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E-learning Application Architecture: Basic Functionality and Cost Estimate

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

State-of-the-art-of-art technologies keep renovating a range of industries. E-learning is a modern educational model implying taking courses online via special digital platforms. Mobile-first development which is a must nowadays has enhanced the knowledge-obtaining process, consolidating all the essential features for education in a full-fledged handy app.

Due to a recent report, as depicted in the bar chart, the e-learning market value is expected to surpass $243 billion within the current year of 2022. By looking into the rapidly growing e-learning sector, I will discuss further types of e-learning applications, implementation tips, and an approximate cost estimation for the products.

Types of E-learning Applications

1. Target Users

The e-learning applications can be segmented based on their target users as follows:

  • Audience studying with no terms (Udemy)

  • Learners of educational establishments (eDX)

  • Schoolmasters for the younger audience (TutorMe, Khan Academy)

  • Languages’ native speakers (italki)

  • A range of various fields and themes (Coursera)

2. Learning Approach

Another way of categorisation is due to the learning approaches. It is a little bit more complicated, so let’s single out the diverse learning approaches.

2.1 Computer-Managed Learning (CML) Versus Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)

The CML refers to the platform type via which the whole flow of education is guided and assessed automatically by the program. It delivers all the fundamental information to obtain knowledge according to the course’s domain and ensures the assessment of education results.

A practical illustration of such a type’s successful solution is Coursera. Each platform training comprises materials in various formats accompanied by robotized assessments with quizzes and a comprehensive description of each task within every finished part. Coursera has all the features for the studies evaluation and management for efficient and productive course completion.

As for the CAI, the system delivers integral data to learners in various formats for individual studying. Lingualeo is a globally-known market giant which allows learning new languages.

2.2 Synchronous Online Learning (SOL) Versus Asynchronous Online Learning (AOL)

SOL represents an approach to online remote lessons conduction and functionality to establish contact using chat and video conferences. A bright illustration is a platform for education- WizIQ with convenient functionality, video calls, implemented chat, and online quizzes.

The contrary of the aforementioned model is AOL, which implies course fulfilment excluding online communication. Among the most successful AOL platforms is Udemy. The courses there are flexible and will fit any schedule.

2.3 Fixed Model Versus Adaptive Model

The fixed model represents the study approach where the same material is learned during the course. Mainly, platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and Udacity are incorporated into this class.

The adaptive model adjusts to each customer's objectives and current level of knowledge for a more personalized approach. ScootPad is based on such an educational model. Each student knows various topics on different levels. Thus, receiving individual data is the most efficient way to absorb new skills.

Interactive e-learning allows clients to get in touch with the product through various tests, quizzes, assignments, etc. Such an engaging model boosts the process of learning new skills. Codecademy is a great practical example, which offers to get new skills in programming languages. Learners can watch guided videos, get tasks to perform, and monitor the outcome right after submitting.

2.4 Individual Online Learning (IOL) Versus Collaborative Online Learning (COL)

IOL stands for individual material processing on specific topics. To illustrate, Khan Academy offers 4000+ thematic guides.

COL requires various interaction tech tools, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. Users are performing the course completion together in groups to obtain unified goals.

Implementation Tips Solution

Basic E-learning Features

Each e-learning solution comprises a set of primary functions you should consider and list for future app architecture. The functionalities can be further categorised based on the profile types or interfaces. These include students, teachers, and parents.

  1. Student

    1. Signing in/up: It would be much simpler to authorize with existing accounts on diverse social media.

    2. Search string and course menu: An app should have a row of filters, categories, and a search bar.

    3. Profile: The screen comprises the clients’ details and personal info.

    4. Guide screen: This section represents the content of the guide

    5. Payment gateway: To enable in-app payments for course purchasing, you should allow the most popular methods to buy the content.

  2. Teacher

    1. Profile: It should comprise such data as the professionalism stage, education, and certificates.

    2. Content: This section shows all the guides and educational materials with a brief description offered by the specialist.

    3. Learners’ operation: This feature allows management of the individuals enrolled on the course.

    4. Online assessment: This element enables developing as well as setting tests.

  3. Parent

    1. Progress monitoring: The whole interface is intended to enable parents to open and track their children's educational outcomes.

    2. Reviews: Parents can share their reviews, comments, rates, and feedback on the tutors and courses.

The process of software product architecture is pretty complex, so let's delve into the essential stages of creating LMS as one of the instances.

Implementation Stages

1. Define Your Project Concept

This beginning point implies considering whether your project is sufficiently competitive and original to become sought-after. To reach the maximal relevance of your idea, you should examine the online education domain and your rivals. For instance, this goal may be accomplished with the SWOT analysis:

  • Strengths: solutions of your platform that attract users

  • Weaknesses: flaws that interfere with an evolvement as well as success in obtaining

  • Opportunities: resources that help you to bring the project to life

  • Threats: outer negative influences that may affect your success

2. Identify Your Target Audience

To make your solution on-demand for many users, you should study their requirements and needs. To do this, you can visit Quora or Reddit and make polls for audience definition. Their answers will guide you in developing the project, and help you determine what features to implement and which solutions to use.

3. Consider the Interface

The UI/UX design ranges according to the audience. However, regardless of the users' age, the universal concept to stick to are user-friendliness, cleanliness, and intuitiveness. Its key objective is to allow the audience to concentrate on the educational process and the courses’ delivered information without distraction.

4. Decide on MVP Functionality

Before getting to the MVP development, you should draw up and provide a clear overview of the functionality to implement. As it was mentioned earlier, the features should comply with the needs of the first customers. This version of the product is beneficial as it enables the deployment of the application at a decreased time and at a lower cost.

Moreover, more sophisticated functionality elements may be implemented after the launch. The list of potential extra features:

  • AI-based individual offers

  • Reminders

  • AR-powered features

  • Chat with a professor

  • Tasks and tests online assessment

5. Determine Strategies for Monetization

There are some common strategies for e-learning products:

  1. Subscription

    1. This model implies ensuring more qualitative educational data on a paid basis.

    2. Shaw Academy's subscription cost ranges from $49.99 to $60.00 and enables users to take multiple courses from the library.

  2. Pay-Per Course

    1. This option requires learners to buy specific courses they would like to study. This plan is widely spread (e. g., Udemy).

    2. The cost for a single guide starts from $9 and ends at approximately $300.

    3. This solution provides sales and exclusive offers, so clients can get the course at an expedient price.

  3. Third-Party Contributions

    1. Such financial support conventionally attracts less income and requires excellent, incredible, engaging content to motivate the customer base to donate.

    2. To illustrate, Khan Academy functions with the help of its audience.

Cost Estimate

E-learning is a highly demanding area nowadays which keeps moving forward fastly. To make your educational platform on-demand, you should first develop the original idea and the features. Then, discuss and assess the cost and deadlines of your project in partnership with certified tech teams, and you are all ready to build the on-demand e-learning software.

We’ve considered Coursera as a basis to perform the estimations you can see below:

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This guest post is authored by Yuliya Melnik, a technical writer at Cleveroad, a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine.


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