The fast pace of modern life makes people experience their routines "on the go," be it a cup of coffee or a self-awareness course. Education, self-development, and personal growth are now accessible within the small screens of our smartphones. It's no wonder that e-learning apps are the second runner-up in popularity on the App Store, beaten only by Games and Business. As for Google Play, e-learning apps take even a higher second place.
Learning is no easy task. However, e-learning app development is hardly easier. It takes product development expertise, domain knowledge, and tech skill to develop an e-learning app, that stands the tough market competition.
This article provides a short take on the most popular types of e-learning apps, the tech trends driving them forward, and the specifics of e-learning app development.
So let’s dive right in!
What Are E-Learning Apps and When Did They Become So Popular?
Before talking about e-learning application development, let’s find out what e-learning apps there are. E-learning is an umbrella term for “educational” mobile and web software designed to deliver professional, personal, and physical development services. Nowadays, e-learning apps include online educational courses, coaching services, and services aimed at helping people acquire expertise, knowledge and skills in a particular niche.
The wide adoption of e-learning apps dates back to the 1990s and is linked with the widespread use of the Internet. As mobile technology becomes more available, so is the spike in the number of mobile users. Low-cost and efficient e-learning apps soon became a popular trend.
It is fair to say that coronavirus is an essential driver of the growth and popularity of e-learning application development. According to Statista the sharp rise in e-learning apps’ popularity during the first quarter of 2020 has induced the growing interest in educational app development.
Here is a list of reasons that stand behind the e-learning apps’ popularity:
- Self-help culture: personal improvement is among the guiding values of the millennials’ and zoomers’ generations. Modern users are more eager to improve the quality of their lives than the previous generations;
- Convenience: self-improvement should be flexible, affordable, and “portable” to better suit the pace of modern lives. Mobile apps are the best solution in this situation;
- User engagement: self-improvement can only be effective when it is interactive and engaging. Mobile apps make games and interaction an essential part of the learning process;
- Personalization: mobile apps help to maximally customize the learning routine to the schedule and rhythm of users;
- Productivity tracking: it is vital to see that the process is adequate and the time is not squandered.
With such a massive demand for e-learning apps, e-learning application development companies enjoy ample benefits in building such software. Here are the reasons why you should invest in e-learning app development:
- Profit opportunities. People have always strived for improvement, and this process is unlikely to decline in the nearest future. There are abundant opportunities for businesses to create apps that will enjoy a high user demand.
- Leveraging tech trends. Technological advances catalyze the e-learning app development industry, and those apps that take advantage of the tech trends have the competitive edge in the market.
- Opportunity to make a change. Developing an e-learning app is an excellent opportunity to make an impact by tapping into available resources.
Why Develop E-Learning Apps?
Before actual e-learning mobile app development, it is important to make it clear why you’re doing it in the first place. Though it seems like the idea of education is hardly arguable and needs no validation. But why is it beneficial to develop e-learning apps from a business perspective? Well, this one needs some compelling arguments. Here’re they are:
New Revenue Streams
Businesses can monetize e-learning content, courses, certifications, and premium features. Subscriptions, one-time purchases, or corporate partnerships can be lucrative sources of income.
Traditional training programs often require physical infrastructure, trainers, printed materials, and possibly travel and accommodation. E-learning can significantly reduce or eliminate these costs.
Scalable Business Model
Unlike physical classrooms, e-learning apps can cater to thousands or even millions of users simultaneously. As the user base grows, the costs don't necessarily grow proportionally, leading to economies of scale.
Data Collection & Analytics
E-learning platforms can gather user data, providing insights into user behavior, preferences, and areas for improvement. This data can be invaluable for business strategy and marketing.
Subscription-based models, where users pay a regular fee to access content, can generate a stable and predictable revenue stream for businesses.
Reduced Time to Market
Digital courses can be produced, refined, and launched more quickly than traditional educational content or training programs, allowing businesses to respond rapidly to market demand.
Top 3 Technological Advances That Will Help In E-Learning App Development
Technologies are ever-changing and emerging innovations influence the e-learning industry. Here are the advances with the largest impact on the industry right now:
How AI Helps Personalization
E-learning app development companies are now struggling with systematization of massive amounts of information. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in tackling information flow and tailoring it to the users' preferences.
AI bots are now accountable for generating about 20% of the content, and provide about 85% of customer service interactions. Thus, AI makes learning more personalized via content recommendations, role-based-learning, and auto-generated learning content.
For example, the math learning app Thinkster Math enriches learning experience by analyzing how students answer different questions. Based on this data, the app suggests question-targeted feedback for self-improvement and a more practical approach.
Power of Gamification
The role of gamification in e-learning app development is rising. It may seem that gamification is all about fun and entertainment. Though it is indeed, the introduction of games into the learning process also generates substantial benefits to some extent. First of all, games provide instant interaction with an application. Gamification includes using game mechanics and visual storytelling in the educational process to drive user engagement.
Games come in especially handy in e-learning app development for children. Arcades, quizzes, and quests stimulate kids’ imagination, engagement, and motivation in studying. Children get to know that learning is not about tedious hours over a book. Instead, they learn that exploring the world and learning things can be fun and exciting.
Just a little statistics to prove the case:
- 80% of learners said online learning would be more effective if it featured gamification;
- 67% of students reported that a gamified course was more motivating than a traditional one.
Duolingo is a vivid example of a language learning app using gamification. Besides learning the language grammar, users are set to complete tests and get rewards, badges, and achievements after completing the course.
Entertain the User with Augmented & Virtual Reality
The traditional blackboard scribbling has become a thing of the past. 360-degree visuals, graphics overlays, and an explorable interface are the new ways of transferring knowledge. Big corporations and organizations use VR/AR to train their newbie employees to apply newly-acquired knowledge in a safe environment.
NarratorAR is an excellent example of an educational app using AR. This is an app for children, teaching them how to write interactively and engagingly. The software enhances the letters children write by applying special effects and turning handwriting into an enthralling experience.
Educational Apps: Categories, Statistics and Trends
Online courses, language learning apps, digital dictionaries, and knowledge base apps – all these apps come under a single term – educational software. These websites and apps are designed for users to gain knowledge by making the process mobile, practical, and interactive.
As far as revenue is concerned, educational apps are on an unstoppable growth in the coming years.
The lucrativeness of e-learning app development spurs unrelated companies to make moves in the direction of e-learning. For example, in May 2020, TikTok announced its desire to encourage self-education among its community. To that end, the company started its new #LearnOnTikTok platform and assigned $14.6 million of investments to hire various institutions and experts with experience in creating engaging educational content.
A great example of educational solutions is the Ukrainian platform Prometheus, for which, Uptech built iOS and Android apps. This educational space combines lectures, interactive quizzes, and forums available for free anytime and from anywhere. The platform cooperates with top professionals and teachers, who provide video courses on business management, data analysis, or marketing strategy.
Classroom Management Apps
These types of platforms are designed to smoothen the communication between pupils and teachers while interacting online. Classroom management apps are usually multifunctional, combining many integrated tools for teacher-student collaboration.
As Sensortower reports, Google Classroom now tops the most downloadable app list with over 14.8 million installs. The app unites Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, Google Sites, Gmail into a single suit to help educational institutions adopt a paperless system. The platform manages pupil-teacher communication in a single space, where teachers can give assignments, manage grades, and archive courses.
Language Learning Software
This software is a vivid example of using gamification in the learning process. Such apps for learning can help learners build their vocabulary, develop proper grammar, and eventually become fluent through well-prepared and structured online lessons.
For example, Duolingo is a tool specially designed for learning new languages, from the most widespread to some exotic ones. The app can calculate the progress by dividing all knowledge into levels. This is how it also increases retention and completion.
Online Educational Courses
The Internet is now overloaded with a variety of online courses, with Coursera leading the pack. Coursera is a multi-faceted platform that collaborates with top universities and colleges to provide online courses in various spheres.
Another example of an online education platform providing online courses is Prometheus – an e-learning platform that offers free online courses from the best Ukrainian universities. Uptech team worked on Prometheus as part of its Social Responsibility development program. As a result, our team built iOS and Android apps for Prometheus, which helps students learn on the go.
Protip: While online course creators largely focus on adults and children as their target audience, there is one unobvious option – businesses. More and more corporations today are unveiling the importance of investing their employees’ education. So look through a broader lens and target your educational solutions on businesses as well.
Learning Management Apps
The main goal of learning management apps is to provide a centralized platform where educational institutions or corporations can host, manage, and track courses and training. The examples of such e-learning apps are Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, while the common features are:
- Course Creation
- Student Management:
- Assessment Tools
- Collaborative Tools
- Certificates & Badges
Interactive Platforms and Coding Bootcamps
The next e-learning app type is interactive platforms and coding bootcamps. You have most likely met such apps like Codecademy, Udemy, Pluralsight, Treehouse – the most popular e-learning platforms for developers.
The common features for this type of e-learning app will be:
- Interactive Coding Environments; .
- Project-Based Learning;
- Gamified Learning;
- Community & Support;
- Progress Tracking.
Internship and Job-Seeking Marketplace
This one is an app type which is a specialized marketplace seamlessly connecting students with curated internship and job opportunities, ensuring a tailored match between academic pursuits and professional aspirations, and providing a dedicated platform for young talent to kick start their career journeys.
An example of such a marketplace is Studenten – an online job and internship opportunity marketplace, which is also Uptech’s case on a profile. For Studenten we built a mix of a catchy UX design and functional platform with multiple user roles.
Coaching apps are usually platforms that connect two types of users: mentors (coaches) and learners. That’s why these solutions typically impact both consumers and gurus, allowing the latter to reach wider audiences and help the former to enjoy affordable coaching support instantly.
Statistics show that Millennials spend twice as much money as Baby Boomers on digital self-improvement such as coaching and well-being applications. Covid-19 has driven users to mobile software as the preferred platform for coaching services.
Probably the best example of an e-learning app is the Masterclass platform. This is an EdTech startup launched by David Rogier and Aaron Rasmussen that provides classes and lectures by famous people. From storytelling courses by Stephen King to business management and negotiation by Bob Iger, the service covers a myriad of categories.
Another example is a coaching mobile app named Mindbloom. In this coaching solution, users can communicate and motivate each other for self-improvement. In essence, this is a social gaming platform that helps users reach their life goals and feel more satisfied with their lives. Users can send inspirational messages in Mindbloom’s in-app chat, track and compare each other’s progress and congratulate each other on their achievements.
How to Develop E-Learning App: 8 Steps to Success
So what does it take to develop a five-star e-learning app besides the product, tech and niche expertise? Action!
Here’re 8 steps that you should take to develop an average e-learning app:
Step 1. Market Research
Identify the target audience you want to cater to and analyze the competitors in the market to understand their strengths and weaknesses. This stage also requires you to get a grasp of the market trends and the technological advancements that are shaping the e-learning landscape.
Step 2. Set Your Goals
Decide on the type of courses or content you aim to offer, be it academic subjects, skills-based training, or hobby-related tutorials. At this point, it's also vital to pinpoint your unique value proposition. Ask yourself what will make your app stand out or what features can make it more desirable than the existing solutions.
Step 3. Design & Prototyping
This is where you conceptualize the user experience and design the user interface of your app. Draft the primary sketches of the app layout and create a prototype to visualize the user journey. This prototype will be a fundamental tool in getting early feedback and making iterative improvements.
Step 4.E-Learning Software Development
Here, you'll work on building the backend (which involves server, database, and application setup) and the frontend (the user interface) of your app. Depending on the target audience, you might want to develop your app for multiple platforms, such as Android, iOS, or web.
Step 5.Content Creation
High-quality, engaging content is the heart of any e-learning app. This could involve filming video lectures, designing interactive quizzes, or creating infographics and other learning aids.
Step 6.Testing Phase
Rigorous testing is crucial to ensure there are no bugs, the user experience is smooth, and the app performs well under various conditions. This phase might require multiple iterations as issues are identified and fixed.
Step 7.Product Launch
Deploy your e-learning app on the desired platforms, such as the App Store, Google Play, or a web hosting service. It's wise to have a soft launch first, targeting a smaller audience, to gather initial feedback before a full-scale launch.
Step 8.Marketing & User Acquisition
Utilize digital marketing strategies, partnerships, and promotional offers to attract users. Since e-learning platforms often rely on network effects (where the platform becomes more valuable as more people use it), initial user acquisition can be crucial.
Must-Have Features of E-Learning Apps
There are many types of e-learning apps, and there will be a different set of must-have features for each. But here is an essential list of features that a learning app must have:
Registration and Personal Account
Allow users to sign up, log in, and manage their profiles. This creates a personalized experience, enabling users to track their progress, save courses, and manage settings.
The sign-in functionality allows the user to have their dashboard, manage the progress, get messages, and collect rewards.
E-learning platforms are multi-role apps, which means that you need to build a personal user account for:
Each of these user accounts will have its list of features. For example, the teacher might be able to create a course and chat with users.
Protip: My recommendation is to make the user’s account as personalized as possible. For example, the user can have a personal dashboard to track their studying progress. Also, the user can see recommendations for the courses they should study next.
Course Catalog & Search Functionality
Provide a comprehensive list of available courses or modules. An intuitive search function, along with filters by category, difficulty level, or instructor, helps users easily find the content they're looking for.
Content Management System
A content management system is an essential part of an e-learning app. Online courses usually include many video lessons, audio recordings, PDF files, and articles. Teachers must be allowed to have access to the content management system to upload new videos and homework.
Interactive Quizzes & Assessments
Enable users to test their understanding of the material. Immediate feedback, score tracking, and answer explanations can enhance the learning experience.
Display a user's advancement through courses or modules. Features like progress bars, badges, or completion percentages can motivate and guide the learner.
Integrated Payment System
If your app offers premium content, ensure a secure and seamless payment process. This might include subscription options, one-time payments, or coupon code integrations.
User Feedback & Ratings
Encourage users to rate courses and provide feedback, helping instructors improve content and guiding potential learners in course selection.
Dashboard & Analytics
Provide users with a dashboard showing their achievements, hours spent, courses completed, and more. Analytics can also offer insights into areas of strength and needed improvement.
Technical Support & Help Center
Offer easily accessible support options, FAQs, or chatbots to assist users with any issues or queries they might encounter.
Integration with Other Tools
Depending on your target audience, integrating with tools like calendars, third-party resources, or even job boards can enhance the value of your e-learning platform.
You should introduce a chatting feature to allow for communication between the teacher and the student. This can be a custom developed chatting app or integration from a third party, like Sendbird.
Be kind to your users, and remind them if they are late for the class via push notifications. Also, you can send reminders that the assignment needs to be completed in a couple of days. Or congratulate your students on a successful finish of the course!
Cost of Developing an E-Learning App
It will not be surprising if I tell you that the cost of an e-learning app will depend on several factors:
- The complexity of features and design;
- Time of development;
- Location of the development team;
Complexity of Features
The cost of developing an e-learning app with basic features will be about $10,000-$30,000 (very approximately, though). However, if you want your e-learning application to include more advanced features, the overall cost will likely be higher than the average number.
Time of Development
Here is an approximate cost breakdown for the time development of the basic set of e-learning app features:
Location of Team
The location of the outsource team is an essential factor influencing the cost of the e-learning app development. Here is how the hourly rates will differ depending on the region of development:
To feel more confident about your e-learning app development cost estimation, check this cost breakdown by features:
The above costs are rough estimates and can vary based on the specifics of the project, unforeseen complexities, additional features, and factors like the choice of technology stack. The total cost can also be affected by post-launch expenses, such as maintenance, updates, hosting, and marketing. It's always recommended to get quotes from multiple development companies or freelancers to get a more precise estimate tailored to your unique requirements.
As people strive for constant improvement, the number of e-learning apps keeps growing. Developing e-learning apps lets you get an assured high user demand and an opportunity to impact broad audiences positively.
Let’s make a change together! Uptech is always eager to support ideas that make the world a better place to live in. Tell us about your product’s vision, and we will work together to implement it.