Besides the gold rush-y hype surrounding online courses, there’s something else I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of cohort based courses turning into clubs.

A telling sign might be: These People signed up.

And: Wouldn’t you like to Hang Out with These People?

The kind of people taking a course is a telling sign about what the course is for. Are they ambitious? Entrepreneurial? Curious to take a leap, a chance? Or, are they just people whose names you recognize?

A club is a place to hang out, to talk, to just vibe 😎. No curriculum, no urgency. Just relax. There’s hot coffee in the pot if you want any.

A cohort based course is a place to do something hard, to grow and learn alongside a group of peers. Alright, we’re going to go into breakout rooms now. I’ve put the worksheet in Slack. We’ll come back in 15 minutes and discuss what you wrote.

When I was in high school, I signed up for classes only if I knew my friends were signing up with me. I guess you could say I was cohort-centric. Are you taking English with Mrs. So-and-So? Yeah? Sweet. I’ll take it with you. I didn’t care about what the class was for. I had no regard for learning, for transformation. High school classes were like clubs with annoying interruptions by some guy talking about algebra.

Cohort-based-course.

Forget the ‘course’ part, and you’ve got yourself a club.

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