltMBA.

Why are cohort-based courses popular?

Apart from Gagan Bayani and Wes Kao showing a considerable amount of interest in the togetherness model that cohort-based courses provide, there are several reasons as to why these types of courses have gained a positive badge for themselves.

Cohorts represent value and quality. Along with a community of learners, you as a student can feel like you are part of a team, a family. They provide you with support, if you don’t get a concept. You can ask questions. Be part of teamwork. In other learning spheres, not so much.

Gagan Bayani has as of recent expressed that as compared to cohort-based courses, self-paced courses are more similar to buying a book than buying a course. And what do we do with books? We read two pages mostly, and we set them aside. We’re nearly not as committed to it, and sometimes end up abandoning, completely. So in the realm of online education, live cohort-based courses are a breath of fresh air for a lot of us.

What are the benefits of cohort-based courses?

cohort based courses benefits

1. Interactive lectures

Having present learners in a course can be of immense help. They can assist in preparing assignments, cover up any of the missed material, and just generally provide a bunch of moral support. Other times, learners also provide for healthy competition (remember that one student who always kept you on your toes). They can shake things up and make your lectures exciting.

Furthermore, face-to-face/live classes can make skill sharing much easier. With cohort-based courses, you don’t feel like you are recording and sending out knowledge into a void. Rather, live interaction can directly have an impact on your teaching and keep you posted on what students want from you. Effective feedback is always helpful for improving your performance. It also keeps your spirits up. 🔥

2. High value

Cohort-based courses are live and teachers are present to guide students first-hand. Which is why they tend to be listed at a higher value compared to self-paced, recorded courses. While preparing for classes can be exhausting, they also provide more impact as opposed to self-paced classes. Teachers can receive feedback, tweak course learnings and so much more after interacting with students.

With teachers readily available to guide, students are also more flexible with paying a good amount. Moreover, cohort-based courses also present a perfectly great excuse to avoid extremely expensive, physical learning, and in this case end up being the cheaper learning option around.

✨ Check this out: Benefits of Moving Your Offline Courses Online

3. Time-effective

Course creators & teachers can easily create and manage timetables for their courses. As online courses tend to be brief, you do not have to invest hours in just one class. Spanning over just a couple of weeks, teachers are also careful about time utilization and what content to prioritize in their courses.

For a shorter duration, students also get a well-rounded learning experience. They don’t have to spend years to obtain a diploma. Rather, they get to learn essentials in a shorter time-frame. Focused, skill-learning at its best. Out of the course and into a new profession waiting to be discovered!

4. Structured modules

Cohort courses follow a structured pattern. In these, teachers can create individual lesson plans for each class and follow them. This allows them to stay on track with course curriculum. There is lesser room to get carried away.

Similarly, as a student, if you miss a lecture, you can pick right up from the next class. Make up for the missed lecture with class recordings like we do at Airschool.

5. Community

Hands down one of the best features of online cohort programs is the cohort itself. You embark on a journey with this community to achieve similar outcomes. Since eligibility requirements like age, country, profession are barely present upon admission, a diverse cohort of students can form. This provides not just you but anyone to make friends from different places.

Their culture, language, identities make for an interesting feature that wasn’t previously present in physical courses. This makes cohort-based courses a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural space where a lot can be learnt and positive experiences can be exchanged.

👀 Read: How to determine course market fit for your digital course

Who will be the major beneficiary of cohort-based courses?

cohort based courses online

Cohorts are very beneficial, here’s how:

Teachers across the world can take advantage of cohort-based courses. Even if they don’t have a large online base and have functioned offline, previously, they can work on growing their community. If they prove capable and are well-liked, the cohorts they announce can be attended by hundreds.

The past decade or so has also given us content creators, community managers, and influencers. Each of them come with their own niche. We follow them, engage with their content but most times they work more than an average 9-5 day job and don’t earn as much as they deserve. So what else can they do?

Digital content creators can benefit from creating cohort-based courses. Effectively, they can become course creators. In these courses, these experienced individuals can share their knowledge. How they made vlogs, how they wrote scripts for their comedy videos on YouTube. All these can become part of their curriculum, then they can ask their superfans to buy & support them. Now what? Now they don’t need to wait around for sponsorships and ad placements.

Furthermore, students around the world don’t have to travel far off or even leave home to learn the skills they want. They can learn from teachers of their choosing, but also not have to compromise on the value of education they are receiving by attending focused, live courses that keep them engaged, and prepare them for a successful future.

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Airschool provides plenty of support & tools for cohort-based courses. ✅


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