Top 5 Picks for the Best Cohort-based Course Platform in 2024

Reviewing the top 5 cohort-based course platforms for 2024. Find out which is right for you.
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Navigating the dynamic realm of online education demands a strategic approach, and selecting the optimal learning model is paramount.

Delve into the transformative realm of cohort learning through this article, exploring the ideal platforms and their core features. Gain insights into the pivotal elements that define a robust cohort-based course platform.

Armed with the right platform, not only can you thrive, but you can also effortlessly expand the reach and impact of your cohort-based courses.

What we'll explore together:

  • How the future of learning is evolving because of innovations like cohort-based courses, and what makes them such powerful tools for learning with community
  • The must-haves you should put on your checklist when picking a cohort-based course platform that's best suited for your online learning business
  • Our five picks for the best cohort-based course platform from the dozens founders have to choose from (and what makes them a cut above the rest)‍

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.

Cohort-based learning allows founders 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 usually are 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 courses 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, traditional learning can't match, and that's just one of the many reasons cohort-based courses are so powerful:

Accessibility

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.

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.

Our customers are using cohort-based courses and learning communities around them to increase accessibility to learning for all kinds of underrepresented individuals.

Learn more from allWomen (Spain) and YSpace (Canada).

Accountability

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.

Experimentation

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. But 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?

Advanced Curriculum Builder

A capable cohort-based course platform can support hosting every learner of your online course and their journey through the curriculum you've created.

Your platform should also support different types of learning within your curriculum with an advanced learning suite. This includes lessons, tasks, assignments, projects, assessments, or anything that can be designed to help your learner achieve their goals. Every experience offers a different means of learning and mastering material, so the platform you choose must support your creation.

Since online learning evolves so fast, don't forget to choose a curriculum builder that allows you to build personalized learning experiences in your cohort-based courses seamlessly.

Disco's advanced learning suite features

Finally, the right platform will support other experiences outside of cohort-based course material, including self-paced courses and event series. Remember — learning doesn't happen in silos, and you're only making the learner experience more enriching by offering other learning experiences for better student outcomes.

Learner Onboarding, Profiles, and Progress Reports

The most important factor in any cohort-based course platform you're considering is its support for learners in your learning community. Your learners need to have a great experience so they tell friends and family, who can become fellow students. Without built-in support, you can't measure the type of impact your teachings are having on your learners and curate the experience based on feedback.

That 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.

Disco's customizable member onboarding

Next, learners should be able to create their own profiles. This allows each learner to brand themselves, share personal or professional information, and put a face to names they see in their cohorts. This helps founders or operators on the back end to get to know their learners and create personalized progress reports.

Disco's customizable member profiles

Speaking of progress reports, it's a must-have for any platform you choose: Knowing how learners are progressing through your coursework, attending events, and engaging with other cohort mates is crucial to not only their success but your community's success. Progress reports can be hyper-personalized and referenced with the Disco platform if you need to step in and help steer a learner back on course.

Disco's member progress reports

Clean, User-friendly, Branded interface

Are you wasting precious time making learners navigate between tools, pages, or features? Not on the perfect cohort-based course platform.

A clean user experience and interface will ensure your learners know where to find the features they need and find them quickly. Having an option to further brand that interface adds to the learner experience and lets your personality shine through.

Disco's customization features like custom logo, custom domain, custom labels, modular blocks, brand colors, and more.

Communication tools for fostering collaboration

Learning can happen in a community chat, a direct 1:1 message, or in intimate subgroups. The perfect cohort-based course platform will support all methods of communication, including channels and posts, so your learners can engage asynchronously.

But this goes beyond simple text exchanges — video or calling integrations are perfect for when you need to host virtual events or jump on a quick call with a learner.

If the platform of your choosing doesn't offer proprietary communication tools, they should integrate with other tools like Slack, Zoom, or Skype.

Disco's communication tools like chat, direct messages, subgroups, live events, and more.

Now that you know what features to look for, let's go over the five great cohort-based course platforms you should add to your consideration list:

5 Great Platforms for Creating Cohort-Based Courses in 2024

#1. Disco: The Most Complete Cohort-Based Learning Platform for Every Business

Disco is a cohort-focused learning management system that supports the building, operating, monetizing, and scaling of all kinds of learning experiences, especially cohort-based courses. Everything you need to create and monetize your cohort course and community plus support the learner journey is intuitive to the Disco platform.

Screenshot of Disco's Cohort-Based Course page

Our clean user interface makes it easy for you to customize the end-to-end experience, and even easier for your learners to navigate.

No matter what stage your cohort-based course is at — whether it's your first attempt or you're a seasoned community curator — you can find value in Disco's mission to bridge the gap between community and learning because one truly can't exist without the other.

Top Reasons Why Disco Stands Out

With Disco's 24 notable features, founders and operators won't need any other additional platforms to build, operate, scale, and monetize their cohort-based courses and learning communities.

From massive open online courses to small businesses, we put course creators in the driver's seat to create their own learning experiences and run their educational programs the way they want. Here is the summary of the core features of Disco:

Advanced Learning Suite:

  • Cohort-based course templates, curriculum builder, and cohort onboarding for personalized learning journeys
  • Robust reporting, content library, and SCORM support for effective course management

Community Engagement & Automation:

  • All the tools for community building and engagement, like channels, posts, and messaging, plus options for video calls and community-wide events with Zoom or another chosen video platform
  • AI Co-Pilot automates member management, bulk messaging, and automation to streamline communication

Revenue Acceleration:

  • Customizable membership tiers, advanced analytics, and enterprise features
  • Discount codes incentivize learners, ensuring sustained revenue growth

Seamless Migration:

  • Effortless transition with bulk invites, course duplication, and branded customization
  • Deep integrations with Zoom, Slack, and Zapier enhance live events, community engagement, and automation
​Pricing for Disco:

Begin your educational venture with Disco's all-encompassing features, offered at an affordable $79/month subscription billed annually.

Whether you're starting, refining, or expanding, Disco is your solution. Eager to witness its impact? Seize the opportunity of our 14-day free trial to discover how Disco can elevate your learning products and online cohort-based courses.

Disco pricing page
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. 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.

Screenshot of Teachfloor website
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
Pricing for Teachfloor
Teachfloor pricing page

Startup: starts at $89 a month and lets you run unlimited courses with integrations like Stripe and Zoom to help collect payment and host live sessions.

Business: For $349 a month, Teachfloor lets you add up to 3 team members, create a custom domain, and white label your platform with your logo and brand identity. You'll also be able to use the Zapier integration for more automated workflows both internally for your team and externally for learners.

Advanced: Teachfloor offers enterprise-level custom pricing where you have more of a tailor-made plan fit for your business for scalability

‍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.

#3. 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 website
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
Pricing for Maven

Pricing for Maven is set by the individual teacher, and the platform collects 10% of earnings. Learners pay by the individual course they wish to complete.

Course Accelerator
Screenshot of Maven's Course Accelerator page

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.

#4. 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 website
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
Pricing for Graphy

Like Maven, Graphy makes pricing straightforward, taking a 10% cut per sale on the platform. They also tack on a $499 to $1499 yearly plan for those who want to access all features.

Screenshot of Graphy pricing page

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.‍

#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.

Screenshot of Scenes website
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
Pricing for Scenes

Scenes offer three distinct pricing plans catering to various needs.

The Trial plan, ideal for creative beginners, provides a free 14-day trial with features like 50 members, 1 moderator, and 500 MB storage. The Hustler plan, priced at $99/month billed yearly, targets freelancers with expanded capabilities, including 5000 members, unlimited moderators, 100 GB storage, and additional features like sub-communities, member unlimited live streams, and analytics integration.

The Pro plan, recommended for professionals at $199/month billed yearly, offers unlimited members, moderators, and 500 GB storage, along with advanced features such as a white-labeled website and app, push notifications, and reduced transaction fees. Each plan is designed to accommodate different user requirements and business scales.

Screenshot of Scenes pricing page

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 Learning Experiences

For communities big and small, Disco creates solutions at every stage of your learning business that are not only affordable but more accessible and sustainable. It's our mission to democratize and decentralize learning at a global scale.

By putting community learning at the nucleus of all learning, our team was able to create solutions that other platforms can't provide; these include all of the features you need to create, host, and scale cohort-based courses, as well as other learning experiences while keeping your community healthy and happy.

See for yourself why it's the learning management system, if not simply the cohort-based course platform, that you need to build, operate, scale, and monetize. To see what the buzz is all about, book a live demo to dive deeper into the platform with our team.

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