A man smiling & working on the laptop for his online course

Cohort-based courses can be an engaging delivery method to provide an impactful learning experience to your students. They can also be an opportunity for you to level up your online knowledge business.

However, creating a successful cohort-based course requires careful planning and execution, and might be a tad overwhelming.

That’s where we come in. In this article, we'll take you through the essential steps to creating a compelling and effective cohort-based online course.

Let’s get started.

Cohort Based vs Self Paced online courses

There are two main types of online courses: cohort-based and self-paced.

Cohort-based courses are structured courses, with a fixed schedule and a group of students working through the course together. Self-paced courses, on the other hand, allow your students to work through the material at their own speed, without the constraints of a schedule or a group.

Cohort-based courses provide a structured learning experience with a fixed start and end date, and a set schedule of lectures, assignments, and assessments.

In contrast, self-paced courses are designed for students who prefer a more flexible approach to learning. These courses allow students to start and finish at their own pace, with no set schedule or deadlines to meet.

Another key difference between cohort-based and self-paced courses is the level of collaboration they offer. Cohort based classes typically have a high level of collaboration between students. They work together to complete assignments and provide feedback to each other.

Self-paced courses on the other hand are generally more solo affairs, with little to no interaction between students. While this independence can be appealing to some students, it can also be a disadvantage for those who thrive on social interaction.

the difference between cohort-based courses and self-paced courses

How to Create Cohort-Based Online Courses?

#1. Determine your goal

A cohort course is not just about imparting knowledge but also about creating an engaging and supportive learning community. That’s why setting clear learning goals will help you design a course that’s impactful and addresses your students’ persisting challenges.

Think about

  • What do you want your students to achieve by the end of the course?
  • Are you aiming to teach a specific skill or provide knowledge on a particular topic?
  • Or are you helping your students develop a new mindset?

Defining your learning goals will guide you in designing the course curriculum, selecting the right content, and creating assessments to measure the students' progress.

Ensure that your learning goals align with their interests and motivations. This will make your course both relevant and appealing, and increase engagement and retention.

#2. Design the curriculum

A creator designing the course curriculum on desktop

To design your curriculum, start by outlining your course structure.

  • How many weeks or modules your course will have?
  • What topics will you need to cover to achieve the course goals?
  • How will you assess your students to check if they are reaching their learning outcomes?

For example, if you're teaching a technical skill, you may want to have a more structured curriculum with clear learning objectives and milestones. On the other hand, if you're teaching a creative subject, you may want to have a more flexible curriculum that allows for exploration and experimentation.

Once you create an online course structure, you can start designing the content for each module or week.

Make your content engaging, informative, and relevant.

Use a mix of media such as:

  • Videos - to explain a complex topic
  • Readings - for self-learning
  • Quizzes - To check their conceptual understanding in a non-intimidating way
  • Assignments - To see how closer are your students to achieving their learning objectives.

Lastly, an important aspect of curriculum design is sequencing. Ensure that the content builds upon each other so that your students have the necessary knowledge to move on to the next module.

#3. Create provision for feedback

A major reason why cohort-based courses are popular is they provide the necessary feedback that self-paced courses lack.

But how can you ensure that you are providing valuable feedback to their students?

One approach is to offer various channels for feedback.

  • One-on-one chats
  • Group discussions
  • Peer reviews

are great ways of ensuring your learners receive constructive feedback that enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

Please note that your feedback should not necessarily be a criticism of your students’ work by pointing out errors or mistakes.

Instead, focus on providing actionable steps and specific feedback that encourages students to improve their skills and knowledge.

#4. Plan for contingency

A course creator facing issues while delivering the online course to students.

Planning for contingencies is essential in any endeavor, and a cohort-based course is no exception. Unlike a self-paced course, which requires little to no management or maintenance, a cohort-based course will need you to be aware of everything that may not go according to plan and take proactive steps.

For example, what happens if one of your live sessions experiences technical difficulties, and you're unable to continue as planned? Or what if a significant number of students are unable to attend a session due to unforeseen circumstances?

One way to plan for contingencies is to have a backup plan for your live sessions. You could record each session and make it available to students who were unable to attend live.

Or, if technical difficulties arise, have a pre-recorded backup session that you can use to fill the gap.

However, remember that the best-laid plans can still encounter unforeseen obstacles. Be ready and adjust your plans to keep your course on track.

Next Step - Launch your course

It’s now the time to launch your course on an efficient cohort-based course platform. Take the time to research and compare different platforms, considering factors such as ease of use, features, and pricing.

One such platform is Miho. Miho is an all-in-one platform that provides you with a host of customization options, integrated payment processing, and analytics to track student progress.

Additionally, With features like a drag-and-drop website builder, built-in marketing tools, and secure payment processing, Miho provides everything you need to get your course up and running quickly.

Sign up today and get a 14 day free trial.