Can Cohort-Based Courses Be Just As Powerful A-Synchronously?

Ev Chapman
May 30, 2021

I live in a beautiful place called Sydney, Australia.

It's amazing. But it's far away from where lots of the action happens... especially in Cohort Based Courses (CBC's).

As an Aussie, I immediately have to make a decision when I see a new CBC. Not about money or value. I either have to choose to miss out on a big part of the live experience of the course. Or I have to forgo my sleep and jump on zoom calls at ridiculous times of the night usually between 1am & 3 am.

This seems kind of ridiculous.

We are now all global citizens of the internet and yet we're running courses like we are all still living in the same city. Companies like Github have pushed the idea of a global company forward with a-sync communication. So why shouldn't CBC's adopt the same principles?

Here are some initial ideas on how CBC's can incorporate a-sync comms in their courses:

👉 Hosting community forums on places like Slack and Circle is a good start. It allows people to connect in written form to talk about course material, ask questions and meet one another.

👉 Think about hosting live sessions in two different time zones. This allows for everyone who has paid for the course to have the opportunity for the same experience. It also allows for people to have a choice about which session to attend.

👉 Have course material available to watch anytime and use a-sync voice or video for community, questions, and feedback. There is literally no reason to teach course material on a live session. Consider pre-recording the course material and then using live or a-sync experience for people to come together for questions and feedback.

👉 Consider using a-sync communication like Voxer or Yac to elevate the written experience. Forums are cool and all, but hearing someone's voice is even more powerful. You can use a-sync voice tools for both full community channels, or individual feedback sessions. And the great thing is that you don't have to try and find a time to jump on zoom together.

👉 Try A-sync video for questions and feedback. If you thought hearing someone's voice was powerful, wait till you see them on a video. Video is one of my favourite ways to answer questions. I'll regularly record a quick 2-minute video answering someone's question from Consumer 2 Creator lab. It's much quicker to just switch on loom, and they get to hear and see what I'm explaining.

👉 Break the cohort down into smaller timezone-friendly groups that can bond together over shared geography and experience. I see it all the time in CBC introduction channels. People immediately finding the people who live in their city, or other common place. People bond over shared geography.

👉 Acknowledge other time zones by doing the time calculations for people, or at least linking to a site like so people can easily find their time. Just acknowledging someone else time zones makes people feel like they are noticed and thought of.

I truly believe in the power of Cohort Based Courses but maybe we need to start re-thinking the experience and start creating A-Synchronous Cohort Based Courses (A-CBC for short?)

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