Maven co-founder Wes Kao

Courtesy of Wes Kao/Maven Cole Mitchell

Wes Kao, co-founder of Maven, wants to streamline cohort-based course creation for ‘knowledge influencers’

'One thing we can expect is a lot of creativity and innovation in the course category as more creators get involved.’


Grace Stanley

Internet Culture

Posted on May 5, 2022   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 6:07 pm CDT


This story was originally published on Passionfruit.

We’re sitting down with leaders on the business side of the creator economy to get their best advice for creators looking to launch and develop their careers. This week, we spoke with Wes Kao, the co-founder of Maven, about why she advocates for cohort-based learning and why Maven appeals to creators.

Maven is a cohort-based learning platform that allows creators to design and sell courses based on their areas of expertise. Besides operating Maven, Kao runs a newsletter and publishes essays about leadership, marketing, and online courses. She also has a Twitter account with over 125,500 followers. 

Wes Kao is a long-time believer in “cohort-based” learning programs. Cohort-based learning involves a group of students—a cohort—all moving through a syllabus together at the same time. Cohort-based learning is the opposite of asynchronous, mass online open courses, (MOOCs) where students move at their own pace through course content.

Kao said that cohort-based courses are far more engaging for learners than MOOCs, which have been criticized for low enrollment and completion rates. Over the past decade, cohort-based classes have risen in popularity, addressing common complaints about MOOCs. 

Cohort-based classes offer live feedback from a teacher and courses with set start and end dates. In real-time, groups of students are able to hold each other accountable, push each other to experiment with class material, and challenge each other’s ideas. 

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*First Published: May 5, 2022, 6:30 am CDT