How to Create an e-Learning Website: Business Models, Core Features, and Cost

How to Create an e-Learning Website: Business Models, Core Features, and Cost
10 Min Read

Want to create an e-learning website? Study e-learning app development – from choosing a business model to the list of features and building steps.

According to Forbes, the e-Learning market will reach $325 billion by 2025. No wonder more and more edu startups rise here and there, and most of them have unique ideas, features, and capabilities.

But it’s not enough to have a billion-dollar idea to build an e-learning website. It’s rather a combination of brilliant ideas with a stable and reliable platform that turns a common project into a big-time one. Just like Coursera, Udemy, and other giants.

So, how to create an e-learning platform that will succeed? What models are there, what features are the must-haves, and how much it’s going to cost? In this article, we’re covering all these questions – features, business models, steps to build, and, of course, the development cost.

e-Learning Platforms and Their Types

If you’ve just entered the education domain, you should first focus on what your e-learning platform is all about.

Here’s what great edu apps do:

  • Contain lots of helpful educational materials and deliver excellent learning experience to students.
  • Make user-platform interactions seamless, smooth, and bug-free.
  • Offer learners to track their progress in real time.

And the most popular educational apps that meet these criteria are Coursera , Udemy , edX , and Udacity . These e-learning platforms belong to online course marketplaces – they let students take courses independently, according to learners’ preferences and fields they are interested in.

E-learning marketplaces rarely have any limitations on the form of content. Students take advantage of textbooks, educational videos, exercises, games, podcasts, etc. The platforms give materials gradually, piece by piece, so that students won’t be overwhelmed by tons of exercises and tasks.

Comparing Business e-Learning Models of Coursera and Udemy

If you want to create your own e-learning website, one of the main stages is choosing the business model. To make it simple, we’re going to uncover to best-known models using Coursera and Udemy examples.

Though both these platforms provide online courses, their business models are a bit different. Coursera works with universities and colleges, giving access to the lectures recorded by university professors. They cooperate with the University of Michigan, Stanford, London Imperial College, Arizona State University, and many other establishments.

For now, Coursera works with 148 institutions from 29 counties. And this resource has already become a decent competitor to traditional education. The platform gives access to materials of the same quality mainly for $39-$79 per month.

Besides, there are more than 1150+ free courses on the platform. But if a student wants to get a certificate, they have to pay for it or apply for the Financial Aid program.

But while Coursera opts for quality, Udemy makes bets on both quality & quantity. One of its methods is offering a wide range of courses – more than 130,000 (compared to 2,700 offered by Coursera). They are mostly short-term and created by individual instructors.

Still, Udemy courses can’t be added by anyone. All contributors have to verify their identity before publishing a course and sumbit the course for quality review.

Here's how Udemy verification goes: first, tutors should identify their ownership rights to the course and then provide the following details:

  • legal name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • national I.D. number

Usually, verification takes just a few seconds. And if the Quality Review Team doesn't find any required fixes, the course will be published in the marketplace.

How to Create an e-Learning Website: Business Models, Core Features, and Cost

Comparison of Udemy and Coursera models

So, let’s sum everything up:

  • If you’re interested in working with famous universities and edu establishments as the course contributors or planning to create your own courses, opt for the model of Coursera.
  • But if you aim at building an e-learning website where everyone can create their courses for sharing knowledge, go for a platform like Udemy.

Essential Features of the e-Learning Platform

Regardless of the model you choose for e-learning app development, they both have several core features. And these features are also applicable to any other e-learning website.

First, let’s take a quick look at the MVP features of an e-learning platform:

  • Authentication and user profile.
  • Filtering system
  • Dashboard
  • Course page
  • Payment systems
  • Course adding page (for tutors)
  • Notifications and reminders
  • Admin panel

How to Create an e-Learning Website?

Now, let’s find out how to build an e-learning platform and make it exciting and engaging.

1. Study your target audience

Each e-learning application development starts with research. First, analyze your niche and target audience. Here are the main points to check:

  • Their age
  • Interests
  • How they spend their free time

Then, think about personalized content. Define the topics you'd like to cover and learn what content will be engaging and helpful for future students.

Finally, take a look at the competitors. Study what platforms are the most popular among e-learners and what they’re offering. Checking on your competitors, you’re finding their strong and weak points. As well as get more ideas about features and functionality that can be improved.

2. Find the team

Once you’re done with planning, you can start looking for a reliable vendor that will build the e-learning website for you.

Of course, if you're not doing everything on your own. But if you do it without a tech background, that mostly means creating something based on existing templates. That doesn't leave enough room for customization.

But if you don't want to go for an all-in-one solution, the best option is to hire qualified developers. It may be cheaper for you to look for software development vendors abroad rather than in a city (or even country) of residence.

To select a vendor, you may use one of the leading review & rating platforms:

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • IT Firms

On these platforms, you can sort companies by countries, their hourly rates, and read reviews from previous clients.

3. Engage good educators

But even great UI/UX design services and first-class website performance will have little success without great content. And great content should be delivered by great educators. So later you’ll need to cooperate with universities & edu establishments or look for skilled tutors.

Partner with well-known and experienced tutors and introduce them to your students. For example, MasterClass , which is one of the most popular e-learning platforms, did just that. They've offered Marc Jacobs, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Annie Leibovitz and other famous people to cooperate. And MasterClass turned this cooperation into their main advantage.

How Much e-Learning Web Development Costs?

If you want to create an e-learning website with the features we've described, its development will cost between $54,750 and $62,500 That's an APPROXIMATE number based on $50/h rate (Eastern Europe, Ukraine).