Best Tools to Build Cohort-based Courses (Case Study)

April 19, 2021

As we all know, success leaves clues. So we've partnered with the top cohort-based courses like the creators of Building a Second Brain, Write of Passage, PTYA (Part-Time YouTube Academy), and more to create a comprehensive report sharing the top tools course creators are using to build successful CBCs. PYTA’s first cohort sold out within hours, while Forte Labs (Write of Passage  + Building a Second Brain) brings in nearly ~$1M every cohort! #impressive

To put it simply, we wanted to learn from the best

What tools are the top cohort-based course creators utilizing right now and why? 

Check out our full report, which covers 11 insightful categories like the top payment tools, the best tools for sending calendar invites for live classes, and more. In the meantime, here are the top tools cohort-based course creators are using when hosting their communities, communicating with their learners, and storing study records. 

2021 Top Tools Used By Leading Cohort-based Course Creators 

Top Tools For Hosting Community

The majority of top cohort-based course creators use Circle to host private online communities, followed by Slack. Attracting some of the biggest creators from across the globe, over the last year, has gained a lot of traction.  

Fun Fact: Circle was founded in January 2020. 

As people grow tired of Facebook groups, course creators are looking for modern and user-friendly community platforms where learners can connect and share resources. Putting the control back in the hands of creators, Circle is white-labeled so you can choose your branding, add a custom domain and maintain 100% of your member data. 

Circle integrates with various tools, and you can even add your community directly to your course, digital product, or website. There’s also an iOS app and advanced member reporting capabilities. 

While Slack is a powerful real-time communication tool, it focuses more on productivity and teamwork. Also, outside of the free tier, the pricing doesn’t scale well for individuals. The pricing model is designed for companies who can afford to pay per user per month.

Top Tools For Communication 

The majority of top cohort-based course creators are communicating with learners via Convertkit, an email service provider. Helping creators take their projects to the next level, Convertkit offers a suite of features like automation, segmentation, selling digital products, and more. The platform is easy to use, and you can write, design, and edit emails quickly. They also offer a free plan for the first 1,000 subscribers, and you get two months free if you go with an annual subscription.

Top Tools For Student Records 

Unlike the previous tools where most course creators used one platform, we discovered that course creators use various tools to track student records. While some course creators use Airtable and spreadsheets, others use Notion. 

Both Airtable and Notion are low-code platforms where you can customize your workflow, collaborate with team members and create databases. Stay organized by either downloading a template or building your own from scratch. 

Want to continue learning about the top tools cohort-based course creators are using?

Get a behind-the-scenes scope by signing up for our full report with details on nine additional categories from the number of students in a program to key performance indicators -- the responses might surprise you!

The full report includes data on the following categories:

  • Community Hosting
  • Calendar Management
  • Payment Processing
  • Learning Management System
  • Conferencing
  • Student Records
  • No-Code Tools
  • Affiliate Program

Introducing Virtually

As you can see from this case study, building a cohort-based course often requires stitching together a dozen different tools together like Zoom, Paypal, Google Calendar, Slack, ConvertKit and more...

Here at Virtually, we're building the first unified platform for running cohort-based courses with support for payments, content delivery, and student records.

If you're looking to build your own cohort-based course, check out what we've built.

Get started for free here.

Special thanks:

Angus Parker- PTYA - Part-Time YouTuber Academy (Ali Abdaal)

Will Mannon - Building a Second Brain / Write of Passsage

Ben Issen - Super Webflow Bootcamp

Julia Saxena - Minimum Viable Video 

Khe Hy - Supercharge Your Productivity

Read Next: The Power of Cohort-based Learning

Ish Baid

Ish is the Founder & CEO of Virtually (YC S20).