What are Cohort-based courses?

Learning online effectively is a systematic effort. Just consuming educational content alone is no longer a differentiator. Cohort-based courses deliver on key parameters of learning.


The pandemic era has multiplied our time spent on online learning. However, a common scenario is that most of us struggle with learning and unlearning that comes with it. Often, you will see confused learners without any visible changes in their confidence even after taking online courses of repute. Why does this happen? Today, the problem for a learner is not the lack of educational content but imbibing what he has learned. However, it seems like this will no longer be a problem as cohort-based courses are making headway. These courses promise that online education can be interactive, energizing, peer-based, and much more than what they usually are.

What are Cohort-based courses (CBC)?

Cohort, as the word suggests, is learning as a carefully chosen group. The group mirrors a group-based class conducted offline. In CBC, learners are divided into groups who interact and cover the learning journey together.

Current methods of online learning

While we are at it, there are two main methods of online learning. They are:

  1. Self-paced Learning: Self-paced learning is the way most courses online are structured. In this method, a learner is going through the course solo with the advantage of flexibility. Also referred to as Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC)
  2. Cohort-based Learning: In this method, online learning is undertaken by a group in a hands-on manner.

Problem with Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC)

Some common issues with MOOCs have come to the forefront in this pandemic. Too many people drop out, instructors generally give content, and there is not much personal attention. Also, learners often are not motivated enough to go through the marathon and find it boring.

How CBC is a solution to the problems in MOOC

There are some common problems encountered in the bulk of the online-based learning programs. Let us discuss some of these solved by Cohort-based courses:

  1. Motivation: While in physical schools, dropouts are an exception, in online learning, it is common for learners to drop out of the courses. Only a fraction of enrolled candidates complete their courses online. It happens due to a lack of motivation. Intelligently designed cohorts come into play here as with group learning, the motivation to learn and complete the course increases manifold.
  2. Imbibing & Quality of learning: Since you will be part of a group and how much you are learning alongside others will continue to give you a reality check. You will be inspired to write down things you are learning from a video because these are to be discussed with real human beings. Basically, instead of an impersonal scorecard, you will be responding to human beings, which will put some much-needed pressure to match your learning with that of others.
  3. Networking & Community: One of the reasons many studies in a school or a college is to build a life-long friendship with other people who can support you along the way. This networking is completely missing from many of the online learning programs. In cohort-based learning, you can form such a group. Likely, you will even end up meeting some of them in real life as you go along.
  4. Evaluation: If you are good at something, you should know by benchmarking yourself against others in a community of similar interest. For example, there is no way to know everything about English. However, if you find yourself scoring better than your group members, it is probably a reliable benchmark. Conversely, if you are scoring much lower than others, you know you will need to improve, and it is not about a lack of innate aptitude for it. In Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC), your scores are matched with others whose work and goals have no relation to yours.
  5. Immersive Learning: In Cohort-based learning, you can easily get immersive as you are provided external assistance to maintain discipline. With this discipline, your interest in the subject may get sparked, and you will begin to pursue it more aggressively. In MOOC, most of the time, you struggle with procrastination.

Best features of Cohort-based Courses (CBC) for instructors

If you are an instructor or a creator devoted to getting your followers to learn what you set out to teach, you will see that many learners are drifting from one online video to another while learning very little. This problem is also addressed by Cohort-based learning. These are three important things that you can do as an instructor in CBC:

  1. Personalized attention: While you could be overwhelmed with the idea of talking to a self-learner who has some basic queries when the learners approach you after spending time with others, you will be more motivated to give them personal attention as they will have a much more refined set of questions for you.
  2. Close to offline experience: As a popular instructor, your videos reach out to many people. However, they do not get the benefits that your offline students get. With Cohort-based learning, this problem is solved to a greater extent as students get peer-based learning, networking, and immersive experience.
  3. Harness digital revolution: While the digital revolution has set into the world in a big way, it is also causing many people to stay online in an unproductive manner. Popular influencers and educators can change the course of this trajectory into a much more productive zone by instilling the learning discipline in their followers.


We can say that cohort-based learning is the answer to the problems faced in MOOC. The learning and outcomes from this method make it just the right thing for online instructors to do as the next logical step after creating deeply informative videos. Cohort-based education has such a strong case that it can take even more offline learners online. The pandemic era has given a huge opportunity to democratize learning online. However, before this opportunity goes away due to the deluge of low success ratio of courses completed through MOOC, a better learning experience is a must. Offline education has several advantages that should be integrated with online education. Cohort-based learning is a leap in that direction.

If you are an instructor, you can fill this form and begin your journey to CBC


If you are a learner, you can undertake a Cohort-based Course here: