Cohort learning leads to better student engagement and improved course completion rates. For this reason, more and more creators are looking to sell cohort-based online courses.
However, these types of courses have specific requirements, and to deliver one successfully, you’ll need a platform that accommodates these needs.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the ten best cohort-based course platforms in 2024 and guide you in choosing the right one for your needs.
Best Cohort-Based Course Platforms
- Thinkific: Best overall online course platform
- Kajabi: Best all-in-one platform for cohort courses
- Circle: Best for community-centric courses
- LearnDash: Best WordPress plugin for cohort programs
- Mighty Networks: Popular community builder
- Disco: Specialized cohort-based course software
- Teachfloor: Upcoming cohort course platform
- Maven: Best marketplace for cohort courses
- Xperiencify: Best for gamified learning
- EduFlow: Best platform for organizations
What to Look For in the Best Cohort-Based Course Platform?
When choosing a platform for your cohort-based course, remember that it should include certain specific features that may not be available on all online course platforms.
Unlike a self-paced course, cohort courses are designed to be taken by a group of students at the same time. They are instructor-led and have a strong focus on student interaction.
While you’ll still need the essential course creation tools—for example, a course builder, support for various content types, a course player, content dripping, and more—here are some specifics to look for when choosing a cohort-based course platform:
- Cohort Management Tools: Your platform should include tools that allow you to group students, monitor their progress, and communicate with them. The ability to create sub-groups within a cohort would be a plus.
- Live Sessions: Live classes facilitate interactive learning; therefore, most cohort courses include them in some form. As such, your platform needs to support hosting live sessions, either natively or by integrating with a software like Zoom.
- Community Spaces: Your platform must allow you to create a community and also have separate spaces for each cohort so that students can collaborate and engage with each other.
While these are the main features to look out for, you may need other tools depending on your needs, like group assignments, peer review, and group chats.
Now, let’s explore the best platforms you can use to create cohort-based courses.
Thinkific has been a leader in the hosted course platform sector for many years, and the platform is known for its outstanding course creation and learner engagement features.
The platform offers all the important features you’d look for in an online course platform. It’s easy to use, has a flexible course builder, offers quizzes and certificates, supports content dripping, offers mobile apps, and has essential selling tools.
For creating cohort courses, Thinkific offers the following significant features:
- Groups: The platform allows you to create and manage your students in groups. You can add students to a group in bulk, create unique sign-up links, and run progress reports for cohorts. Additionally, you can assign cohort managers, which is incredibly convenient if you are training external organizations.
- Live Classes: The platform supports live lessons through its Zoom integration. With it, you can schedule your live session within Thinkific, and your students can attend the session from within the course player.
- Community: Thinkific has a native community feature where you can create dedicated spaces for different cohorts. Within a community space, your learners can start new discussions, engage with existing posts, attend live events, and much more.
On top of these features, Thinkific has an app store with dozens of third-party apps. So if a feature (e.g., gamification) isn’t available natively on the platform, you can find an app for it.
Regarding Thinkific pricing, it offers five subscription plans, including a free one. However, to access the cohort learning features, you’ll need to subscribe to the Start plan, which costs $99/month.
Overall, Thinkific will work in a variety of scenarios. Whether you are running a self-paced or a cohort-based course, this platform has all the tools you need, which is why it’s our top recommendation.
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that helps you run your entire online course business. This means that in addition to creating courses, you can build a website, a blog, marketing funnels, and email marketing campaigns.
Additionally, Kajabi has a flexible course builder that supports features like quizzes, assignments, certificates, content dripping, prerequisites, and more. What’s more, it even has native AI tools that lift up a big chunk off your work by automating the course creation.
Regarding cohort-based online learning, Kajabi checks all the essential boxes as well:
- Kajabi comes with a powerful community builder that lets you create circles and invite students from a specific cohort only. It also supports features like group chats, challenges, and leaderboards.
- It supports meetups and live calls within your course as well as the community. The great thing is that the live call feature is included in your subscription at no additional cost.
- You can use the tagging feature to group your students. You can add tags to divide students into cohorts, send targeted emails, and create progress reports.
Finally, Kajabi offers free and branded mobile apps, so your students can join in on your lessons while on the go.
Regarding pricing, Kajabi’s pricing starts from $149/month, and it comes with all the features you’d need for cohort courses.
So, if you’re looking for a platform to host and deliver your cohort courses while taking care of the other aspects of running an online business, Kajabi will work well for you.
Circle is a powerful online community software, but it can also work as an online course platform.
Circle has features for creating online courses, including a drag-and-drop curriculum builder, inbuilt content hosting, and a content drip option, even though it doesn’t let you create quizzes and certificates.
However, Circle truly excels in creating engaged communities around your online courses:
- It lets you create multiple community spaces so that you can host separate discussion spaces for each cohort.
- You can engage your members through discussion posts, articles, polls, and group chats.
- You can also schedule events and host livestreams inside your community, which is handy for doing live classes, group coaching, and Q&A calls.
The platform also has mobile apps, both free and branded, so your students can access your course and community on the go.
When it comes to Circle pricing, the lowest tier costs $49/month. However, you’ll need to be on the Professional plan ($99/month) to be able to create courses.
Circle isn’t your typical online course platform, but if you want to build an online community and run cohort-based courses through that, it will be a great option.
MORE ON CIRCLE:
LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin that also supports cohort-based courses. While WordPress requires more technical skills, it can give you much more flexibility than the hosted options.
With LearnDash, you can create your course curriculum, offer quizzes and assignments, issue certificates, drip your content, and much more. Additionally, it has powerful engagement tools, such as engagement triggers and a gamification system.
When it comes to cohort-based courses, LearDash has a group management feature from which you can place users into groups and subgroups. You’ll also get detailed reports on enrollment, progress, and performance.
For live classes, you can use the Zoom integration, while you can use Buddyboss to create a community for your students.
As far as pricing is concerned, a single-site license costs $199/year, but keep in mind that this is just the cost of the plugin, and the final expense for setting up a course website will be much higher.
Having said that, if you plan to sell cohort-based courses through your WordPress website, LearnDash will be an excellent option.
5. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is similar to Circle in that it’s an online community platform at its core while offering online courses as one of its features.
Its drag-and-drop course builder lets you easily create structured courses with video, text, and quiz lessons.
Additionally, each course gets a separate discussion feed, and you can enable features like live events, group chats, and member directories for the course, making it a pretty decent option for delivering cohort-based courses.
Like Circle, Mighty Networks has both free and branded mobile app options, so students can participate in courses and discussions on the go.
Mighty Networks’ pricing starts from $39/month. However, you’ll need to subscribe to the Business Plan ($119/month) to access course-related features.
Overall, Mighty Networks is a good option for community-powered cohort courses and is worth considering if you’re looking for a community platform.
Disco is a specialized cohort-based course platform with a strong focus on creating live course experiences.
Apart from evergreen material, you can add live events to your course. These will be delivered through Zoom, and Disco will send automated reminders to those enrolled.
Moreover, you can break your course cohort into sub-groups for an even more intimate learning experience. For example, when a student submits an assignment, you can allow for it to be seen by the rest of the group to encourage peer review.
Additionally, the platform allows you to create a branded learning community where your students can communicate through channels and direct messaging and learn from each other.
Sadly, Disco misses out on some important course creation tools like quizzes and certificates.
Still, this platform will do the trick if you’re only interested in selling cohort-based courses and don’t plan on experimenting with other types of courses in the future.
Regarding pricing, Disco offers three options: the Pro plan ($99/mo), the Organization plan ($449/mo), and the Max plan ($1,249/mo).
Teachfloor mainly advertises itself as a platform for teaching cohort-based online courses, so it’s not surprising that it has powerful features suitable for this purpose.
With Teachfloor, you get the ability to schedule live sessions and deliver them through Zoom. Plus, it has a unique feature that enables you to schedule live sessions directly from a native calendar.
You can also add quizzes and assignments to your course and set a deadline, making them time-bound. Moreover, you can incorporate peer review into your assignments so that students can grade each other’s work.
To facilitate student discussions, Teachfloor created a feature called Community Wall which creates a private community space for each cohort course, allowing them to engage with each other.
Teachfloor is a great option for cohort courses, and there is much to like about the platform. However, the cost is absurd, with the $89/month entry-level plan supporting only 50 students and no custom domains. You’ll need to be on the $349/month plan to be able to use your own domain.
Maven is a cohort-based learning platform that hosts hundreds of courses from top instructors in different niches, including business, marketing, finance, technology, productivity, and more.
So, Maven isn’t another course platform software; it doesn’t help you create your online school, and you don’t own the audience.
Instead, you’ll need to apply to become an instructor and list your course on the platform. You can then market them to your audience and also tap into Maven’s existing audience.
Now, Maven does all the heavy lifting to host your cohort courses and community. For every cohort, it creates a specific community where the members can access the course syllabus and engage in discussions.
As an instructor, you can schedule live events for your course, which will automatically appear on the native course calendar, and you can use the Zoom integration to host the live sessions.
Regarding pricing, Maven doesn’t charge you a monthly fee. Rather it takes a 10% cut from all your sales transactions.
Therefore, if you’re not planning to start your online school but want to offer your cohort courses through an existing marketplace, Maven will work well for you.
Xperiencify is a platform designed specifically for gamified learning, and it can be a great option for delivering gamified cohort courses.
It has the most advanced gamification features. From awarding points and badges to celebrating achievements, you can create a fun learning experience for your students.
It also offers native community features, and you can set up separate discussion spaces for each cohort.
Having said that, it misses out on a few important features:
- You can’t create traditional quizzes or assignments.
- There’s no support for native livestreams.
- You can’t generate progress reports.
Xperiencify’s pricing starts from $49/month but only allows 50 active students. To add more students, you’ll have to upgrade to the $99/month plan.
Overall, it is a good option for delivering gamified cohort-based courses if you don’t mind the limitations mentioned above.
The final platform we’ll cover in this guide is Eduflow, which focuses on delivering cohort-based courses targeted at organizations.
It has a powerful course builder that supports various types of content, including videos, images, text, files, and more. You can also import SCORM content into your course from authoring tools like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline.
For cohort management, Eduflow allows you to add tags to your users to divide them into groups and subgroups.
While the platform doesn’t have a full-fledged community builder, it has a handy in-lesson discussion feature. However, if you want to create a standalone community, you can use its Circle integration.
Talking about live lessons, Eduflow integrates with Zoom for group meetings.
In addition, Eduflow offers a couple of unique features for boosting collaboration in your cohort course:
- Peer review: This feature allows students to review each other’s work.
- Group assignments: You can create assignments for specific groups among your students, allowing them to submit their work as a group.
Eduflow’s pricing starts from $0/month with up to 10 active learners. The Lite plan, instead, costs $49/month (up to 50 learners), while the Pro plan costs $649/month (up to 500 learners). You’ll need to get a custom quote from their team if you have more learners.
Eduflow’s approach would be the best suited for organizations looking to train their employees. If that’s your goal, this platform will be the right choice for you.
Best Cohort-Based Course Platforms: The Final Verdict
This article looked at the ten best cohort-based platforms and what each of them has to offer. We hope you were able to pick the best platform for your cohort courses.
However, if you’re still not sure, let’s summarize our top recommendations:
Our top recommendation for teaching cohort-based courses is Thinkific. The platform offers excellent features for cohort learning, but if you expand into regular courses or membership sites, it can accommodate all of that.
On the other hand, if you want an all-in-one platform, you can go with Kajabi. Apart from the powerful course and community tools, it lets you build a website, run a blog, create funnels, and do email marketing.
Finally, if you want to create community-focused cohort courses, we recommend Circle, as it has the best-in-class community engagement tools.
We hope you found this guide helpful. Do you have more questions? Leave them down below, and we’ll be happy to answer.