How to Create an Educational App: A Complete Guide and Cost Breakdown

How to create an e-learning app if you’re a small business or startup? Discover the essential steps, possible trials, and approximate costs of an educational application.

How to Create an Educational App: A Complete Guide and Cost Breakdown

The pandemic has changed our daily lives, including the way we learn. With the sudden transition to remote learning, educational apps have become a necessity. As a result, the market has grown significantly, and creating an e-learning application has become an attractive option for many entrepreneurs.

It’s not a surprise: around 3 million people who age getting higher education prefer online courses. More than 41% of students are age 30 and even above. So, it’s not just a tool for the teens, and the target audience is vast.

Why are educational apps popular?

Learning is no longer limited to traditional classroom settings, and applications have made it possible for people of all ages and backgrounds to study on the go. With e-learning services,  your clients will have a convenient and flexible way to polish their skills: at home, at work, or during travel, and on any device. Moreover, this approach is suitable for individuals, schools, and organizations.

Time and place flexibility

The flexibility to learn anytime and anywhere is the number one reason educational apps have become so popular. With just a smartphone or tablet, users can access learning materials at their convenience, making it ideal for busy people. The convenience of e-learning has made it possible for people to acquire new skills or knowledge without having to travel or spend a lot of money.

Wide Range of Choices

Unlike traditional classroom learning, online courses offer a wide range of choices, covering various topics and subjects. From basic mathematics for kids to advanced software development for adults, there is a for everyone. Users have the freedom to choose what they want to learn at their own pace.

Interactive Learning

Educational applications use interactive and engaging features to make studying more enjoyable and effective. With 3D animations, videos, and gamification, people can learn in a fun and engaging way, making it easier to retain information.

By mixing dark mode with the latest web design trends, you can create stunning concepts.

Dark mode Website UI & UX Design by Conceptzilla

Types of E-learning Applications

Before you start creating your project, you need to decide on the type of platform you want to build. It depends on several factors like the target audience, their devices, range of topics, type of content, etc. The following are the main types of educational apps:

Learning Platforms

Large businesses, such as Udemy, Coursera, or edX, offer a wide range of courses from various creators. They are designed to be user-friendly, with features like progress tracking, quizzes, and certificates upon completion.

Learning Apps for a Specific Subject

These projects are designed to teach a particular subject or topic. Although they are limited, they usually provide in-depth knowledge. That’s why they require careful attention to information delivery, functionality, and design.

Educational Games

Don’t underestimate the power of gamification. By combining it with study materials, you offer a fun and interactive way to learn. However, you need to face the challenge of balancing the gaming experience with the learning experience to make it effective.

Learning Management System (LMS)

If you don’t own any educational materials, try LMS. These are designed for organizations to manage and deliver their training programs. They provide a unified space for training and monitoring progress.

Classroom Education Apps

If you want to cater to teachers and parents, try developing a classroom education app to manage the learning process. They provide a single space for communication, progress tracking, and assignment management.

Educational Apps for Kids

This is one of the most difficult types to develop because you need to find a golden middle between entertainment and study. Also, children have a different way of absorbing the information. So these applications are designed specifically for children and require an understanding of child psychology. To keep kids engaged, integrate immersive features like gamification, cartoons, achievements, progress monitoring, and others to teach children important concepts.

Why would people want to use your e-learning app?

  • Online courses provide time and place flexibility. This convenience of having learning opportunities available anywhere and anytime is incomparable to offline classes, especially for busy people. With the technological advancements of the 21st century, they have all the necessary tools for education in one place, making it easier than ever to become smarter through a device that is always in the pocket. With e-learning techniques, they don’t need to pay thousands of dollars or travel great distances to learn something new or acquire a new skill that will help them earn more.
  • E-learning platforms offer a wide choice of study materials. People no longer need to be limited to the courses presented in their city or wait until a particular person takes a tour. Nowadays, we are free to choose from any of the learning materials available online. While some categories of e-learning apps are already popular and competitive, there are still many topics that are not covered enough in the current offerings. This creates an opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to fill the gap in the market.
  • Educational projects are cost-effective. Even if an application is monetized through a subscription, it is still far less expensive than paying for a tutor. People opt for online courses because it is the easiest and most affordable way to learn something new. It does not require serious investments or a lot of time to meet with a teacher, and there are no serious technical requirements. With just a tap on the icon, you can get started immediately.
  • Such projects are efficient. With online learning, people have a more organized and efficient way that requires no commuting, making it more convenient and simpler than other types of training. It also reduces procrastination, as it is easier to get started through a mobile application and there is often an achievement system.

You can take advantage of a simplified, familiar type of visuals to which the human eye is already accustomed through the popularity of smartphones. With the ongoing pandemic and self-isolation, e-learning apps have become a highly practical way to acquire new knowledge and skills without leaving home.

E-learning apps have become a highly practical way to acquire new knowledge

New Duolingo Achievements by John Trivelli

Educational apps market

The major key players in the e-learning market include Khan Academy, Rosetta Stone, Genshuixue, BYJU’S, Age of Learning, BenchPrep, PowerSchool, Blackboard, Socrative Student, Duolingo, and others. Overall, the outlook for this sphere in 2023 appears to be positive, with significant growth expected.

What’s more, significant growth is expected during the period of 2023-2028. The market is estimated to reach USD 102,602 million by 2031, expanding at a CAGR of 26.78%. The market size for education apps was valued at USD 24,706 million in 2021 and is expected to witness a substantial rise in revenue in 2023.

The market size for education apps is growing continuosly

The demand for online courses has been increasing due to the need for virtual teaching and self-learning processes. The market is also growing due to the expanding focus on wearable technology in the educational space. Additionally, the developing adoption of smartphones and the penetration of the internet are also driving the spreading of the market. It is now a platform for testing the newest tech solutions, and it generates a huge income.

How to create an educational app

To develop a successful project, it is important to outline a plan of action first, including finding a unique idea, conducting proper market research, testing with target audiences, and building an MVP with basic features. For instance, while no-code app constructors may offer a cheaper and easier solution for creating an e-learning application, it is important to be aware of the drawbacks, such as the inability to create custom solutions, maintainability issues, and possible problems with getting the product to stores.


The design also requires careful consideration of its intended users and their goals. For example, the UI/UX of a learning app meant for children may feature colorful themes, animations, and illustrations, while an application intended for adults may have a more sober and minimalist design. However, every educational software should prioritize the UX by capturing users’ attention, engaging them with learning activities, offering meaningful experiences, and enabling social interaction.

The type also influences the design. The management platforms are better suited for strict minimalistic looks that resemble public education, with no distracting details. In contrast, games benefit from cute animations, illustrations, and cartoon styles that entertain people while they study.

Applications concentrated on a specific subject, such as a programming language, tend to have similar minimalistic designs with small colorful elements and little branding. To ensure a smooth, continuous flow, a sense of achievement, ease of use, and a clear structure, developers use various tricks and trends.


Developing an educational app for iOS or Android requires a team of specialists, including:

  • Project manager
  • UI/UX designer
  • Mobile developers
  • Back-end developers
  • QA engineer.

You can either hire an in-house team or outsource the work to a company. While in-house teams offer better communication, they can be more expensive. Outsourcing to developers from different parts of the world can provide the same level of expertise at a more affordable cost.

Choosing the right technology stack is crucial for mobile app development. Pick tools based on the project requirements and goals. For iOS/Android mobile app stack check out Swift and Objective-C programming languages, Xcode IDE, Java and Kotlin languages, Android Studio IDE, and Retrofit REST client. The backend/API stack includes Ruby, .NET, Postgre DB, and Redis. Admin panels can be made with Material UI, React, Angular, and jQuery.

As for the target devices, native development, specifically for iOS or Android platforms, tends to be more costly but offers a more customized and quality-oriented approach. Cross-platform development is less expensive but comes with limitations, such as animations and 3D objects. Consulting with professionals before making a decision is essential.

Create an e-learning application for a specific subject

Online Course Mobile App by Muhammad Zaini

How much it costs to make an educational app

The cost of developing an e-learning app depends on several factors, such as the complexity of features and the inclusion of expensive elements like animations. Hiring an outsourced development team can potentially reduce expenses by up to 50%. In this situation, the usual hourly rate is $40-45 for development and $70-80 for design.

If you want to make a project from scratch with static 2D illustrations, it can take around 400+ hours for custom development. In terms of money, that will be approximately $18 000 for programming and around $32 000 for UI\UX. However, in case you need 3D animations, live chats, dashboards, and authorization, the costs may spike up to approximately 900 hours or around $40 500 for design and $72 000 for development. The more features you add to the kit, the more expensive it gets.

To get an approximate estimation for your project, use Project Calculator. There you can select the design, branding, and other options for more precise results.

How to monetize an educational app

When it comes to monetization, the method you choose will depend on the app’s nature, users, and luck to some extent. Sometimes, you can try a combination of different ways. The most popular strategies are:

  • Advertisements: it is one of the most common ways to monetize an e-learning platform. By displaying relevant ads, you can earn money through clicks or impressions.
  • In-app purchases: this means offering in-app purchases, such as premium content, features, or subscriptions. The approach allows people to access additional content for a fee and can generate significant revenue.
  • Freemium model: you can suggest a free version with limited features and content while charging for premium access. This model allows users to try your application before deciding to upgrade.
  • Course fees: if your offer online courses, workshops, or other periodic educational content, you can charge a fee for access. This can be a straightforward way to generate revenue.
  • Affiliate marketing: partner with businesses that provide products or services related to your content and earn a commission for each sale made through your app.
  • Sponsorship: you can also seek sponsorship from businesses or organizations that align with your target audience. This can include brand placement, sponsorships, or partnerships with relevant companies.

By exploring these monetization strategies, you can turn your educational app into a profitable venture. Try one approach at first, that best aligns with your app’s content, audience, and goals.

Top trends in e-learning app development

Education technologies are constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends is crucial for startups and small businesses. Here are some of the newest tendencies you should consider:

  • Gamification: it means using game design elements in non-game contexts to make learning more engaging and enjoyable. This mechanic can be applied in apps for grown-ups too.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): neural networks have a wide range of implementations: from personalized learning paths to automated assessments and grading. Increased use of smart algorithms is expected to bring massive changes to the world of e-learning, both in corporate and academic settings.
  • Mobile learning: with the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, mobile learning has become mainstream. It allows people to access the materials from anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
  • Microlearning: it refers to the delivery of short, bite-sized pieces of content that students can quickly consume and apply. It caters to the short attention spans of modern learners and makes education more accessible and convenient.
  • Personalized learning: you can use data and analytics to create customized paths that suit individual needs and preferences. This approach makes learning more engaging and effective by tailoring it to the learner’s specific goals.
  • Social learning: social media and other collaborative tools can facilitate learning and knowledge sharing among students. With this option, you can make the process more interactive, allowing people to connect and collaborate with each other.

Startups and small businesses should keep these trends in mind while developing their e-learning apps to stay ahead of the competition and provide an engaging and effective learning experience to their users.

How to create an educational application

Aule – Course Lesson by Ishak Erdogan

Let’s make your ideas a reality

In conclusion, creating an educational app can be a highly beneficial and profitable venture for those in the education industry. Developing such a project requires careful planning and testing to ensure the application meets the needs of both students and teachers. The cost varies based on different factors, such as complexity, features, and development time. 

However, working with an experienced app development team can help keep expenses within budget and ensure the project’s success. With the increasing demand for remote activities, investing in an e-learning app can be a wise decision. It will help educators expand their reach and provide a more immersive experience for their students.

Let’s figure out together how to create an educational application that would help you reach your goals and make this world a better place. Drop us a line, and let’s make something new together and make this process exciting!

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Written by Mary Moore

May 22, 2023

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