Over the past decade, the E-learning industry has evolved immensely - from MOOCs to SAAS platforms - it has now traversed into the realm of Cohort-based courses (CBC). In this time of isolated living, people are opting for community-centric options. As a result, there has been a surge in the use of CBCs. Whereas the idea of launching a cohort-based course sounds exciting, it can be a bit tricky without the right tips to guide you. Follow this article to gear yourself up with effective strategies to help launch a cohort-based course.
What is a Cohort-based course?
Before we dive into how to launch a cohort-based course, it is important to familiarize oneself with its concept. The term might appear new to some of you, in reality, we have all come across cohort learning at some point in our lives. As its essence, cohort learning is based on the idea of group-based learning. Hence the name, 'Cohort', which refers to a group of people who share similar characteristics.
The primary issue with asynchronous courses had been low completion rates, as low as 5%. People feel less motivated to finish their tasks when made to work by themselves. On the contrary, researchers had found that people perform better when they work or study collectively. As people engage in real-time discussions and learn from each other, it helps them grow both professionally and personally. Cohort-based courses foster increased accountability, rapid feedback, and community-building amongst the learners.
This was just a snippet. If you wish to know more about Cohort-based courses, have a look at the article, Cohort Based Course: A Definitive Guide.
Strategies to launch a cohort-based course
Deciding on a niche to create a course around is easier than creating and launching it. Without a clear blueprint, one can easily get lost. So many questions start to swarm you. Where do I even begin? What are the essentials to launch a cohort-based course? Etcetera. To help all of you aspiring course creators out of your confusion, I have devised this list of tips that will guide you every step of the way when creating your cohort-based course.
Determine your targets
Before taking on any project, it is absolutely necessary to know what you wish to gain from it. Setting your goals and targets will provide you with a lead. Once you are clear about what you need to achieve you can easily strive towards getting it. While you are at it, learn about the goals of your target audience as well. You and your audience need to be on the same wavelength to develop a successful cohort-based course.
The best way of aligning your goals with your target audience is by conducting surveys. Ask them what they are looking for in your course and try to develop your course accordingly. Carry out extensive market research. Know what your competitors are offering and what they lack. All these pointers will help in mapping out your course better and attaining a perfect course market fit.
Develop a suitable curriculum
Having the right curriculum is crucial. You need to make sure that the structure of your course curriculum is appropriate for your course structure. That is to say, the curriculum for a pre-recorded course and a cohort-based course for the same topic are entirely different. A foolproof trick to designing a cohort course curriculum is to design a modular curriculum. Plan your sessions and treat them individually if you wish to remain on top of things. This tactic will help you prepare for each cohort better.
Teachfloor is a SaaS product that help you to build and launch your cohort-based courses under your brand name seamlessly. To assist in designing a perfect curriculum for its clients, the platform comes integrated with Zoom. There are options for creating quizzes and assignments. You can upload reading materials and videos too for every session individually.
Schedule your cohort-based course sessions
To avoid any confusions it is best to create a schedule for your cohort sessions beforehand. Having a time pattern will help you and your students with keeping up with classes. You can use various tools for this purpose like Google Calendar, Office 365, etc. Zoom also has the feature of calendar integration with which you can sync your calendars. It will also send reminders to participants to join the sessions on time. Hence, there will be fewer chances of people missing their sessions. Nobody wants to skip a lesson after paying a hefty amount for a cohort-based course.
If you use Teachfloor you can schedule all your lessons and modules. You can set a date and time for the start and end of the lesson, students will be notified with a notification when the lesson is about to start. You can also decide if the lesson will be in live streaming or it will be a lesson with an asynchronous video. In this case, you can set a date on which the recorded lesson will be available for your students.
Manage course enrollment
Since cohort-based courses are live more intimate sessions, therefore having a manageable strength is a prerequisite for meaningful discussions. Although the number of students you can take on at once depends upon your capabilities, it is still advisable to not exceed a limit of 40 students. Having more enrollments than that will burden you as an instructor and can negatively impact the course's performance.
To help scale your enrollments, Teachfloor provides tools for customizing landing pages for your courses. Where you can describe the course, put up registration links and attach the online payments section. Having a good landing page is important for attracting prospects. They will judge your course on its basis. Make sure to make it impressive. Secondly, this landing page will act as your assistant for managing student applications so you don't have to get buried under the weight of applicant emails. It will sort your life for you.
Incorporate exciting activities in your courses
Learning does not mean rigid textual or exam-based learning as we were made to do back in schools. It can be fun and informal too. Gamify your lessons by adding pop quizzes, peer-review assignments, and interactive discussions. Make this a rule of thumb to divide your course between 40% textual content and 60% activities for effective and engaging lessons.
With Teachfloor's activities dashboard, you can easily develop and share tasks with students, receive their submissions, and mark them. It allows for smooth communication and assessment. Especially the peer review feature which strengthens community building.
Record the cohort sessions
If you wish to create a lasting impact with your cohorts then record and share the live sessions with your students for later review. A lot of times people are unable to join at the scheduled time and end up missing out on important course developments. By providing meeting minutes and recordings students won't lose important discussions. Zoom has the feature for recording the sessions so you won't have to spend extra on recording tools. Lastly, you will also be able to keep a record of your teaching with the help of these recordings.
Collect feedback and build your student community
Improving with time and need is the reason for any business's success. The same is also true for cohort-based courses. For this purpose make sure to gather feedback from your students. Ask them where you can improve your course and what new strategies you can introduce to better cater to their needs. Having a close-knit and reliable community is essential for effective and constructive feedback. This is why Teachfloor offers a healthy space for instructors and students to interact freely.
Its community-based approach provides all the necessary medium for interaction with fellow peers so you don't have to invest extra in communication tools like Slack, etc. It is your one-stop shop for community development.
Cohort-based courses are on the rise. With the rise in popularity, the competition has also escalated. The strategies mentioned in this article are an attempt at helping aspiring cohort course creators to win over the competition and carve out an indispensable place in the market. Besides paying attention to course content and its marketing, these few points are also important for a successful launch of a cohort-based course but are not paid much attention to.
These tips optimize your course's potential fully and create a positive impression on your customers that they will keep coming back for more.