Top 8 Cohort-Based Courses of 2021


Besides sharing practical tips like how to grow your thought leadership as a course creator or how to create accountability in cohort-based online courses, we believe it’s also important to highlight the innovative online learning programs reshaping education. Since we’re all about sharing real-world examples on our blog and podcast, here are the top cohort-based courses out right now. From accelerators to fellowships, each program has a definitive start and end date, and learners move through the curriculum together while simultaneously forming a community.

Part-Time YouTuber Academy

In this course, learn how to grow your YouTube channel and transform it into a sustainable, income-generating business without quitting your 9 to 5 job. In 18 months, founder Ali Abdaal grew his channel to 100,000 subscribers while finishing his last year in medical school. As of 2021, his channel now has 1.35 million subscribers, and he makes over $130,000 each month with part-time hours (he works full-time as a physician).

The Part-Time YouTuber Academy is a 6-week live online course where each week learners attend live Zoom lectures, group co-working sessions, and submit homework assignments for feedback. This cohort-based course is limited to 200 new students, and for the last cohort, they sold out the day the cart opened. In addition to cohorts, they also offer self-paced video editing and YouTube analytics courses.


Supercreative helps creatives, freelancers, and entrepreneurs consistently create work they're proud of. Bringing creativity and productivity together, Supercreative offers various cohort-based courses from creative journaling to career design. Instead of watching pre-recorded videos, learners work on projects alongside the instructor and other people in their cohort.


Ascend's Leader Program is an online learning program for women who want to grow their careers. Founder Shivani Berry is a career coach and product leader who believes that soft skills like your ability to build relationships, inspire teams, and influence others will help you achieve the career you want. The six-week leadership program includes in-depth live online discussions with experts and peers, actionable playbooks, real case studies, and role-play exercises.

Keystone Accelerator

Want to learn how to market and sell online courses? Keystone Accelerator by Billy Broas will walk you through creating a sales engine for your online course business. In this cohort-based course, learn how to craft launches that enroll tens of thousands of paying students. Billy has advised course creators from over 50 different niches, including freelance writing, cinema, yoga, music, and more.

Billy Broas shares his journey building Keystone Accelerator and the changing landscape of higher education in this podcast episode. Listen to the rise of cohort-based courses with Billy Broas.

Write of Passage

More than a writing accelerator, Write of Passage by David Perell holds space for a community of writers who want to consistently publish quality content, build their professional network, boost their influence and open themselves up to new personal and professional opportunities. This 5-week course includes live sessions, four live writing workshops, and weekly mentor group calls led by alumni mentors. Expect to write and publish more than you ever have before during this sprint.

Building a Second Brain

You may recall Building a Second Brain on our list of inspiring online courses. Building a Second Brain is a cohort-based course by Tiago Forte that helps content creators, freelancers, and self-improvement enthusiasts organize their learning to expand their creative output. Building a Second Brain offers 5-week live cohorts twice per year, and all previous students can join future cohorts. In addition to Zoom calls, learners also get access to pre-recorded modules introducing key concepts.

On Deck Founder Fellowship

The On Deck Founder Fellowship is an invite-only, ten-week online program that brings together founders from all over the world in the early stages of building their startups. Combining the power of community and learning from expert speakers, the goal is for learners to join a lifetime community that will help them develop better companies forged from a supportive network.


Started by Dickie Bush in late 2020, ship30for30 is a month long cohort designed for anyone looking to build a daily writing habit. Throughout the duration of the program, students are asked to write an Atomic essay a day for 30 days. More advanced students are encouraged to enroll in their high-ticket Write the Ship course.

We hope after reading this article, you are feeling fired up about cohort-based courses! Whether scaling your online course business or you're launching and looking at which course platform is right for you, we hope you'll consider Virtually.

Ideal for bootcamps, accelerators, and other group-based, live learning programs, we’ll help you run live classes with Zoom, accept payments, schedule events, manage student records and your content library. Schedule a demo call with a Virtually team member to learn more or get started for free with a 7-day trial.

Also, follow our podcast Reshaping Education on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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