Nov 20, 2021 2 min read

What's next after a cohort-based course?

Photo by Pang Yuhao / Unsplash

A cohort-based course is the new trend of online learning where students learn together a specific topic with an instructor.

Most of the time, the instructor is a practitioner, without teaching experience. S/he just translates what s/he does for the past 10, 15, 20 years of experience to a course outline using different approaches and techniques.

Many people did not know that creating a cohort-based course requires a handful of tasks. Some of them are--

  1. Designing the curriculum
  2. Building a landing page with all the course details
  3. Marketing and promoting the course
  4. Getting the right pricing
  5. Onboarding students
  6. Creating a community
  7. ...What else?

These tasks do not have to be done in chronological order, but they are dependent on each other.

Apart from these, there is a task that should be done after the course and is mostly undervalued by some of the course creators.

It is... creating an alumni community.

Hmm... You may say, I already have my student's community, why should I build this? Simple reason: because your alumni and students have different needs and levels.

For courses that are just starting up, building an alumni community may not be that important for now. But in the long run, your alumni can make all the difference for you to scale your business.

When should you start building your alumni community?

Based on experience, 80-100 alumni is a good number to start with. Practically, this is after 4-5 cohorts. It's good to start with a small number and the momentum is still there.

The smaller the number, the tighter the group = the higher chance of having active alumni who can lead a bigger group once you scale.

How should you start your alumni community? Try these initial activities to get them involve and create engagements:

  1. Start with an alumni reunion
  2. Create a core group that can take the lead
  3. Organize a monthly meet-up, beer session, lunch and learn, etc
  4. Offer advanced mini-workshops
  5. Invite them to speak in open house or events
  6. Create an alumni referral system
  7. Hmm.. anything you'd like to add?

These may look like a lot of stuff, but these can bring massive returns.

Photo by Taton Moïse / Unsplash

The Gold Mine. Few course creators experimented in this community format, and so they discovered a good strategy that brings more value to the alumni and makes you earn more.

What is it? Combining cohort-based + membership.

The cohort-based format is for students community, and
The membership format is for the alumni community.

Create a continuous program for your alumni, because learning never stops after your cohort-based course. Make it valuable for them, and ask for a membership fee for premium access.

Although this is a case-to-case basis. It might work for your alumni community. It might not.

But, you'll never know unless you try and experiment.

If you want to add ideas and comments, feel free to reach out to Happy to hear your thoughts.

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Janica Solis
Janica Solis
Edtech enthusiast with 5y experience in education. Worked in an iNGO that promotes global education, and in Edtech startups that design bootcamps and online courses.

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