A Comprehensive Guide to Building An eLearning Platform Like Udemy or Coursera

By ongraph
June 3, 2020 | 514 Views

Latest Industry insights to keep you updated on the latest happenings.

A quality education is perhaps the most important thing we need. However, the traditional education systems are getting more and more expensive these days. The College Board indicates a 3% increase in the tuition fees for private and public colleges during the past two years. This has led many to look out for alternative educational platforms where they can get a high-quality education, that too at low cost or no cost. This is exactly where the trend to build elearning platform like Udemy or Coursera have emerged in the market.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has hugely impacted a number of industries and have rendered them standstill. However, e-learning is one of the few industries that have opened brighter avenues for people amidst these challenging times. While people are indoor, they are really looking forward to these services. This makes elearning market a lucrative prospect for the entrepreneurs and you are absolutely right if you are thinking of developing an elearning site.

Originally, the word ‘elearning’ was first introduced in 1999 at the CBT systems seminar narrating online lessons. Since then, elearning evolved into the concept of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) gradually, providing people all over the opportunity to study courses of world-class universities and also obtain degrees.

Initially, distance education was free of cost. However, with increase in the popularity of distance courses as well as the number of renowned universities and teachers joining the MOOC platforms, the payment system was included. The MOOC platforms have so far proven themselves to be quite profitable. Udemy and Coursera are one of the most popular representatives of the MOOC providers. By now, there are over 50 MOOC platforms present that are functioning in 23 countries around the globe.

ELearning Growth Outlook

There’s no doubt about the fact that the increasing demands for online training and education systems are driving up. However, in order to validate your idea in actuality, you need to have a look at the numbers. According to the Statista, the global elearning market is going to cross the value of $243 billion by 2022.

By 2025, North America alone is forecasted to constitute about 40% of the entire $120 billion elearning market. Technologies such as AR, VR, Artificial Intelligence, big data, machine learning are helping with the growth of elearning market. All this makes the idea to develop an elearning site a brilliant one.

However, establishing a successful elearning site like Udemy or Coursera is not a child’s play. It requires thorough and continual efforts to turn your idea into a full-fledged launched marketplace. So, what goes into making a elearning platform a successful one? You will get all your answers here.

Types of e-Learning Solutions

Fundamentally, there are two major types of e-Learning solutions which are as described below:

  • Synchronous

This is real-time learning where the teacher and the learners are online and interact with each other at the same time from different locations. The delivery and receiving modes of the learning resources are mobile, Internet, video conference or chat. Here, the participants can interact, share their ideas and get detailed solutions to their queries during the session. This type of e-learning is getting popular all over because of enhanced technology and internet bandwidth capabilities.

Learning from the sources of:

  • Audio and Video Conferencing
  • Chat
  • Virtual Classroom
  • Application Sharing
  • Webinars
  • Instant Messaging
  • Asynchronous

This is a pause-and-resume kind of learning where the teacher and the learner cannot be online at the same time. This type of e-learning may use technologies such as blogs, emails, eBook’s CDs, DVDs, discussion forums, etc. Here, learners can learn at any time, download the documents provided to them, and interact with teachers as well as with co-learners. Many of the learners usually prefer asynchronous learning rather than synchronous because learners can take up online courses at their favorable time without affecting their other daily commitments.

Learning from the sources of:

  • Message boards
  • Self-paced online courses
  • Discussion forums and groups

Udemy and Coursera represent these two types of elearning platforms. While Coursera majorly cooperates with universities and colleges (Synchronous), Udemy works with individual teachers who upload the content on the platform (Asynchronous).

Key Features to Build an Extensive eLearning Platform like Coursera

The success of your eLearning website is going to be determined largely by its core features. It is thus very important to choose and implement the right features carefully to your website. In order to develop an online elearning platform like Udemy or Coursera, you can divide the key features into three main segments – the common features, the student profile features and the teacher profile features.

  1. Common Features

These are the features that will be useful to anyone who is using the website. The common features are going to be used both by the teachers as well as the students on your platform.

  • Account Creation

This feature is a must-have feature which will assist the teachers and the students to create their own accounts on the website and also to personalize their experience on the platform. This feature would assist the users in managing the various courses that they join and upload, and also assist the students to learn without any obstruction.

  • Profile Management

This is the next common feature that you require for your online elearning site. The users who create their profile using the appropriate information would be able to use the profile management feature for managing those details, adding or removing the courses, managing the certificates and also to follow the teachers. This feature should be as seamless as possible for easy and smooth navigation.

  • Customer Support

Just like any other service, customer support is going to be extremely crucial for your elearning website. This feature will allow the users to contact the customer support whenever they face any issue with the website, their account or to upload a course. 24/7 customer support will enhance the user-friendliness of your website.

  • Business Collaboration

The online education websites such as Coursera have benefited a lot using this particular feature. Big organizations and companies collaborate with online learning sites so as to introduce their organization specific courses. This helps them to train their employees in a centralized manner and also track the progress data.

Through this feature, you would be able to work in collaboration and also earn a generous revenue as well. If you build your elearning platform site with popular business organizations, it will also help to increase the popularity of your website.

  1. Student Profile

This will make a better experience for the students who will sign up on your website to learn. Here are some of the crucial student profile features you will require for your website:

  • Search, Category, and Filtering

As there are many courses which are available on the website, the students require a feature that will help them to sort out and find the right course for them on the website. For this purpose, they need a search, categorize and filtering feature.

The search feature will help the users to look for a particular course with the help of specific keywords. The category feature will sort out the available courses in various categories according to subject, certification type, expertise level, prices, and much more. The filtering feature will enable the students to filter through the various categories and find their desired course.

  • Recommendations

This feature will show the users the relevant courses they have already enrolled for. The recommendation feature will help them in discovering more courses to advance their skillset.

  • Tag

This is yet another part of discovering new courses feature. This way the students on your website can follow tags which are relevant to their field. Whenever there are new courses added with that tag, it will be visible to the students on their recommendations page or the homepage.

  • Easy Payment Options

There are going to be some paid courses on your website. The user thus will require a secure payment option to pay for these paid courses. The payment option integrated on your website should be easy to handle, and most importantly, a secure one.

  1. Teacher Profile

In order to make your website functional like Coursera, you will require teachers who will upload new courses and content on a regular basis. For this, the teachers would require some crucial profile features. Below are the two most crucial teacher profile features you will require for your elearning website:

  • Course Creation and Updates

This one is the first and most important feature. The teacher should be able to create a course as per their expertise and skills. In addition to this, the feature also lets the teacher update the course with new content.

  • Dashboard

This feature includes courses updated list, performance, insights and revenue. It is necessary for the teachers to keep track of the courses that they have uploaded on the profile, the total number of users who have enrolled for their courses, the total revenue amount generated as well as an overall insight of all their activities on the website.

Factors to Consider While Developing an ELearning App Like Coursera

Building a renowned elearning app like Udemy or Coursera demands a rigorous analysis into the possible factors that can have an influence on the development process as well as the final outcome.

Here are a few important factors to consider:

  • Optimum UX/UI Design

Do you know that about 88% of the users never return to a website after encountering a bad experience? Well, the design of your elearning platform plays a major role in keeping your audience. Thus, strategising the entire UX/UI design with the experts is very important. It needs to have the right combination of simplicity and high performance. The smooth scrolling, fast loading, and seamless navigation are some of the outcomes of optimum UX design. Ensure that your elearning website offers all of these required efficiencies to its users.

  • Ease of Maintenance

Irrespective of how perfect you get something like the Coursera app from your developers, it will encounter issues in the future. This is not because of any shortcomings in the development process, but this is how everything works. Elearning platforms require regular support and maintenance in order to ensure their seamless and steady functionality.

Usually, all the companies that provide Coursera mobile app development provide constant support and maintenance after the project has been delivered.

  • Data Security and Compliance

Can a website ever work well without keeping their data secure? It takes just 3 days for an app to fail. The inefficiency of a platform to secure the personal data of the users can bring the app to an end abruptly without any warning.

This makes it very important for any business to check the PCI-DSS compliance on their very own. Ensure that you have the license to integrate payment gateways. Furthermore, while developing an elearning application, all the app store rules and other industry guidelines must be stringently followed.

  • Scalability

The elearning platform that you are getting developed by an app development company must be able to scale up with the future requirements. When you hire an app developer, it is important to ask them about their efficiency on the same. A proficient developer will be able to build a scalable elearning app that will be able to accommodate their increased traffic as well as workload.

  • Changing Requirements

Nothing works well without regular updates. Coursera introduces new and advanced features every now and then. Their monetization work has been smoothly executed over the years. Can this be possible without an efficient research and development team in place? Introducing new advanced features as well as ways to make your application more useful for the users is very important. Thus, constant research and development are necessary in order to evolve your elearning platform.

Technical Stack Required to Build An ELearning Platform

Do you know what goes into the making of a perfect education website like Udemy or Coursera and to launch it? Let’s have a look at the tech stack required to build your own amazing elearning solution. We will discuss the frameworks, tools, and programming languages used by Udemy and Coursera. This will help you to choose the right technologies for your elearning site.

Tech Stack Used by Udemy

  • Backend

There are several programming languages available to choose when we talk about the server-side. At first, Udemy used PHP in collaboration with a custom MVC framework. Although, the company later switched to Python and the process is still incomplete.

As for databases, MySQL is the best choice for Udemy. Additionally, Elasticsearch is an amazing tool for search and analytics.

  • Frontend

For Udemy, the core front-end technologies have been JavaScript, HTML5, AngularJS and CSS3.

  • Third Party Tools and Integrations

In order to achieve various business goals, Udemy makes use of a number of applications and tools. These include Slack, Dropbox, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Trello.

Tech Stack Used by Coursera

  • Backend

The first lines of the Coursera elearning platform were written on PHP, which later shifted to Python and Go for a short period of time and finally settled upon Scala in collaboration with the Play framework.

Just like Udemy, Coursera too uses MySQL to manage relational databases. Additionally, the company uses Nginx as web-server and Cloud Storage such as Amazon S3.

  • Frontend

Coursera uses JavaScript, Bootstrap, and ReactJS as the client-side technologies.

  • Third-Party Tools and Integrations

Coursera makes use of a number of collaboration and productivity applications such as Slack, Jira, G Suite.

All About The Latest Trends in The Elearning Industry

So what are the latest trends in the elearning industry that we can look forward to in the year 2020? Let’s find out here.

Given the large number of trends, we have categorised them into three main sections:

  1. Elearning Trends that will help to achieve high performance gain, learner engagement and behavioral change
  • Personalized learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Mobile apps for learning
  • Performance support tools
  • Digitization of ILT
  • Social learning
  • Informal learning
  • Self-directed learning
  1. Elearning Trends that will deliver high Impact and Immersive Learning Experiences
  • Microleaning
  • AR/VR and MR or Immersive Learning
  • Gamification
  • Video-based learning
  • Curation and User-Generated Content
  1. Elearning Trends that will help to access the impact and Maximizes ROI
  • Learner Analytics
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Learning
  • Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs)

Wrapping Up:

As elearning has become a significant part of the education industry, developing a unique and renowned online learning website demands rigorous planning and research. If you wish to stand out among the existing players like Coursera or Udemy, it is important for you to deliver an outstanding experience to your audience.

With more than 12 years of experience in mobile app development for various successful global clients, we carry expertise in strategy implementation, development and deployment of applications for our esteemed clients. We can transform your vision of building an exceptional elearning website into reality. Connect with us via email and our team will reach you very shortly.

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