:Marketing / Marketing best practices

Here’s what to know about cohort based-courses if they’re new for you

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Creating online courses comes with the flexibility of teaching when and how you want, and allows you to be in control to build your business. Plus it allows your students to learn how and when they want. But there are some benefits to creating a learning environment that’s more structured for your students.

That’s exactly what cohort-based courses can create for your students. By creating a cohort-based course or by converting your existing course into a CBC you can make your course exclusive and help foster community among students.

What is a cohort-based course?

A cohort-based course is a scheduled, structured course that delivers course materials to a set group of students all at the same time. Think of a traditional school course where you and your fellow students go to class together and all learn the same material on the same day. That would be considered a cohort-based course. It’s different from a self-paced course where students are given all of the course materials at once to go through on their own schedule. 

5 cohort-based course facts

If you’ve never heard of cohort-based courses, or CBCs before, we’re going to walk you through the five cohort-based course facts to know when getting started.

1. They’re ideal for creating community.

Cohort-based course fact number one is that they are a great way to foster community among your students. They’ll all be starting the course at the same time and completing the same lessons at the same time too. You could assign working groups or group discussion topics for students to post in as assignments each week. Plus, you can market the community as added value for your course.

You wouldn’t be able to do this with a course that wasn’t cohort-based because you wouldn’t have the shared experiences of your students to build off of. This is a unique advantage the CBC structure offers and it can help your students get even more out of the course too. Plus, maybe they’ll make friends they can continue relationships with.

2. They have a higher completion rate for students than self-paced courses.

It might come as a surprise to you but cohort-based courses have a higher completion rate than self-paced ones. When your students have structured courses with a set schedule, they’re more likely to stick with it all the way through.

Teachable creator Tiago Forte notes that some of the top CBCs have completion rates between 70 and 90 percent. That’s incredibly high compared to some estimates of self-paced course completion rates.

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3. Cohort-based courses allow you control over course size and timeline.

You can completely control the course size and the timeline of your course if you structure it as a CBC. This gives you the control to decide how many students you want at one time. So if you want to keep it small so you can offer coaching to each student, you can. If you want it to be a certain number so you can assign group work among students, you can.

Make your course exactly how you want and create a timeline for your students to all experience at once. If you want the course to run and lead up to a certain event or time of the year, you have the control to do that too.

4. They help give students the extra push to sign up.

Giving your potential students a specific time when they have to sign up can help them make the decision to take the plunge and enroll. Creating this deadline means they can’t continue to put off signing up for a course. Plus, if they miss this round of the course, they don’t know when they might be able to sign up again. 

5. You can offer coaching in groups or assign group projects.

While you can obviously offer coaching for non-CBCs, it has to be done as an add-on for your students and they could all be at different times of their journey through your course. When you offer coaching as part of a CBC, then you can offer your coaching in groups or one on one while being sure where your students are in the course curriculum. You can also easily assign group projects to have all of your students work together on group projects.

Is a cohort-based course right for you?

Now knowing these cohort-based course facts, you should be able to decide whether a cohort-based course is right for you and your students. Consider these five facts when choosing whether to make your course self-paced or not. Do you want your students to learn at the same rate? Do you want to assign projects or quizzes for everyone at once? These are all things to consider when choosing whether to create a self-paced course or a CBC.

Author: Nina Godlewski, Nina is a Content Marketing Strategist at Teachable. She has a passion for taking complex topics and making them accessible for any reader. Previously she's written for Lending Tree, Fundera, Newsweek, and Business Insider.