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The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every market sector, and the education industry is no exception. Today more and more people prefer to study anytime and anywhere using only a smartphone. 


According to Statista, by 2026, the total market for eLearning worldwide is expected to grow by over $370 billion. The education market is quickly becoming a growing source of income. So, if you're going to build an educational app, this article is for you. 


Keep reading to find valuable insights about what features are a must, how to choose a proper tech stack, what development challenges you may face, and how to overcome them. We will provide you with approximate educational app development costs and share Onix-Systems experience. Enjoy!



First, let's consider how promising an eLearning industry can be. Below we've gathered some essential information you should know about the EdTech market.



As you can see, education mobile app development is a very promising idea. The EdTech market is only gaining momentum, and it's a great time to enter it with your own custom solution.


But what features should a custom application contain?


Now we’ve come to an exciting and vital part – functionality. Let's look at must-have features to consider before starting mobile learning app development.


What are the must-have features for a winning educational app?

Educational mobile app development cost consists of multiple factors, including the number of necessary features. As a rule, a mobile education app has two types of users: teachers and students. Below we list the key features that you should include in your education app development. Let’s dive in!


Must-have features for teachers


Authorization. Teachers log into the system via email or phone numbers to create their profiles and start using the app.


A teacher’s profile. Teachers create their profiles with personal data such as name, job title, courses offered, certificates, etc.


Student management. This feature is represented by a dashboard where teachers can quickly and effectively manage students' information, view their tests, leave comments about completed tasks, and give marks.

Course management. This feature enables teachers to add, edit, or remove courses. Using this feature, teachers can upload videos, photos, PDF documents, interactive exercises to test knowledge, and other learning materials.


Notifications. Teachers can receive notifications about upcoming courses, new students on their course, completed tasks, etc.


Must-have features for students


Authorization. To start using an app and pass needed courses, students log in to the system via email, phone number, or social media and create their profiles.


A student profile. Students create their profiles and provide personal information like name, age, location, goals, subject, etc.


The search for courses. This feature allows students to find desired courses. They can view the course program, information about teachers, price, reviews, and other details. 


A student dashboard. This comprehensive dashboard provides students with all needed information such as purchased courses, current courses, the student’s progress, linked teachers, schedule of upcoming lessons or exams.


Payments. This feature allows students to pay for their courses. Usually, students pay for courses or subscriptions. Make sure this feature is easy to use and secure. To implement the payment feature, you can integrate a secure payment gateway using a payment platform like Stripe or PayPal.


Notifications. Students can get notifications about any updates such as upcoming courses, received marks, timetables, etc.


Social media integrations. This feature comes in handy for more than providing easy log in access. It also allows students to share their results with friends on social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.


We’ve just listed some key features essential for the MVP version of a mobile education application development. This basic set of functionality will guarantee the correct operation of your educational app and satisfy primary users' needs. Now we’re going to consider the technologies and tools necessary for educational app development.


What technologies are required for learning app development?

To develop an educational app successfully, selecting the proper technologies and tools is vital. The chosen tech stack affects the scalability, maintainability of the app, development time, and costs. Below we consider common mobile app development approaches and appropriate technologies to create an educational mobile app:


  • Native app development is suitable for developing an educational app that will operate on a specific platform (iOS or Android). This approach requires using particular technologies for a specific platform.


  • Hybrid app development allows for building apps that are both native and web. Put simply, the app core is built using web technologies wrapped in a native container. Hybrid apps behave like websites but can also use features of the mobile device.


  • Web app development means building apps that use remote servers and operate on a mobile device. 


  • Backend development is required if you want to collect statistical data about your users, handle payments, give users access to their data, and synchronize data between numerous devices.


As you can see, there are numerous technologies and tools that fit a particular app development approach. To make a good choice, it's crucial to take into account such factors as your project requirements, goals, scalability, and app security.


So, we reviewed critical app functionality and required technologies. The next step is app design.


Education mobile app design best practices

The main goal of educational app design is to captivate your target audience, solve users’ pain points, and make them use the app for as much time as possible. But how is this done?


Here is a short overview of education mobile app design best practices that will help you deliver delightful experiences and appealing interfaces for your users:


Design for the correct age

Before you start designing your app, it's vital to do research and analyze your target audience. Is your app for children, students, or older people? Design your learning app according to your target age. For example, if your app is for small children, consider using bright colors, illustrations of cute animals, and various animations.

Image Source


Video content

Today more and more users are looking for video content to study instead of long,  boring texts. For example, YouTube videos are viewed 4 billion times every day. As videos have become the most powerful way for people to view and digest new information, you can create video lectures where teachers explain learning programs just like in real life. These instructional videos work for various types of educational apps. 


Below you can see an example of how Rouxbe Culinary Online School created video courses to learn cooking professionally.



Design for microlearning

The simplicity of the interface for a good user experience is vital for educational app success. Since people today are busy and constantly in a hurry, mLearning and its microteaching approach are ideal for studying in short bursts on the go.


Users have to be able to concentrate on learning content and not on learning how to use the app, so the interface of the app has to be native for users and easy to use without additional explanations. 


Avoid using lengthy blocks of text and be concise. Include more visual materials like mini-training quizzes, interactive infographics, flashcard learning, and short videos. As a rule, people use a mobile educational app between other activities, such as taking their lunch break or standing in line. So, it's better to divide your topics into short parts no longer than 10 minutes.


Gamification

Training in a gaming format helps to ensure a high level of users' participation and engagement. Gamification is a great way to make learning more pleasant and fun, leading to higher uptake and ongoing interactions. Gamification consists of elements such as points, levels, quizzes, polls, rewards, badges, etc. Moreover, an app can show a list of top learners, motivating them to complete their lessons faster than others on the leaderboard.


For example, Duolingo, a language-learning mobile app, allows users to earn XP (experience points) after completing lessons.


Now that we've decided on the technical aspects, we can determine the cost to make an educational app.


How much does it cost to create an educational app?

The cost of mobile app development for EdTech depends on various factors such as required features, project complexity, development approach, relevant platform, chosen tech stack, and team size.


However, the most significant factors affecting cost are development time and the hourly rate of your education mobile app development company. Here are the average hourly rates of IT specialists from different countries.

Source: Clutch


Below we've listed the key features and approximate time to build an MVP version of a native educational app. We use the following formula to roughly calculate educational app development cost: app development time X hourly rate.

Note: This is only an approximate example of cost. To calculate the final price, we need to know your goals, project requirements and complexity, the required technologies, and many more individual factors.


Want to know how much it will cost you to build an educational app? Share your app idea with us, and our experts will calculate your app development costs.


Next, we want to consider some common challenges you may face while building an educational mobile app and our recommendations to avoid problems.


Educational mobile app development challenges & tips


Stand out in a competitive market

Today there are many educational apps on the market. So, if you want your app to survive, you should ensure your idea is viable and unique. 


For example 


At Onix, we start our development process with deep research, namely the product discovery phase. This stage allows us to verify the viability of your EdTech idea and create a solid foundation for the development. Moreover, it’s essential to build a clear vision of a future product and have a sound plan. The product discovery stage will help estimate the scope of work, resources, and effort necessary for your educational app development.



Determine your target market and fit the demand

Before starting the development process, decide on the EdTech area you want to focus on (online learning apps, corporate training, mobile learning, etc.). Then, thoroughly research your niche and identify their needs and pain points. Based on the obtained data, you can form a set of critical features that will address your audience’s issues.


Try to answer the following questions to better understand who your target market is:


  • Who will be interested in using your app? To answer this fully, you will need to consider the demographic data, such as age, location, gender, and so forth, plus other personal interests. If the app is being designed for corporate use, it’s also helpful to keep in mind the roles of targeted employees.


  • Why will the learners use your app? This one is a bit more tricky since you will want to determine what drives and motivates your target audience. Namely, you want to know their intrinsic motivation. This includes their life and career goals, connected challenges, and even attempting to guess their primary motivation.


  • What will they use your app for? It’s helpful to create personalized learning programs. This will help to fill knowledge gaps and strengthen weak spots.


  • Where will learners use your app? Clarify the usage context since the app content, and its form should correspond to the circumstances in which it will be used. Let’s say your target audience uses a bus to get to work and it takes 15 minutes. Will it be possible for them to get through the ‘daily’ exercises while traveling to work? Will the bus noises interfere? Consider the circumstances, duration, and frequency. 


  • How will learners use your app? This question is probably the hardest to answer because this is the time to think about the target audience’s format. Will it be audio or visual content? This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to choose just one, but you should select the one that will prevail.


Define monetization strategy

Having a good learning mobile app is just a part of any success. To make your app flourish and achieve success in the long term, you should think through your monetization strategy. Below we describe the most effective ways for how you can earn money with your educational mobile app:


  • Freemium seems like a top option since users can try a bit of what you have to offer and sample what they may be willing to pay for. The first trick is to provide just the right amount of free content and features to provide an encouraging app experience and entice users to want more. The second trick is determining the timing of the offer to purchase before the learner loses motivation to learn. People tend to be motivated by the money they spend on their courses, lessons, etc.


  • If you plan a paid app, ask yourself: would you buy the app you plan to sell? Competition should be taken into consideration: if your rival’s educational app is cheaper, users will most likely choose it over yours.


  • In-app purchases may comprise various items such as access to detailed statistics or a virtual amulet that allows skipping one day of training without losing their progress. The choice of items depends on the nature of your app, its target audience, and its approach to education itself (formal or informal, etc.).


  • In-app ads can be used too. But add them carefully. If they are too distracting and annoying, they can push your learners away.


  • Partnership with an educational institution. App developers can either sell the product to an institution or make an agreement to use their learning materials in the app.


Choose a reliable development partner

Choosing the right education mobile app development company can be a difficult task. Before starting cooperation, ensure your tech partner clearly understands your project goals and requirements. 


Here are some necessary items to check when hiring a development partner:

  • go to reliable platforms like GoodFirms, Clutch, IT Firms, or TopDevelopers and view info about IT vendors services
  • ensure educational app developers have relevant experience
  • assess not only hard skills and experience but also soft skills
  • check company's portfolio
  • see rates and reviews
  • set the first call to communicate directly



Onix experience

Onix has 20+ years of experience designing and building online learning apps, eLearning platforms, corporate training, mobile learning, and VR/AR solutions.


Our eLearning solutions make online training and education user-friendly and engaging for children, students, employees, and other target audiences. When creating educational products, we focus on your company’s needs, goals, and budget. 


Edplus is an example of how we created a mobile application for self-learning.


This educational app offers 150+ topics to learn, 5,000+ videos to watch, and new content added daily. See the video below:



As a result, we've managed to build an educational mobile app for both iOS and Android. Using artificial intelligence technology, we created a learning path for each user. The app chooses questions in ways most relevant to each learner based on what they already know. EdPlus records how each user has answered the previous questions and uses this data to optimize its teaching strategy. 


The system accumulates data of each learner mastering topics and creates 3D learning maps showing each learner’s progress.



Final words

In a world that is changing faster and faster, easy access to education is becoming more vital. Now, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic, educational mobile app development appears even more relevant than ever before. 


Knowledge is truly limitless, and one can never study enough. This reality contributes to making mobile educational applications a valuable and desirable player on the app playing field.


If you’re ready to create a unique educational journey for the world, please contact us. Together we can make your journey highly successful.