Within the last several months, live cohort-based course platforms have skyrocketed in popularity across the web. Especially for successful creators looking for a new way to offer their experience, expertise, or even existing online course content in a new, more effective way.
And with the world of cohort-based learning expanding, so too are new platforms designed to make building a cohort-based course easy.
One of the newest cohort-based course platforms on the scene is Maven, which seeks to create a marketplace similar to Udemy for new cohort-based online courses.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of cohort-based course platforms, dive deep into their benefits, and compare Maven with Mighty Networks to see which platform delivers the best set of options for course creators.
Let’s dive in.
What is a cohort-based course?
A cohort-based course is one where a group of students or members go through your content—think live lessons, a resource library, or better yet, a combination of both—and work through it together.
More often than not, those students or members are brought together by a shared goal, interest, or motivation. And with your course, they’re able to achieve those goals by progressing through a structured syllabus with assignments, projects, readings, and so on. They’re also able to join live real-time sessions, whether it’s a live-streamed lecture or weekly office hours.
Platforms that enable users to build out cohort-based courses—including, yes, Maven and Mighty Networks—offer a few specific benefits, especially in comparison to platforms that only offer self-paced learning. Let’s explore ‘em.
What is the benefit of a cohort-based course platform?
The main benefit of cohort-based courses (and by that measure, the platforms that enable them), is that they enable a group of students to learn together. And that distinction is a big one.
The best way for a group of people to learn a new skill or navigate rapid change is to do so together. So while there are plenty of effective self-paced online course tools, creating a cohort-based course where members can learn together, navigate challenges together, and pick each other’s brains is way more productive. Both for you, the leader and creator, and for your members too.
Now that we’ve gone over what the benefits of cohort-based course platforms are, let’s go over the platforms we’re focusing on today: Maven and Mighty Networks.
Maven vs. Mighty Networks: Who are they?
Both Maven and Mighty Networks offer creators the opportunity to build and offer cohort-based courses. But the two platforms have some major differences, too.
Maven is a relatively new entrant to the game. It’s a platform dedicated to cohort-based courses and helping creators build and deliver engaging and interactive courses at scale. While the platform itself is super new, its site touts a focus on live, online community-driven courses and the people who teach them.
Mighty Networks is an online course platform that allows creators to build courses, communities, memberships, and virtual events together in one place, under your own brand, instantly available on the web, iOS, and Android.
With a Mighty Network, you can create courses in a variety of ways, including self-paced courses and (yep!) cohort-based courses.
Now that we have a fundamental understanding of what these two platforms are about, let’s get into what metrics we’ll use to compare Maven to Mighty Networks.
Maven vs. Mighty Networks: Judgement criteria
As you’re searching for the right cohort-based course platform for you and your potential or established members—whether you’re comparing Maven to Mighty Networks or to any other online teaching platform—there are a few key features to look out for to ensure the best experience for both sides.
A dedicated space for community and connection
The first thing we’ll look into when comparing Maven to Mighty Networks is what they offer in terms of community-forward features.
Cohort-based learning enables creators to build a community of engaged users around a shared interest. It would be a waste, then, to utilize an online course platform that didn’t have a dedicated space for your members to build connections with each other along the way.
The whole point of a cohort-based course is to give your students the chance to learn together: That means asking each other questions, having the room to collaborate, and offering each other a diversity of insights. And the platform you choose should allow you to enable and foster those connections before, during, and after your course.
In practice, that could look a few different ways. It could look like a dedicated activity feed where course members could share their work, insight, or ask questions. It could mean private direct messaging, where your members can connect one-on-one with each other. Perhaps it’s the ability to cheer and comment on each other’s posts. Or maybe it’s something on an even smaller scale, like voting on polls.
A robust set of native features
The next criteria we’ll look at for both Maven and Mighty Networks is where each of the platforms stands on native features.
This is a big one. The best cohort-based course platforms will largely rely on native features. After all, there’s a big difference between choosing a platform that enables you to seamlessly integrate discussion boards, live and recorded videos, and even paid memberships, all in one place, and another platform that requires you to sign up for a handful of third-party integrations to piece together something similar.
By going with a platform with largely native features, you’re saving yourself a lot of time, a lot of effort, and let’s be honest: a lot of money. This is especially true when you choose a platform that has integrated community-forward features (which means you won’t have to pay for and direct your members to an outside integration, like Slack or Discord).
You’re also giving yourself plenty of room to grow in the future. Sure, you might be starting with a course; but if you pick the right platform, you’ll be able to seamlessly add things like paid memberships and mastermind groups along the way.
A native mobile app
Lastly, when you’re looking to compare Maven and Mighty Networks and any other cohort-based course platform, look for whether or not there’s a mobile app.
Now, more than ever, we are super reliant on our phones and the quick access they give us to the things we care about. That’s true when it comes to course platforms, too! In that vein, keep an eye out for a cohort-based course platform that allows your course members access via the web, iOS, and Android. You’ll be able to offer a sense of privacy, offer a space with fewer distractions, and stay top of mind by essentially being in your members’ hands at all times.
With those key features established, let’s take a look at Maven and Mighty Networks and see just what each of the platforms offers.
Maven vs. Mighty Networks: Community-forward features
We’ve already established why cohort-based courses need community-forward features. Now let’s see how Maven and Mighty Networks compare.
Maven offers a super simplistic design for its cohort-based courses. But when it comes to community-forward features, there just aren’t many to speak of.
First off, there’s no way to get your course members to connect with each other within the Maven platform. That means if you’d like to give your course members the ability to connect with each other, give each other feedback on assignments, or otherwise collaborate, you’ll have to bring in a third-party app like Slack.
There is a member directory, but it’s pretty barebones. Members can see who else is in the cohort with them, and access links for their Twitter and LinkedIn accounts (if those members have chosen to provide said links). But members can’t create any sort of bio or about me, and they certainly can’t directly message each other within the app.
To be fair, Maven is pretty early in the game. But these are some essential features that could really make a difference.
Mighty Networks, on the other hand, offers course members plenty of ways to get in touch with each other during and after the course.
Within a course on a Mighty Network, course members can contribute to the Activity Feed, where they can post, cheer and comment. That means they can share their assignments, offer feedback, like each other’s posts, and more. And you can share things in the Activity Feed too, whether it’s a reminder to complete an assignment, additional resources, or a poll or question to get the conversation going.
Members can also message each other one-on-one within your Mighty Network, and learn more about each other via customizable member profiles.
As we mentioned before, this is a huge get for creators: The more engaged your members are, the more likely they are to spread the word about your course, upping the demand for your next cohort. It’s a win-win.
The winner: When it comes to comparing the community-based features of Maven and Mighty Networks, the latter wins by a long shot. With a Mighty Network, you can enable your members to learn together—which is a much more valuable experience for them and for you too.
Maven vs. Mighty Networks: Native features and tools
Here, we’ll compare what the native features and tools of Maven and Mighty Networks look like.
With Maven, there are little to no options for enabling native features within the platform. It’s pretty easy to connect to third-party integrations, but for some creators, using multiple platforms—Dropbox for course slides, Slack for messaging and communication, a link out to YouTube or Vimeo for recorded video—will be a lot to juggle.
Mighty Networks, on the other hand, has a pretty solid set of native features. As we discussed above, anyone can create posts on the Activity Feed within your course. And as the instructor, you can take advantage of native live video within your course, as well as images and audio clips.
If, down the line, you choose to expand your cohort-based course, a Mighty Network makes that easy too: whether it’s creating paid mastermind groups for different subsets of your courses, or building out a paid membership or community, Mighty Networks gives you plenty of room to grow.
The winner: Between Maven and Mighty Networks, Mighty Networks is the winner for native features. You get a lot of options within the platform, and you get to choose whether you want to rely on third-party integrations or not.
Maven vs. Mighty Networks: Mobile app availability
Lastly, let’s get into what Maven and Mighty Networks offer as far as mobile app availability.
As far as we can tell, Maven does not yet have any mobile app access. That’s a bummer: Course members being able to access course material from wherever they are, whenever they are, can both boost engagement (good for you!) and help them get that much closer to their own goals (good for them!).
With your own Mighty Network, your course material is available to your users via the web and the Mighty Network app available on iOS and Android. And if you’re looking for a white label solution, the Mighty Pro plan offers creators a chance to have their own branded app in the app store.
This is crucial: Your students or members will get a lot more out of their course if they can access it whenever they want.
The winner: Mighty Networks, hands down.
The winner: Mighty Networks
Both Maven and Mighty Networks help creators build cohort-based courses that help their course members get closer to achieving their goals. But one of these platforms offers a more robust way of getting there.
With a Mighty Network, you’ll be able to build a course where your members can communicate and collaborate with each other, which in turn A. helps them get more out of the course and B. encourages them to spread the word about how great your course is. And that’s awesome.
And because a Mighty Network is flush with community-forward, native features—and is available on the web, iOS, and Android— you won’t spend nearly as much time (or money!) worrying about which third-party integrations you can put together to build the perfect course. With a Mighty Network, you’re already there.
Ready to get started?