How to Create a Cohort-based Course

If you are looking for better ways to create a conducive and helpful environment for your students, you may want to consider the cohort-based learning system.

It is a learning concept whereby you share your course with a specific number of people, set start and finish times for the courses, host discussions with your students and provide them with all the support they need.

According to recent statistics, cohort-based learning has a completion rate of over 90% whereas self-paced (non-cohort) courses struggle with a completion rate of about 3%.

The good news about this kind of learning is that it is effortless to implement and produces maximum results.

Let’s look at cohort-based learning and why it is a good option for creators.

What is Cohort Learning?

Cohort learning is a learning format where students learn in groups and go through the course curriculum together.

For example, think back to all the times you were in the university, you learned the same thing with your other classmates. You all worked on the same assignment, carried out the same practicals, and took the same tests and assignments. Now, that’s how cohort learning works.

It is similar to traditional learning in high schools and colleges, but the difference is that it happens online and with a smaller group of people.

Implementing cohort learning as a course creator means launching your course in batches so you can have a specific number of students to easily manage.

The good side to this is that it provides a more intimate teacher and student environment, where you can easily monitor your student’s progress in real-time and they can provide support to each other.

Benefits of Cohort Learning as a Digital Creator

Creating a cohort course for your students can improve your customer retention rate. Everyone likes to be provided extra support or a listening ear, so taking advantage of this can improve your credibility as a creator.

Here are key reasons you should incorporate the cohort teaching style.

#1. Easy to sell

Being specific about your kind of teaching style makes it easier to sell it. This way you can capitalize on what you have to offer and only attract people who are in dire need of it.

#2. Easy to plan

With a cohort teaching style, the only hard work you have to do is create your online course. Afterward, you launch your online course and adjust it to your current schedule. Since it’s a cohort teaching style, you’d teach your courses in the same order, just with different batches of students. You just need to show up for your students, teach, and answer their questions.

#3. Provide better support

With a cohort teaching style, you can provide better support to them because you are closer to them than before. Unlike self-paced courses, you do not monitor your student’s progress, cohort-based courses allow you to manage your students closely, monitor their progress, and provide the support they need at every stage.

#4. Build credibility

Another reason you should consider cohort-based courses is that it is a good way to build credibility as an expert in your field. Cohort-based courses help you stand out and attract more students because they know they can get your full attention. More so, the more credibility you have, the more students will willingly enroll in your course rather than other options they may have.

#5. Word-of-mouth marketing

64% of marketers agree that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing. While 83% use word-of-mouth marketing because it increases brand awareness.

When more students complete your online course and have unique experiences, they are more likely to write a testimonial about it, share it on social media, and tell their friends to enroll.

Testimonials are a crucial part of your success as a digital creator. They position you as a credible expert and help you attract more students.

#6. Higher success rate

One of the most important metrics to track as an online course creator is the success rate of your students. It determines the quality of your course, as well as the value of your curriculum. When students find your course interesting, they are more inclined to finish it and implement what they’ve learned.

MIT researchers found that between 2013 and 2018, completion rates for self-paced(non-cohort) courses steadily declined to an average of 3%. Udemy, one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, sees a completion rate of 8% even from its best instructors.

With a cohort-based learning style, you offer your students the support and guidance they need to complete your course. Students who know they can receive extra help from you will be more inclined to finish your course.

Learn How to Make Money Online as a Digital Creator

Cohort vs Non-Cohort Courses

Here are the major differences between cohort and non-cohort courses;

Cohort-based learningNon-cohort learning
Students learn according to the schedule set up by the tutorStudents learn at their pace.
Access to a community of like-minded individualsAccess to an online audience through social media
Access to course curriculum based on learning progressLifetime access to course curriculum
Direct access to the tutorBasic knowledge of the tutor.
Has a set date to start and finishCan start and finish at any time
Active and passive learningPassive learning
Accountability partnersNo accountability partners

How to Create a Cohort-based Course

Here are key steps to follow to ensure the success of your cohort-based course.

#1. Choose a delivery format

There are several ways to teach your course to your students. Since it’s a cohort-based course, your major course delivery format will be videos. However, whether these will be live videos or pre-recorded is entirely up to you.

Your teaching format can also vary. You may choose to record yourself explaining it or have a live webinar where you explain your course in slides or give out your material for students to learn on their own then you can host conversations, where they discuss what they’ve learned.

While choosing the best delivery format, also bear in mind that various students have various learning preferences. Some prefer visual learning, while others prefer reading materials. The best option is to have your course in as many formats as possible to cater to all kinds of students.

You may also include examinations, tests, and homework as a way to encourage collaboration between your students.

Pro tip: Get feedback from your students to know which format they prefer the most.

#2. Create your curriculum

To create a curriculum, you need to know what you will teach and the depth you intend to go. Also, your curriculum for a cohort-based course will be different from the regular non-cohort courses.

Hence, to create a good curriculum, you need to know;

  • What topic you will teach
  • The learning outcomes of each session
  • The assignment you’d give after each session
  • What part of the curriculum will be cohort-based and what part will not
  • The material you will hand out after the class
  • Fun activities to introduce between lessons to help your students have a break.

Pro tip: Since your cohort-based course is time-limited, you want to make sure you’re not overstuffing your curriculum with too much content. Keep it within the set time and as valuable as possible.

#3. Plan your classes

After you’ve created your curriculum, the next thing you want to do is to plan and schedule your classes. Use a calendar to mark important dates for your cohort-based learning program.

Include things like lecture times, Q&A sessions, group discussion times, coaching sessions, tests, examination dates, deadlines for homework, etc.

By using a calendar, your students are aware of these important dates and get reminded of them. Additionally, they’d be able to plan well to stay ahead of their game.

Pro tip: Planning your classes ahead prevents forgetfulness that comes with last-minute planning. It also shows incoming students that you mean business.

#4. Set your price

Emily Wale-Koya, personal brand coach and seven-figure digital creator says “…If you were working somewhere and you put in 9 hours or 8 hours a day at that place and that’s the same thing you’re doing to create a product, you should quantify that. You should measure it, you should price it or bill it, put a billing arrangement to that.”

Pricing your cohort-based course isn’t something to take lightly. You have to consider the time, effort, and resources you put into it to set a price.

For most creators, choosing the right price for their online course can be very difficult. Because they are often stuck between setting a price that is right for them and not losing their customers.

So, those who lack the right information about online course pricing cave into their fears and set a price they think is good for their audience in a bid to not lose them.

However, this method of pricing has grave consequences.

Read this guide on How to Price Your Online Courses to learn more about pricing

#5. Build your course on Selar

After you’ve created your curriculum, build it on Selar by uploading your course to the platform and setting it to a member area using the memberships site option to allow only your members (in this case students) to see your course. This allows you to share your course with your members and ensure you provide a good experience for everyone.

Pro tip: With the Selar pro plan, you can integrate your favorite tools and get access to robust features that allows you to manage all your students from just one dashboard.

#6. Create a sales page

Once you’ve created your course, you need a medium to market it. Use Selar’s page builder to create effective sales pages to market your course and attract students to enroll in your course.

At the very least, you need a landing page that sells your cohort-based course and an email sequence that guides your users.

Pro tip: With Selar’s page builder feature, you can easily create sales pages designed to sell. Remember, you only have 7 seconds to make an impression with your customers.

Learn How to Build an Effective Online Course Sales Page designed to sell

#7. Make it easier with tools

One of the advantages of being a creator is that you have a myriad of tools to make your work easier.

For easy course creation, you want to make use of the following tools;


Zoom is a great app for hosting webinars and live video calls. You can host up to 40 minutes of video calls for free, record each session, share your screen, and even monitor who’s speaking.

Google Calendar

You can easily schedule teaching appointments, organize events, and share deadlines for all tasks with your students. It is a free tool that can be used by everyone and can be accessed by anyone with a Gmail account.

Social Media

Media channels such as Facebook, Telegram, and WhatsApp have a group feature that you can use to offer online support to your students. Use these tools to create a group where you can have discussions with your students and help them grow.

Google Forms

Use Google forms to collect feedback from your students and discover more ways to improve your teaching style and curriculum to better suit their needs. Just like Google calendar, Google form is free and can be accessed by anyone.

Pro tip: Work smarter, not harder. Make use of all the tools available to you to increase efficiency.

#8. Gather social proof

One way to show your success as a digital creator is by social proof. When students say something about your course or share their success stories with you, take a screenshot. Testimonials are a great way to show that your course is valuable and produces results.

Pro tip: 93% of potential buyers would read online reviews first before deciding to purchase a product or not. So, request reviews when necessary and showcase them.

Learn How to Create a Mini Course to Kickstart Your Online Business


Cohort-based learning style is the best way to ensure you help your students succeed. It gives you the opportunity to provide all the help and support your students need to succeed.

If you have doubts, create both a non-cohort and cohort course, test it on your audience and take note of the success rate. You can think of it as an A/B testing sample to determine your students best learning style.

For recap, here’s how to create a cohort-based course;

  • Choose a delivery format
  • Create your curriculum
  • Plan your classes
  • Build your course on Selar
  • Create a sales page
  • Make it easier with tools
  • Gather social proof

So, go ahead to create your cohort-based course and sell it on Selar. We’re rooting for you!