The 21st century is an era of technological advancement, so all parts of our lives are trying their best to keep up with progress, including education. Online schools, visual classrooms, social media groups, YouTube courses—the number of options to get the knowledge you want is almost infinite. The need for e-learning became even more acute recently, with the pandemic, lockdowns, and unstable political and economic situations in the world. These factors forced people to adapt quickly to the new reality and go online.
One of the ways people continue to educate themselves online is via mobile apps. The owners of mobile devices can install whatever educational app they want and learn new things from literally any part of the world. No wonder the number of e-learning apps is growing every day.
If you want to join the market and help people learn and grow, you are at the right place. In this article, we will tell you about educational app development, its cost, and current trends.
Besides external circumstances pushing people to the online world, educational mobile apps have more reasons to be popular among people. Here are the most relevant ones:
Wide pool of options
Since online educational applications are available worldwide and not limited by any geographical borders, people have more choices to consider. They don’t have to only consider local schools, colleges, or other educational opportunities. Now, they can get access to learning materials and educational services from almost any place they want. Some people even combine online education with traditional schooling thanks to educational apps. However, there are plenty of competitors, so you need to be careful when finding your niche.
First of all, there are free mobile educational solutions. For example, some language learning apps like Duolingo allow you to learn new languages without spending a dime. But even if the app is paid or has a subscription model, it will still be cheaper than, for example, hiring a tutor. A mobile app doesn’t require serious investment, so it makes it more affordable for everyone.
If you own a smartphone, you can access any knowledge you want, whenever you want. Traditional schools, colleges, and universities are lacking the ability to be available at any time of day. There are only pre-determined slots when students can study and reach out to their teacher. With mobile educational applications, you can study whenever you want.
Besides being available 24/7, learning materials in education apps are usually presented in shorter sessions. This makes it easier to find time for education in today’s fast and busy world. If lessons don’t take long, users will be more likely to take them, thus increasing their productivity and efficiency.
Another advantage of mobile apps is the way that they teach. Unlike educational institutions or even online courses, mobile apps are entertaining to students. It doesn’t matter if the users are kids, teenagers, or adults, everyone loves to have fun. A good education app will provide you with interesting tasks and a reward system to facilitate learning.
Most educational apps allow you to create a profile with your name and picture where you can save your favorite lessons and follow your progress. You can choose whatever you want to learn in any possible form, whenever you can. This ultimate level of personalization makes mobile education even more appealing to people.
Last but not least, educational applications have a quite simple UX/UI design. They adapt to the smartphone screen that we all are so used to which makes them more appealing to users.
These reasons may seem a bit abstract, but they can be easily proved with numbers. Here are the most notable statistics on educational apps to show how mobile online education is rising:
In the first quarter of 2020, the global number of edu apps downloads reached 936 million. (Statista)
The global edtech investments reached $18.66 billion in 2019 with the US making 42.9% of it. (Insider)
The market of mobile learning can potentially reach $80.1 billion this year making it the fastest growing e-learning sector. (Globe News Wire)
E-learning increases the retention rate by 25-60%. (SH!FT)
The most popular educational apps in 2021 were Google Classroom, Toca Life World, and Duolingo. (Statista)
Now that we know that creating educational app development can be beneficial, we will move to the possible types of e-learning apps you can create.
The first step to take in building an education app is to choose its type. This doesn’t mean that you should limit yourself to one type only. You can easily mix features and add more modules to create a unique solution. But setting up the main direction will play a significant role in defining your target audience, development budget, and marketing strategy.
In 2023, it seems quite obvious that children spend a lot of time on their mobile phones and tablets. For example, Statista claims that around 15% of US kids are occupied with their devices for more than four hours a day. You can make this time beneficial for children by an app that will educate them.
Children can learn how to speak, read, and write with the help of their mobile phones. A good example of this is Encantos. This app contains dozens of stories, videos, and minigames that help kids learn more about the world.
You can also help your children learn with Fairy, a storytelling app created by the Yellow team.
A learning platform is a huge collection of various courses, classes, and webinars that users can access either free of charge or for a certain fee. If you are planning on creating this type of service, make sure you have a slick design and easy navigation for both students and tutors.
The most notable learning platforms that already have millions of users are Coursera, Udemy, and Skillshare.
If you are an expert in a certain industry and/or want to focus on one area of knowledge, your perfect choice will be a thematic learning app. It will be dedicated to one specific topic of your choice. For example, you can launch a language app or an application that will help people learn how to play guitar. It will help you narrow down your target audience and create more precise marketing campaigns.
Thematic learning apps to pay attention to are Duolingo, Mathway, and Simply Piano.
We already talked about gamification elements in learning apps, but when it comes to educational games, these elements become the app’s core. Most of them will be for children, since they love games, but it will require substantial research into child psychology. You can also think about a game for adults. We all have a little kid inside of us, don’t we?
MentalUP, Curious World, and Kahoot can be great examples for your market analysis.
Learning management systems (LMS) are usually used by corporations who want to organize a stable learning process among their employees. With the help of software like this, a company can create its own library of educational content that employees can access at any time. A good CMS should have progress tracking, offline mode, scheduling tools, and a sufficient level of personalization.
To name a few LMS solutions, we can mention TalentLMS, Adobe Learning Manager, Canvas, and Edmodo.
Besides LMS, there is another option available for teachers—classroom apps. These apps usually don’t provide learning functionality, but function as a management environment. Most of the time, teachers use them together with parents and students to keep an eye on the learning progress.
Google Classroom and ClassDojo will be your top competitors here.
Now that you know what type of app you want to create, we can move on to the next and most important stage—the development strategy. We will cover all steps of educational app development, from the first ideation process to post-launch support. These steps will help you reach your business goals, make the process more understandable for you and your team, and will enable you to build an educational app that will be welcomed by your audience.
Let’s start with the idea. A lot of businesses mistakenly think that an idea is everything they need to make an impression on their target audience. However, it’s not true: Your idea is only a part of the development process.
When it comes to educational applications, you need to carefully think about what you want to develop since the market already has more than 520,000 apps. For your solution to stand out from the crowd, follow the strategy described below.
The next step in the strategy will be to conduct market research. Two main parts you need to study are your target audience and your competitors. The following questions can help you do it.
For a target audience:
What is their demographic?
What do they do for a living?
What are their hobbies?
What is important to them?
What pain points do they have?
What are their strengths?
What are their weaknesses?
What is their mission?
How satisfied are their customers?
What is their marketing strategy?
When your research is done, you can move to the planning stage. It’s better for you to delegate this process to your in-house development team or to a software agency. They will be able to provide you with possible deadlines, the number of specialists, and other resources needed.
If you are looking for a dedicated team of professionals who have experience in working with education apps, drop us a line. We will provide an estimate for your idea and help you polish it.
When you are planning out how to create an educational app, you will need to think about the must-have features that your app should have. It’s a basic list for any edu app, so without these functionalities, you won’t be able to compete on the market.
User profile—To track progress and personalize the experience.
Menu—For easy navigation.
Storage—To store the app’s content and education materials.
Content itself—Depending on what learning materials you have, you can publish text, audio, or video lessons and/or make them interactive with quizzes and tests.
Search—For quick access to necessary materials.
To level up your app, you can consider boosting features like:
Audio and video calls—To implement this feature, you can learn more about how to make a video calling app.
The app’s design is a crucial element you need to pay attention to, especially if you are developing an educational app for kids. The design should be simple and intuitive so even the youngest kids can understand how to use it.
To make sure your app looks and feels as it should, we recommend starting with a prototype—a draft version of your project. It will help you notice and fix quick mistakes without additional expenses.
App architecture is a set of patterns, methods, and technologies that your software engineers will use to build your application. It will provide the team with a roadmap so they can clearly understand what and why they code.
Speaking about technologies, we have chosen an average tech stack that will work best for a learning app.
Programming language: Swift (for iOS), Java, Kotlin (for Android)
Sign-up/Sign-in: Amazon SES, Amazon SNS, Amazon Cognito, Firebase Authentication
Payments: Braintree, Stripe, PayPal
Push notifications: Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM), Twilio, PubNub
Database: MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB
Real-time communication: WebRTC, Twilio, Amazon Kinesis
You can discuss a more detailed tech stack with the educational app developers who work with you.
A minimum viable product (MVP) is the very first version of your app with only core features implemented. An MVP is created for testing purposes: It will help you understand if users really need your education app. If they respond to it with positive feedback, you just continue adding more features to build a full-scale product. If the feedback is negative, you collect it, analyze it, and fix your MVP accordingly.
The last stage is testing and launching your application. Your team can apply both manual and automated tests to ensure your learning platform will make a good first impression.
Depending on what platforms your app will work on, you will release your app in the Apple App Store or/and Google Play Store. Besides, it’s important to support your app after the release. Listen to what your users say and fix bugs in time. It will maintain a good relationship between you and your audience.
Knowing how to develop an educational app is not the only thing you need that will lead you to success. To receive a warm welcome from your target audience, you need to keep up with the relevant trends in e-learning app development. Here is a list of what you need to take into account.
It’s a known fact that people receive around 90% of the information around the world via their eyes. That is why creating a library of video courses and lectures is a good idea. Besides, the popularity of apps like TikTok and YouTube emphasizes the demand for good video content.
For now, all three abbreviations are perceived by many people as a kind of entertainment. But augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are making their way into other life areas. AR and VR can be used in education to train new employees and AI makes a perfect solution for building personalized recommendations.
We already mentioned that people love educational apps for a certain amount of gamification and we mean it. If you add fun to your studies, you will receive highly motivated, satisfied, and happy students who will return to your app again and again.
Today’s life is extremely fast-paced. People need to quickly change the focus of their attention and keep in mind a lot of things at once. That is why short and informative lessons are so valued today. If you create easily-understandable tasks that take 5 to 10 minutes to complete, your users will love you.
The question of budget is important and urgent for any business. E-learning is not an exception. If you want to build an educational app, you need to either plan the budget yourself (if you have enough tech background) or delegate it to your software services provider.
The cost of developing an education app can vary depending on multiple factors: the project’s scale, expected deadlines, team location, and their level of seniority. For example, here is the hourly rate of software engineers based on region:
One of the most influential factors is the number of hours required for the implementation of features. We can count the approximate numbers needed for an average education app. Here they are:
In total, you will pay $100,000-150,000 for education app development for one platform. Feel free to contact our specialists for a more detailed estimate.
Education application development can be quite expensive, so no wonder you will need a way to earn money from it. The most suitable way will depend on your app’s type and target audience. However, there are several options commonly used for learning apps:
It’s the fastest, yet quite a problematic way to make money from your app. The fee is charged when a user installs the app. But be careful with this monetization model: First of all, you need to set up a reasonable price for the features you offer (it can be a real challenge), and second, it’s possible for users to find a free app with similar functionality.
A freemium model means your app will offer a certain feature set for free, but the additional features will be available for a fee. You can charge users one time, or implement monthly or yearly subscriptions.
In-app advertisement is another popular way to monetize a learning app. However, you should know what is advertised in your app and how many times ads pop up, especially if you want to make an education app for children.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the most successful learning apps on the market.
You definitely know this owl, right? Duolingo is the world’s most popular app for learning foreign languages. You can choose any language you like from any part of the world, from Italian and German to Finnish and Indonesian. The app can even teach you Klingon from Star Trek and High Valyrian from Game of Thrones! Duolingo’s gamification elements help users learn new words in an entertaining way.
It’s quite clear from the app’s name that Mathway can help you with mathematical tasks. Whether it’s a basic math calculation or complex graphing, Mathway will provide you with a quick and understandable solution. You simply point your phone’s camera to the question, snap a photo, and get your results.
Coursera is one of the most popular global educational platforms. It has more than 5,000 courses on various topics like Business, Data Science, Digital Marketing, Health, and Personal Development. 82 million people have already registered on the platform and now receive degrees and certificates online.
If you are a teacher who wants to digitize their studies, Google Classroom is what you need. Classroom is a free-to-use service that allows teachers to assign tasks to students, collect the results, and grade them. The service is also useful for students: They can keep track of their assignments and quickly start working on them.
Brainly works almost the same way as Mathway: You take a picture of your question and get a quick answer. But Brainly doesn’t limit itself to math only. You can get expert-verified answers to almost any question you have. You can also chat directly with tutors to get help with homework and learn more about your question.
Flashcards are considered an efficient and fun way to learn new things. If you want to go paperless with it, you can use Quizlet. The app has more than 500 million sets of cards on various topics so you can easily find what you want. However, if there is nothing suitable for you, create a set of cards for yourself. In order not to get trapped in the survivor bias, you can also learn the stories of startups that failed for various reasons even if they are not directly related to education. Services like the Startup Graveyard will help you understand the possible challenges and avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
That’s it! The article is complete and now you know how to develop an educational app, its costs, ways to make money, and the most prominent success stories in the industry. If you have all the stages covered, you can start turning your idea into reality.
We have already helped a lot of businesses create and release educational mobile solutions. Now, our specialists are ready to help you do the same. We apply all the experience we earned on previous projects to your tasks and communicate with you daily to make sure your app will rock the stage. If you want to discuss your idea, drop us a line.
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📚 Why are educational apps popular?
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