How To Create Accountability In Cohort-Based Online Courses

December 15, 2020

Various factors contribute to the success of cohort-based online courses. Unlike pre-recorded programs where students complete the coursework on their own time, with live classes, instructors can foster an engaged community centered around support and accountability. From tracking student progress to setting reminders, accountability can drastically improve student satisfaction and results. It’s also good business. Finding ways to keep students motivated boosts completion and engagement rates and improves referrals and sales.

Ways To Keep Learners Accountable

Track Progress

When students know their instructors are paying attention, they are more likely to attend live classes, ask questions, and interact with others. If you notice learners falling behind, give them a call and make sure they know you care. Consider offering additional support like one-on-one video calls to get them back on track.

Here at Virtually, we believe online learning is the future of education. Our learning management system is designed to support online cohort-based courses. Bringing everything you need to run cohort-based, live online classes, we make it easy to communicate with students, track progress, and auto-track attendance down to the minute. You can also send course announcements, message students individually, and create sections.

Encourage Accountability Groups

Whether you are creating an online course or membership, incorporating social accountability is critical to learner success. Encourage students to find an accountability partner or form an accountability group. During weekly check-ins, students can share goals, outstanding tasks, and accomplishments. For the best results, schedule meetings at the same time each week. Consider also sharing additional worksheets and prompts to guide the conversation. Coworking sessions and alumni-led study groups are also helpful.

Small Class Sizes

To offer more individualized attention, limit the number of students enrolled in each cohort. If you run a membership, close enrollment several times a year so you can focus on helping your members get better results. Aim to get to know your students and develop personal connections with them. Also, throughout each live class, ask attendees to turn on their cameras and call on students for their input. Use fun Zoom stickers like clapping hands and emojis to cheer them on.

Set Reminders

When life gets busy, it’s easy to miss a session if it is not on your calendar. Set automated reminders for all of the meetings in your program. Consider sending email reminders or text messages. If you are using Zoom to power your cohort, connect to a calendar management system like Google Calendar and set automatic 24-hour, 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 10-minute reminders.

Which of these strategies do you plan on implementing to build accountability into your program? Tweet us at @tryvirtually and let us know!

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Danielle Desir

Danielle Desir is an author and the host of The Thought Card, an affordable-travel and personal finance podcast. ( Follow on Twitter: @thethoughtcard