The Best AI-Powered Cohort-based Course Platform (2024)

Embark on a journey through the dynamic landscape of online education with this article, uncovering the transformative power of cohort-based learning. Selecting the right cohort-based learning platforms is crucial for enhancing collaborative learning and improving learning outcomes. Discover the best AI-powered cohort-based course platform and its key features, essential for maximizing the impact of your courses.
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Embark on a journey through the dynamic landscape of online education with this article, uncovering the transformative power of cohort-based learning. Selecting the right cohort-based learning platforms is crucial for enhancing collaborative learning and improving learning outcomes. Discover the best AI-powered cohort-based course platform and its key features, essential for maximizing the impact of your courses.

What we'll explore together:

  • Cohort-based course platforms are online learning environments that provide structured educational experiences for groups of students progressing through course material together as a cohort, with built-in features to facilitate peer interaction, collaboration, and a strong sense of community.
  • Key considerations to look for when choosing the best cohort-based course platform to power your online learning organizations - affordable pricing, scalability, interactive features, analytics/data insights, and more.
  • Introducing Disco as the premier cohort-based platform, powered by AI capabilities that seamlessly blend learning and community into one powerful social learning environment, with data-driven tools to continuously improve and grow your cohort-based courses.

We're entering the Golden Age of learning. With the e-learning market set to hit $1 trillion by 2032, anyone, anywhere can become a teacher and create cohort-based courses to share their wisdom with the world by creating new means of teaching and learning.

One really powerful form of learning many of today's founders and operators of learning communities use is the model called cohort-based courses.

What are Cohort-based Courses or CBCs?

Cohort-based courses or CBCs allow instructors to deliver content and curriculum while bringing people together to share in the learning experience. The student experience is built around learning new skills and developing their understanding within the confines of a private community.

These are typically synchronous experiences, meaning the cohort comes together in live classes to learn through lectures, coursework, case studies, and more, but they may include some self-paced learning to be completed individually.

In addition, they are usually hosted in a cohort-based learning platform for smooth operations and a better learning experience.

cohort-based course involves a lot of moving parts, which is why using professional learning management systems dedicated to creating, hosting, and managing learners of a cohort-based course is a must-have for any founder or operator offering cohort courses.

Let's discuss the power of creating a cohort-based course and what to look for in a platform that would host these learning experiences. Then, we'll break down our top 5 choices for the best cohort-based course platform that are worth considering before choosing the perfect tool for you.

What makes cohort-based learning so powerful?

Of all the new types of learning experiences created in recent years, a cohort-based course looks the most similar to the traditional model of learning; a classroom of people all working towards achieving a common goal, whether that's to learn a skill or pass a test or earn a grade. 

But virtual learning, especially as a post-secondary option, is becoming far more popular. Online learning creates a level of accessibility and flexibility that in-person, and traditional learning can't match, and that's just one of the many reasons cohort-based courses are so powerful.

Cohort-based learning makes learning accessible.

Traditional education tends to put up barriers where there are invisible doors. Cohort-based courses unlock access to collaborative learning that many would otherwise not have access to. 

The virtual environment of an online course means anyone, anywhere can access their curriculum and engage in learning without having to commute or be physically “present” in a physical classroom setting. Because learners aren't bound by those typical constraints, they can access educational content at a global scale and learn from the brightest minds in learning.

Start inviting your learners anywhere they are in the world into your cohort-based course. With Disco, you just click on the global add action and select "Invite to Community." Just make sure you have a Disco account and then choose from three options: invite link, email invite, or bulk invite.

  1. For the invite link, copy it to direct people to your community's registration page.
  2. For email invites, input emails, select roles, and add a personal touch.
  3. For bulk invites, upload a CSV file to invite multiple members at once.

Feel free to personalize the invites and you can monitor invites in the admin area under "Members" > "Invites."

📺 Watch this short tutorial for the full experience:

Cohort-based courses also tend to be more affordable or offer more flexible payment options because they aren't bound by traditional methods. Teachers can offer students payment plans, income share agreements, lifetime access for a flat fee, discounts, and scholarships as they choose to bolster participation from underrepresented communities. Students can maintain financial security by finding a learning community that fits their needs.

Cohort-based learning creates shared accountability among learners.

As mentioned above, cohort-based sessions mimic the physical classroom experience because you're still learning with a body of other kindred learners.

Unlike asynchronous, self-paced courses — which are still great learning tools, but have lower completion rates — cohort-based courses are highly successful because they create shared accountability. 

You lean on not only your instructor but your coursemates, as well, to complete coursework, adhere to a course schedule, and master material. This learning model is often far more intimate than a traditional classroom, and the right cohort-based course platform will foster different levels of communication and collaboration.

To organize your synchronous learning, just make sure you have created your first cohort-based course at Disco. A CBC template is already done for you, so you don't need to start from scratch. Navigate the Disco dashboard and click on "Products" and then the "+" icon.

Choose the cohort-based course template and select your desired visibility: public, members only, or invite only. After that, customize it using drag-and-drop blocks and various content types.

For this example of creating accountability, you can use the event tool to create live session events to mix up your asynchronous content into a live learning experience. For the cohort-based learning template, there's already an event section waiting to be set up. But in case you want to add events to your existing learning program, here's a short tutorial to do so:

Cohort-based learning allows you to experiment and iterate.

What makes cohort learning so powerful is the level of freedom creators of these courses have; they can make their curriculum, allow as many people into the fold as they want, and determine what student success looks like. 

The result? A transformative learning experience, shared by only those who have completed your course content. Few founders and operators of cohort-based courses can simply throw a course up online and watch it take off.

Using a platform to manage the administrative, operational, and even marketing tasks that are associated with building and delivering a course is the best way to guarantee legitimacy and keep your cohort-based course running smoothly.

But what should you be looking for in the platform you'll ultimately choose? We're breaking down the most important elements to consider.

What should you look for in a cohort-based course platform?

An AI-powered curriculum builder that allows you to create cohort-based courses in seconds, not weeks.

Unveil the future of course creation with a cutting-edge AI-powered curriculum builder. Say goodbye to the tedious week-long process of crafting cohort-based courses, as Disco's innovative tool streamlines the entire process, empowering you to design comprehensive curricula in a matter of seconds!

Unlike traditional course creation tools found in other Learning Management Systems (LMS), AI-powered solution offers unparalleled efficiency and precision. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, you can quickly generate high-quality course content, saving valuable time and resources.

Begin creating your course outline by typing "/ai" into your blank canvas and choosing "write with AI".

After that, you can type in your prompt to ask Disco AI to write the full course outline for you. In this example, we ask Disco AI to write a comprehensive course outline with 5-7 modules and 5-8 lessons per module about our masterclass in AI and Productivity.

You can insert an optional reference if you have one, then click "generate". Disco AI will generate the outline in seconds! And that's how you start creating a cohort-based course with AI, simplifying and speeding up the process.

Note that this is just one of the multiple ways how to maximize the power of Disco's AI native tool. You can also train it to answer member queries and generate images and subtitles, prompts, and activities.

Combines learning and community spaces in one powerful platform so your tools aren't messed up all over the place.

When it comes to modern learning, you should be able to think of ways how to make your learners learn collaboratively. Learning without collaboration is a thing of the past, and it doesn't survive in online learning. Therefore, look for a platform that combines learning and a social space to learn with peers.

Disco is the only LMS that we've known where that combines learning and community spaces perfectly in one platform and unifies your database in one place. Aside from this, it's so easy to switch from a learning space to a community space and manage both of them seamlessly. This is one of the most unique aspects of Disco LMS and we believe that this can elevate your learning organization's experience massively.

📺 Check out our new navigation to see what we're talking about:

Customizable member onboarding and advanced CMS functionality for a seamless operation experience.

Comprehensive learner support starts by making the onboarding experience as seamless as possible. Whether you're starting fresh on a platform or migrating from another tool, the platform you choose should support learner onboarding with features like bulk email invites, checklists, or video walkthroughs of what learners are about to learn.

Another thing you should consider is the advanced CMS functionality where you can seamlessly manage your members, create your dedicated directory with user profiles, and customize your platform with your own branding and preferred appearance.

A mobile app where learning happens anytime, anywhere, as long as they have their gadgets and Disco's learning app.

The way we learn and teach is advanced due to technology. Nowadays, it's important to look for a cohort-based learning platform where it also has a mobile app, not just a web app. A mobile app is a game-changer when it comes to increasing the completion rates of your learners and collaborating with their peers.

With just one click, they can consume your learning content, they can do their assignments and quizzes, watch video recordings, and chat with their group mates and cohorts. With the Disco learning app, it's easy to post in social feeds to share something you find every day wherever you are, whatever you do.

It's certainly creating your private social network with your own branding, in the Disco platform. Go ahead and ask your students to download our iOS and Android app and try out our newly released mobile app!

Disco learning app: the best mobile app with a social learning experience!

The 5 Best Cohort-based Course Platforms, AI-Powered in 2024

Now that you're acquainted with the essential components of a cohort-based course platform, let's delve into the top platforms identified through our thorough research:

#1. Introducing Disco: The AI-Powered Cohort-Based Learning Platform Perfectly Created for Virtual Academies, Learning Organizations, and Enterprises.

Disco stands out as a dynamic cohort-focused learning management system, offering robust support for every aspect of creating, operating, monetizing, and scaling various learning experiences, particularly cohort-based courses.

From the initial stages of course development to the ongoing management of course content and community engagement, Disco provides an intuitive platform that caters to all your needs.

Whether you're embarking on your first cohort-based course venture or you're a seasoned community curator, Disco's mission is clear: to seamlessly bridge the gap between community and learning. Recognizing that these elements are inseparable, Disco ensures that every feature and tool is geared towards enhancing both the educational experience and community interaction.

With Disco, educators and community leaders can confidently navigate the complexities of cohort-based learning, knowing that they have a reliable partner in their quest to empower learners and foster vibrant communities.

Disco is voted hands down by the world's top virtual academies, learning organizations, and enterprise communities.

Apart from being the #1 LMS that built its own AI native tool and not just a ChatGPT extension, Disco is also the most loved and trusted cohort-based course platform by leading learning organizations in the industry like AltMBA, Dribbble, WeAreNoCode Academy, HyperIsland, XPRIZE, Monitor Deloitte, and Course Hero. They utilize the Disco platform for upskilling, customer and partner enablement, cohort training, and accelerator programs.

Disco is an award-winning cohort-based course platform, backed by one of the most prominent VC firms in the edtech industry.

Disco stands out as an award-winning cohort-based course platform, enjoying the backing of one of the foremost VC firms in the edtech sector, GSV Ventures. This endorsement speaks volumes about Disco's potential and credibility within the industry.

Additionally, its accolades, such as being hailed as the most innovative edtech of the year by Fast Company and receiving the title of Edtech's Breakthrough Startup of the Year, underscore its excellence and impact.

Moreover, Disco's utilization of AI-powered features further enhances its appeal, facilitating immersive and seamless collaborative learning experiences for users and community building for operators. With Disco, learners can expect not just a platform, but a transformative educational journey supported by cutting-edge technology and industry recognition.

Lastly, Disco has everything you need to run and grow your cohort-based courses 10 times easier and faster!

Leveraging its comprehensive suite of features and user-friendly interface, Disco facilitates every aspect of course administration, from enrollment and content delivery to engagement tracking and assessment. Key features that you would enjoy navigating at Disco are:

  • its AI native tool--Disco AI, where you can easily train it with your knowledge base, content materials, and learner's data. You can also use it as a virtual assistant, a brainstorming pal, and a business strategy partner.
  • engagement scoring system and leaderboards to motivate and track your members to participate in your social learning activities.
  • customizable onboarding and subgroups/group functionalities to categorize learners according to their cohorts, interests, and user profiles.
  • all the tools for the community that help you increase learner engagement, such as discussion boards, direct messaging, social feeds, channels, and our newly released mobile app where learning can happen anytime, anywhere.
💡 Sign up with a free Disco account for 14 days and start creating your cohort-based learning programs!
What Disco Customers Are Saying:

“We moved to Disco because we needed a platform on which we could run the program, which would minimize the time and effort we put into the admin, but also would increase our time in terms of content creation. So for us, we had reached a turning point. Disco was honestly the best platform we looked at in terms of enabling us to do just that. Everything is accessible on the platform itself.” – Amandine Bressand, Chief of Staff at BatteryMBA

“Disco has allowed us to build a scalable education offering at Dribbble. The subgroups function lets us break the hundred of students who enroll in each cohort into mentorship groups, giving each student a personal, hands-on & intimate learning experience.” - Madeleine Sava, Program Manager at Education Dribbble

#2. Maven: A Course Marketplace for Cohort-based Courses

Maven looks a little different from other cohort-based course platforms on this list. Maven, rather, is a marketplace of cohort-based courses, built by teachers all over the world, that lets learners shop for courses they're interested in. Teachers use the Maven platform to sell online courses with their pricing plan and use features of the platform to build their offerings.

Screenshot of Maven dashboard
Key features of Maven

Because anyone, anywhere can start teaching on Maven and market their offerings to the Maven audience, they make their platform intuitive enough to create a course, though the functionality and customization options are limited:

  • Single dashboard drops content, community, and learning in one place for learners to easily navigate
  • Templates to build course offerings from, like worksheets, fill-in-the-blank templates, how-to guides, and other building blocks
  • Marketing solutions like email automation, gathering of social proof and testimonials, and the chance to showcase your offerings on Maven's homepage.
Course Accelerator

While Maven is a useful tool for new founders and operators of cohort-based courses to get their start, the platform isn't intuitive enough to scale a full-fledged learning business. Reviewers also note that teachers have little to no control over application flow and the tool is not user-friendly, as creating content is difficult and time-consuming.

The right cohort-based course platform for your community should be easy for both your team and your learners to use. It should also scale with your business, not hinder you from growing, and unfortunately, Maven's offerings don't give you the reins to own your learning community and the business that comes with it.

#3. Graphy: A Learning Platform for Creating and Selling Online Courses

Graphy's website claims that over 150,000 creators have built cohort-based courses on their platform, using their suite of solutions to create, market, and sell their course offerings. The platform supports live, lecture-led courses as well as “drip” courses that can be completed asynchronously.

Screenshot of Graphy dashboard
Key features of Graphy

Graphy's main objective is to make the end-to-end process of building, marketing, and selling a cohort-based course as seamless as possible to give founders and operators a revenue stream for selling their experiences.

It's fairly straightforward, and while community is noted as a “feature,” growing and fostering communities is not a front-page feature of the Graphy offerings, which include:

  • The ability to create a host of multimedia course options; they can be synchronous or asynchronous, private or public, and even mobile-only
  • Templates for building out quizzes and assessments, but not many other types of learning experiences
  • Watermarking options for marking content as yours and yours alone
  • Built-in marketing tools to generate and track leads, sticky landing pages, affiliate programs, and a referral program
  • Integrations with tools like Mailchimp, Vimeo, Zoho Mail, and YouTube to combine multiple tools into one
  • Highly encrypted platform so any content you upload to the site stays on the site‍

Graphy is an intuitive tool that can ultimately become quite costly. 10% of every sale can start to add up if your course takes off and you're generating a lot of leadership. Platforms like Disco simply charge you a flat fee per month or year and allow you to keep 100% of the profits you earn from learners who join your community.‍

#4. Teachfloor: An LMS Built for Cohort-Based Learning

Teachfloor is another option for those looking for a cohort-based course platform. They allow founders and operators to build their courses on the platform, follow each learner's journey, and foster communication among students.

Like Disco, they also allow communities to white label with personalized branding and integrate payments through Stripe.

Teachfloor platform screenshot
Key features of Teachfloor

Teachfloor ticks many of the boxes we listed above in terms of functionality, features, and integrations necessary to host a cohort-based course successfully. Depending on the payment plan you select, you'll unlock some of the following:

  • Support for unlimited learning activities, depending on your subscription plan
  • Course landing pages and duplication so you can repurpose learning content and other course materials
  • Bulk invitations onto the platform, as well as to learning events within the cohort-based course, that adhere to the learner's unique timezone
  • Zoom integration to host and record classes
  • Zapier integration, however, is not available at the most affordable price point

‍Teachfloor is a comprehensive platform for hosting cohort-based courses. At comparable pricing, Disco allows founders and operators to host all kinds of learning experiences, including self-paced courses and event series that can happen in tandem with, in addition to, or completely separate from your cohort-based course.

This allows you to create multiple income streams rather than be siloed into only offering a cohort-based course.

#5. Scenes: "The Whitelabeled Discord"

Scenes brand themselves as “The Whitelabeled Discord.” Fans of Discord (or those looking for a brandable community platform) will know that Discord doesn't offer the same branded customization that other platforms do. In doing so, Scenes gives you a handful of the tools necessary for bringing your learning community to life and providing a learning experience.

Scenes platform dashboard
Key features of Scenes

While Scenes boasts itself as a learning community platform more so than a cohort-based course platform, they do create opportunities for founders and operators to offer other learning experiences with its range of features and integrations, like:

  • A fully white-labeled learning environment branded the way you want
  • Mobile app for both founders and learners
  • The ability to create live events, forums, and different types of courses
  • They are offering an ultimate community-building masterclass for course creators and instructors

Scenes boast a lot of great features and customizations to make the platform feel uniquely yours, but community is a major afterthought in the platform's messaging and marketing.

Founders and operators of bootcamps, academies, micro-schools, and other use cases for cohort-based courses want a platform that puts learning and community as separate but equal priorities — and there's only one platform on this list that does just that.

Supercharge Your Learning Community

A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.

The Learning Community Playbook by Disco

Disco is the Perfect Cohort-based Course Platform to Build Transformative Social Learning Experiences!

For virtual academies big and small, Disco creates solutions at every stage of your educational business that foster engaging social learning environments - all while being affordable, accessible, and sustainable.

Our mission is to democratize and decentralize learning at a global scale by putting social interaction and collaborative peer learning at the heart of the educational experience. By designing solutions centered around social learning, our team has created features other platforms can't provide.

These include all you need to create, host, and scale highly interactive cohort-based courses and immersive social learning experiences, keeping your learning community vibrant, connected, and thriving.

See for yourself why Disco's socially rich cohort learning platform is the learning management system you need to build, operate, scale, and monetize transformative educational experiences.

To explore Disco's social learning capabilities, book a live demo - our team will guide you through the platform's powerful social learning tools and collaborative features.

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