How to Create an Educational App and How Much It Costs

The global pandemic and the subsequent quarantine have changed almost all of our familiar life processes. Some enterprises, unfortunately, reduced their activities or closed down. Others adapted to the remote mode of working. Education is an industry that underwent one of the most radical changes. Despite the fact that the remote learning format has been around for quite some time, an unexpected and forced transition has become a big challenge nonetheless. But these difficulties might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the educational app market. Thinking about how to create an educational app is a promising move.

The current situation and the rising popularity of learning apps of all kinds have prompted the growing interest in educational app development. Educational apps are your chance to create something useful for society and make a profit.

Educational apps for adults Shakuro

Online School App Animation by Shakuro

What educational apps are and why they are popular

Education is trending. Not for the degrees’ sake, but to gain knowledge. Knowledge is the key to future success, for kids as well as for adults. 

“Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.”

Peter Drucker

Learning apps are one way to gain this knowledge. An educational app is a piece of mobile software that is designed to help individuals with remote learning of any kind. The examples vary from apps teaching kids how to do basic math to apps acting as advanced professional training platforms for adults.

Who uses educational apps? A variety of people and institutions:

  • kids of different ages starting from toddlers to learn basic things and ease the learning process
  • pupils, applicants, and students who need help preparing for exams
  • specialists to maintain a high qualification level or to get to the next one
  • people who decided to try something new or get additional education, master the necessary skills, and gain new knowledge
  • educational institutions to solve different learning problems
  • online courses platforms to use such apps as a tool for better market promotion.
What are the uses of educational apps

Learning Chinese – App Design by Anastasia

Categories of educational apps

Just as there are countless variations of learning apps, so there are countless ways to categorize them. 

For example, depending on a user, there are two broad types of educational apps:

  • for students 
  • for teachers.

Then again, based on their purpose, educational apps can be:

  • multipurpose learning platforms
  • specific subject learning apps
  • supportive apps
  • educational games
  • learning management apps
  • grading learning apps
  • classroom education apps
  • apps aimed at apprenticeship courses
  • educational apps focused on kids
  • etc.

You can probably think of other apps for education that don’t belong to these categories that are used by you or by people you know.

Are educational apps useful? 

They most certainly are, especially for children. Nowadays, preschool children are actively using mobile applications. Besides, their older brothers and sisters who use smartphones often act as authorities for toddlers. Educational and simultaneously entertaining mobile apps become useful assistants in educating children, giving them knowledge about the world, and the desire for creativity. They help make the learning process fun and exciting while retaining an interest in learning (which is also valid for adults).

Educational apps are popular due to several reasons. You might want to check them out if you’re considering making such an app:

  1. Time and place flexibility. This is the number one reason why educational apps are so widespread. The simple convenience of having the learning possibilities anywhere and anytime you like at the tip of your fingers makes them incomparable to the offline classes. This is especially important for busy people.
  2. Wide choice. People no longer need to choose only those courses that are presented in their city or wait until a particular person decides to take a tour. Nowadays we are free to choose from any of the learning materials available online.
  3. Efficiency. Online learning provides a way to a more efficient way of learning, i.e. the one that is more quick and organized, requires no commuting, etc.
  4. Money-saving. In case an app is not about online courses at all but a kind of a specific subject learning app or an educational game, and even if it’s monetized by way of subscription, it’s still far less expensive than paying a tutor.
  5. Analysis. An educational app for learning provides useful and insightful statistics on a level a person is currently on and how much progress they have made.
How to make an educational app

Estudio Educational Mobile App by Nimasha Perera

Educational apps market

Have you noticed how many people are involved in some kind of online learning activity? Have you tried some during the quarantine?

Online education has been turning into a fashionable trend during recent years and, nudged by the pandemic, it apparently has very good prospects. Developers of such resources are becoming aware that this industry is capable of generating impressive revenues.

To illustrate this, look at the top App Store categories:

An educational market is now a platform where the newest tech solutions are tested and that generates a huge income. It is expected that the educational app market will grow by over $46 billion to 2024.

What features people expect from educational apps 

What makes an educational app for learning? Given the wide choice of options described earlier, it highly depends on its purpose. Basic features of an educational app usually include:

  • user profile
  • menu
  • learning material storage
  • push notifications
  • feedback
  • scheduling system
  • search
  • statistics on the dynamics of learning
  • social network integration
  • the ability to make payments (if needed).

How to create an educational app

Before developing an app for learning, it’s important to outline your plan of action. Following these steps will save you from a lot of trouble:

  • Finding an idea. Think about what you or the people around you would like to have on their phones, what are the trends and opportunities, and come up with a unique (at least, in some ways) idea.
  • Market research. Pay as much attention to this step as you can because a lack of proper marketing research is of the major problems why so many startups fail before they are able to make a statement.
  • Testing. After you’ve picked an idea and have studied the market, ask your target audience about it. Do they like it? Do they need it? What advice do they have?
  • MVP. First, build an MVP with basic features and go from there.

App constructors

While looking for a way to create an educational app, you may come across app constructors that offer you the services of app building without coding with ready-made solutions. They are far cheaper than custom solutions made for you by professional app development companies. However, you should be aware that using these kinds of services has several very serious drawbacks like the inability to create something custom, maintainability issues, and possible problems with getting your product to the app stores.

Educational app development

Online Course & Educational App UI by Niaz Mahmud

Educational app design

The design of an app depends on its users and their goals. The UI of a learning app can vary from colorful and cute themes with animations and illustrations for kids to sober and minimalistic ones for adults. What they all have in common is the UX part. Every educational app is useful when it’s able to:

  • capture a person’s attention and keep it
  • engage them with learning activities
  • offer meaningful experiences
  • let socially interact.

To achieve it, designers make use of all kinds of tricks to ensure the smooth continuous flow, a sense of achievement, ease of use, and a clear structure.

Educational app design Shakuro

Educational App Design by Shakuro

Educational app development

To make an educational app for iOS or Android, you’ll need a development team, consisting of the following specialists:

  • a project manager
  • UI/UX designer
  • one or two mobile developers 
  • one or two back-end developers (depending on the required development speed)
  • a QA engineer.

As you need the help of several people, the task of hiring separate freelancer specialists may prove to be troublesome, so you have two basic options: hire an in-house team or make use of outsourcing company services.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these approaches. In-house teams mean easier communication. But they tend to cost more (sometimes several times more) due to the higher standards of living in certain parts of the world. Developers from outsourcing destinations offer more affordable rates having the same level of expertise and without compromising on the end result.

Technology stack

Before learning the details, it’s impossible to say for certain which languages and technologies to choose for mobile app development since now they all have their benefits and drawbacks. 

Our iOS/Android mobile app stack consists of  Swift and Objective-C programming languages and Xcode IDE. Java and Kotlin languages, Android Studio IDE, and Retrofit REST client are used for Android app development. Backend/API stack is provided by Ruby, .NET, Postgre DB, Redis. Admin panels are made with Material UI, React, Angular, jQuery.

There are two major approaches suitable for educational app development: to create a native app or a cross-platform one.

Native applications are created solely for iOS or Android platforms and their main characteristics are:

  • higher price
  • higher requirements for developers
  • higher performance speed.

Cross-platform development means:

  • lower overall costs
  • animations and 3D objects limitations.

So while being more costly, native development seems to be a better choice for educational apps since it offers a more custom and quality-oriented approach. 

When choosing the tech stack for your project, consult the professionals beforehand. The final set of technologies and tools depends on your project requirements.

How to make a learning app

Real-Time School Management Solution by aPurple

How much it costs to make an educational app

Educational mobile app development cost is influenced by several factors, the main one being the number, type, and complexity of the required features and the presence of costly elements like animations.

We at Shakuro have recently finished creating an MVP of an educational app for kids, and the whole process took 2100 hours to complete. So, taking our outsource rates, the rough calculations for this project look like this:

iOS front-end and server-side development: $38 500.

UI/UX design: $22 750.

Management: $7 000.

Testing: $5 250.

Total cost: $73 500.

This is an MVP version. The complete app with additional features will take about 2500-2600 hours ($87 500-$91 000), though these time and cost calculations are approximate and can vary greatly. For example, your MVP may prove to be much cheaper because the project in our example is intended for kids and relies heavily on illustrations and animations which are expensive. You can only receive a more accurate figure after consulting the specialists.

How to monetize an educational app

What method to choose to monetize your app depends on its nature, users, and, to a certain extent, luck (you should always be testing your methods). However, the overwhelming majority of educational apps are monetized using one (or a combination of) these four methods below.

  • Paid apps

The simplest option. You demonstrate a set of features, explain why users need to pay for them and set a reasonable price (which is an art by itself). 

If you choose to make your app free, the best monetizing models in this case are:

  • Subscription

A monthly subscription is the most popular method of monetizing a learning app. 

  • Freemium

Some educational apps like DuoLingo offer premium features that require subscribing to unlock.

  • In-app ads

Ads are popular because they allow people to use apps for free. You should only be aware of what ads you choose and how many of them, especially in the case of apps for kids. 

Trends in learning app development

Video content

Video remains one of the most popular content formats. For example, it explains the explosive growth of the Tik Tok app. Back in 2016, the application was popular only in China, but already in September 2018, in terms of the number of downloads in the USA, TikTok beat Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Incorporate video lectures in your learning app if they suit its format.

Video in educational apps

Education App by CMARIX TechnoLabs

Technologies like AR, VR, and AI

Virtual reality (VR) is still perceived by many as pure entertainment. There are still not enough VR devices to talk about the revolution in the gaming industry. But the format turned out to be in demand in other areas, for example, in medicine and education. More and more large companies are starting to use VR to train their own employees. The reasons are simple: an employee can be quickly and easily immersed in the context of a situation, taken through different scenarios, and immediately tested.

AR-visualization allows you to show complex objects in a simple and convenient way, which increases not only the memorization of information but also the depth of understanding. By the way, Apple recently introduced its new iPad Pro with the LiDAR scanner, capable of measuring distances to surrounding objects. It opens up new opportunities for AR augmented reality and learning.

As for the use of artificial intelligence, there are AI chatbots ready to assist. AI mentors are always at hand and let you explore an incomprehensible topic at any time. What’s more, AI algorithms can analyze thousands of works, identify the problem areas of a particular student, and create individual lessons to fill the knowledge gaps.

What makes a good educational app

Online Course & Educational App UI by Niaz Mahmud


Gamification in apps means that game rules are used to achieve real goals. In other words, with the game-like flow, you make boring assignments interesting and transform something difficult into simple.

Gamification attracts and retains a user audience with the help of likes, levels, achievements, progress bars, prizes, and surprises. It affects a user’s engagement and the amount of time spent on apps. Ultimately, all this translates into an increase in your profits.

Gamification in educational apps

Leadership Factory | dashboard & congrats feadback by Mohamed Kamal

Micro training

Micro training is considered one of the main fitness trends in 2020. Judging by the accelerating pace of life, every year its popularity will only grow. 

Micro training techniques are valid not only for fitness apps but for educational ones. It means presenting educational content in a very short and easily digestible form taking 5-10 minutes to accomplish.

Let’s make your ideas a reality

Though the pandemic has taken its toll on all of us, there is no need to be a hostage to the situation. There’s no need to stop, it’s worth continuing to search for new opportunities and use the situation to develop new projects and ideas. It can as well be a new and exciting educational app.

Let’s figure out together how to create an educational app 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!

Further reads on e-learning app development:

Mobile app development
Making apps stay on peoples' phones.
Written by Kate Shokurova
June 06, 2020