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E-learning Application Development: Features and Cost

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Yuri Musienko
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Innovative technologies are changing the look of familiar things. Now progress has also touched such a seemingly well-established sphere as training, making it even more interesting and convenient. Now it is possible to find an application for almost any direction and study without leaving home at any time. All you need to do is install the app on your smartphone or tablet. The digital education trend has become so popular that the world's leading universities have adopted it. In this article, we will talk about developing applications, consider the features of programs and development cost.

E-learning in numbers

The German company Statista, specializing in consumer and market data, provided a report, according to which the digital learning market will grow to 243 billion US dollars by 2022.

There is also the following statistical information:

  • about 64% of students prefer to view educational materials using mobile devices;
  • applications are widely popular among smartphone and tablet users (about 90% of respondents actively download programs in the Play Market and App Store);
  • users of smart devices show greater efficiency in acquiring knowledge and skills in comparison with people who do not use mobile gadgets.
The American Institute of Public Opinion Gallup also conducted a survey in which more than 71% of people called the concept of e-learning more understandable and accessible than the traditional one.

Main types of e-learning apps

The digital learning app market niche offers products for different target audiences and situations. The classification is carried out in two types:
  • by teaching method;
  • by target audience (TA).
Let's consider each of them in more detail.

By teaching method

This category is divided into several types. So that you can choose the right one, we will analyze them with some examples.
  1. Computer training CML. Here the study is carried out by computers. They also manage the process and evaluate the results. Coursera is considered a good example. Each of the courses on this site includes training videos and text materials, followed by a quiz and assignments for assessment.
  2. Computer training CAI. This methodology is an electronic manual that uses various teaching methods - video, audio and text materials. Such software is often used in schools and colleges as an addition to the main learning process.
  3. Synchronous online learning - SOL. In this case, students and teachers interact with each other from different points, but at the same time. Chats, video calls, etc. are used for communication. WizIQ is considered a striking representative of synchronous platforms. It has virtual classrooms with video calls, chat and online quizzes.
  4. Asynchronous learning - AOL. On such platforms, students learn without interacting with each other, users enter at different times. E-learning websites like Udemy are based on this self-study. Users study the chosen course with an intensity convenient for them personally.
  5. Fixed and adaptive learning. The main feature of the fixed learning process is that all users receive the same material. The platforms Udemy and Coursera mentioned above work just like that. In adaptive learning, the material is selected according to the needs and abilities of each student. ScootPad is a great example of a responsive platform.
  6. Interactive training online. Here a dialogue takes place between students and the platform in the form of quizzes, tests, polls. This technique allows you to master the material well and completely immerse yourself in the educational process. Codecademy platform uses this method for courses in programming languages.
  7. Individual training - IOL. Here each student independently studies the material and achieves the task. An example of such a platform is Khan Academy.
Below we will consider the division by the target audience.

By the target audience

There are 5 target audience groups in the digital learning industry:
  • college or university students;
  • tutors and children;
  • people who learn something all their life;
  • learners of languages and their native speakers;
  • specialists in various fields.
Determining the target audience is very important, since it is impossible to make an application without understanding which people will use it.

Initial stages of development

Now let's take a look at how to start creating an eLearning application. Let's divide our actions in stages.

Stage 1 - market analysis

Without confirmation of the uniqueness of your own idea, the future demand from a certain target audience, you cannot start development. It is necessary to carefully analyze competitors in a separate niche that you have chosen, find out what they offer, and inquire about the response of users to their products. For this, SWOT analysis will become an effective tool. It can be used to identify:
  • strengths and weaknesses;
  • opportunities that will help create a quality product;
  • external threats that can affect success.
This analysis will help you plan your future business strategy.

Stage №2 - determination of target audience

This item will help to establish your target audience, potential users of the application. It is necessary to identify their main needs and wishes, approximate age, and so on. This will help to more accurately compile a list of future features for subsequent implementation.

Stage №3 – work on UI / UX design

This stage is determined by the future target audience. For example, a platform for children's learning should be bright, fun, elementary in management. It is better to create an application for an older user in a calm color scheme with a simple and intuitive interface. In both cases, the main thing is to adhere to brevity. Overloaded design can stress and scare users away.

Stage №4 –MVP features

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a version of the platform with a set of specific options that provide the core functionality. In other words, the minimum number of features to meet the needs of first users. The main advantages of MVP are quick entry to the consumer market due to the emphasis on the most important options and lower product development costs. Moreover, there is always a huge space for subsequent actions. After the release, you can add new features to the application. MVP also makes it possible to understand how the released product matches the market with minimal cost, and subsequently make adjustments to the strategy.

Stage №5 – choosing the monetization method

According to the data, e-learning apps are in the TOP 5 most profitable ways to monetize.

Among such sites, there are several of the most popular models of monetization:

Payment for the course.

Everything is clear from the specified name. Users pay for each course and have access to it. This is how most learning platforms work.


This is another well-known model. In order to access the content of the site, the user needs to pay a certain amount.


This monetization model is the most risky. Most often it is used by non-commercial projects. Anyone who chooses it for their future application should understand that they will have to deal with content very closely in order to keep the interest of users.

Another way to monetize is placing ads in your application.

Main platform functions

Regardless of what type of application is chosen, and what target audience is expected, the future product should contain the necessary set of functions.

Registration and account management

All users (students and teachers) go through the identification procedure. The most popular way to use an email address or phone number and password. You can add a quick registration button via social networks like Facebook.

Talking about student account management, the account may display the following information:

  • user data with photo;
  • list of active and completed courses;
  • information about grades, received certificates;
  • purchase history;
The teacher's profile must contain information about the academic degree and / or institution that he represents, and a list of courses.


The learning platform is primarily a directory where learning materials are posted. Many sites offer the following tools:
  • search bar for entering keywords;
  • categories (on the main page);
  • filters - by language, cost, level;
  • recommendations similar to the selected or popular courses.
These tools make it easy to find the right course.

Control panel

This feature helps students and teachers get useful information about the work done and track their own progress. For example, students see the number of courses, hours spent, and so on. Teachers can see their rating, attendance, income.

Each course page

Most of the courses consist of videos, podcasts, interactive tutorials or online chats. Some sites add elements of the game for more interest to the participants. For each course there should be a page with its description, data about the authors and a list of materials and topics. Also, a certificate is required confirming that the person has completed this course. Developers create it manually or automatically. It's a good idea to add people's feedback on the course. They build trust with potential customers.

Payment methods

In any paid courses, students should be comfortable with paying for them, and teachers should be able to receive their earnings. When it comes to finances, you need to choose the most secure payment method. These can be bank cards, popular payment systems, and so on.


You can notify students about new courses, events or promotions by sending notifications to their email address or messengers. The main thing is to do it not too intrusively. For example, reporting every updated course is not a good idea. And a monthly notification can be helpful.

Admin panel

This function is needed to manage content on the platform, edit, update and delete courses, notifications, and so on.

How much does it cost to develop an e-learning app

Three aspects play a major role in determining cost.
  1. The complexity and possibilities of the future application. If the platform contains only basic functionality, the price of its development will be somewhat cheaper. When it comes to adding a variety of options like interactive, audio or video, prices go up.
  2. The number of platforms. If the app is being developed for Android only or iOS only, that's one price. When you need to create a product for multiple platforms, the cost will increase.
  3. The number of the development team. This aspect is directly related to the first item on this list. The more complex the program, the more versatile specialists you will need to pay for their work.
The total cost of developing an application is calculated in hours of work of each specialist involved in the project. The average cost of one hour is approximately $ 50-60. The project as a whole takes about 2 thousand hours. Consequently, creating an e-learning application will cost approximately US $ 100,000-120,000.

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