How to Make an e-Learning Platform
E-learning software development is of the highest relevance these days. Learn how much the services of related devs cost and what type of functionality to settle.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote communication solutions used to be in pretty high demand. Especially, when it comes to professional training and education - everyone wants to find the best source of knowledge for themselves and, at the same time, sacrifice minimum personal time. Obviously, the best solution to this issue is to create an e-learning marketplace. Let’s talk about the specifics of its development and related costs.
Market of e-Learning Platforms — Overview
Websites like Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity offer tens of thousands of both paid and free courses in various fields - the exact sciences, humanities, culinary arts, and many non-trivial types of activities. All of them can usually be accessed through mobile as well. The range of training programs, however, isn’t everything that makes a particular data platform reputable and demanded.
The thing is, all of these sites collaborate with real educational institutions that boast an excellent global reputation. Therefore, even if you live in the eastern hemisphere, it won’t be difficult to get educated by the leading teachers of, for instance, Yale University.
Thus, currently, Coursera offers training programs by 150 universities, offering a full-fledged alternative to the traditional offline form of education with almost three thousand courses. At the same time, the site manages to maintain an extremely acceptable cost for its courses - as a rule, their average cost is about $50 per month.
An alternative platform for distance education is Udemy providing over 100 thousand online courses. Udemy is also responsible for the quality of teaching materials, providing access to the download of its course only to registered, verified teachers.
Lastly, a few words about Udacity. It is a platform that issues nano diplomas, which are considered an official document. They are readily recognized when applying for jobs at companies like Google, AT&T, Autodesk, Cloudera, Salesforce, and other large companies.
Learning Management Systems
The market isn’t limited to the online course format of educational resources, however. There are different types of platforms if we go a bit deeper into the topic. Like Moodle and its analogs, for example.
Moodle is a global platform that helps organize the efficient remote interaction between teachers and students. Thus, using Moodle, teachers can create traditional courses, filling them with rich content - files, pictures, videos, tests, etc., as well as implement an interactive training features.
Based on the results of the students' assignments, the teacher can put marks and give comments. On top of that, various plugins allow using extra features, such as video streaming, access rights, payment gateways, game elements, screen sharing, whiteboard, etc.
To work with Moodle, users just need to launch the platform in a web browser. It is a full-on Learning Management System (LMS), which is currently used in more than 30,000 educational institutions around the world, with 80 localizations.
As you can see, the main market players bear big names, so it will not be easy to make a solution worthy of competition. But you can and definitely should try.
List of Major e-Learning Website Features
In order to understand how to make an online learning service most properly, it is important to wrap your head around the essential aspects an MVP should have. The basic set of features depends on the type of e-learning website, and can include:
- user authorization and authentication form;
- 2 options of a user cabinet - for students and for teachers;
- audio and video calls;
- online whiteboard;
- course pages;
- a shopping cart;
- course download pages;
- a message inbox;
- an admin panel (basically, a graphic interface for platform managers).
You can go for all the other miscellaneous e-learning platform features at will based on the concept of your startup.
The Essential Steps Towards Successful LMS Development
There are numerous nuances and special aspects to up-to-date LMS development. These consecutive steps will help you handle the whole deal in the most proper way and order.
Target audience analysis
A fundamental step in the implementation of any project to be marketed. Even such a seemingly well-studied niche as remote learning requires proper knowledge of the target audience. What is the age range of your potential users? What are they interested in? What is their social status? What are the essential pain points (this will be useful when developing a unique selling point), etc.
Apart from that, you should also analyze similar solutions (like the ones we highlight at the beginning of the article) to get an idea of how to make an e-learning platform that would truly stand out in the market.
Search for devs
Once you form the big idea of what your future product should look like, it’s time to find developers. Certainly, in the age of advanced IT, it seems very simple to find experts with a required stack of technologies and fitting rates. However, in practice, such an abundance of choice, on the contrary, complicates the search process.
The main thing is to understand what e-learning website features you want to get as a result. If you want the software to be completely custom, then it makes sense to look for developers who already have similar remote learning solutions done in their portfolio. If you want to minimize the budget and timelines, then maybe you just need a PaaS vendor that provides services in the niche. In this case, you just select one of the readymade templates and customize it according to your preferences.
Search for reputable teachers
Lastly, you must take care of the overall quality of the material you offer with your software. All of the popular web resources in the niche won their “place in the sun” precisely due to their providing unique knowledge gathered by the world’s top teachers. Therefore, a rather difficult task arises before you - to find those who would provide you with high-quality content.
As an option, you can create a multi-stage registration system, like Udemy - for example, check potential teachers for diplomas, a certain work experience, and other regalia.
What solutions, technologies, & API to use in e-learning marketplace development?
Now, for a few words about the strictly technical side of e-learning marketplace development.
- integration of a tool for electronic payments (for example, Stripe);
- video conferencing capabilities (Kurento WebRTC);
- connection of email newsletter (Newsletter API will come in handy), etc.
We also strongly recommend that you use at least one trending technology on your platform in order to make it as up-to-date as possible. In this regard, the integration of augmented and/or virtual reality elements would be perfect (in courses, there will probably be something that can be visualized in the format of 3D objects).
How Much Does a New e-Learning Platform Cost to Create?
The question of the final cost to develop an e-learning marketplace must be the most sought-after to clarify. In practice, the number here can vary based on:
- the region of implementation - US-based developers have the highest rates on the market — $70 per man hour on average;
- he complexity of the project - if you want to integrate a whiteboard, a video chat, AR elements, multiple localizations, etc., you will need to prepare for extra expenses that are likely to go over the essential MVP costs.
Calculating an approximate cost to develop an e-learning marketplace
Focus on the required man hours. Thus, building frontend usually takes about 900 man hours. The backend requires approximately the same time frame to finish. Quality Assurance takes about 250 man-hours, however, the rates for QA testers are significantly lower than the developers’ pricing (by about 1.5x). Further on, you should be ready to also dedicate a good part of the budget to project management (which takes about 200 man-hours) and DevOps, if the application is complicated and automation is needed (about 100 man hours).
In total, with the developers’ rate of $30 per man hour, testers and managers’ rate of $20 per man hour (these are the standard rates for Ukrainian outsourcing companies), we get an approximate amount of $66,000.
Surely, our calculations of average e-learning web development costs are very approximate, and, in order to understand how much your exact project will cost you, it is better to contact the employees of your preferred development company directly.
Our e-Learning Platform Development Experience
We’d like to use a moment to share our own personal experience in the professional e-Learning platform development.
Some time ago, we were tasked to build an LMS, which would bring together students and teachers. The focused target audience was based in Asian countries. The main requirement of the client was not just to create an e-learning website, but to implement convenient video conferencing, which could boast of its interactivity (that is, we needed to develop something like a dashboard). At the same time, it was very important to adhere to the minimum costs for the technologies used, because rarely do startups bring in significant revenues initially.
As a result, after having had researched the fitting technical solutions, we came up with the most affordable one to provide low-latency video streaming. The client was utterly satisfied with the created solution and the project was launched into the release. Up to date, this LMS development project has been fully completed and provided with continuous tech support.
We hope to have clarified the question of how to create an e-learning website. If you still have questions, share in the comments. If you would like to discuss your future e-learning software development project in more detail, you’re most welcomed to contact us! We will select the optimal technology stack for your particular concept so that the invested funds pay off as quickly as possible and your site takes a top position in its niche.