How do I know if a Cohort Based Course is “worth it”?

By Chez Spigelman

Cohort Based Courses (CBC's) are growing in popularity. A plethora of platforms have sprung up, all with the aim of democratising learning. With an easy-to-use platform and engaging technology, any domain expert or experienced operator can leverage their insights and turn them into a course – one that produces recurring revenue as well as the satisfaction of imparting knowledge.

The negatives of this lowering of the barriers are twofold: increased noise, as the vast array of course subjects, styles, processes and price ranges overwhelm the potential student, and hucksterism where rent seekers put a shiny, faddish veneer on top of a steaming pile of WTAF did I just read.

So how does a wisdom seeker sort the wheat from the chaff? With traditional, on demand, asynchronous online courses, it’s easy to provide access to the first module or two of learning material for free. If the student enjoys that, they pay and unlock the rest of the course. But CBC’s don’t lend themselves to that model. Every seat booked in the cohort must be filled, else the opportunity cost is too great. So course instructors can’t afford to offer to try before you buy, or get a refund options.

At this point in the evolution of this space, students are relying mainly on the good reputation of the instructors, who tend to have a strong online presence. On top of that, previous students of good CBC’s often publicly identify their participation – some students follow up with alumni and ask for advice. CBC application pages usually have a smattering of reviews from past students as well.

At NextCohort, our vision is to become the Internet’s home for all things CBC. Independent, verified reviews. A Directory, to discover new and trending courses. And a Blog, full of posts like the one you’re reading right now, to educate and inform you on this great new age of online education.

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Chez Spigelman

Chez is a finance professional who dabbles in technology. He is a cofounder of NextCohort.

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