eLearning & mLearning: Educational App Development Best Practices

The article was updated on March 13, 2024.

When you fancy a classroom, you probably see rows of desks facing a chalkboard. The teacher lectures from a textbook while students take notes. This may be what you picture when you think of studying. But classrooms today are undergoing a digital transformation. The EdTech industry is enabling new models of education not bound by physical spaces.

Mobile learning is leading the charge by delivering content to students anywhere and has occurred across geographic and industry boundaries. Online learning apps now play a vital role in education, corporate, and personal development around the globe, including audiences in remote areas.

According to an in-depth market analysis, the estimated global revenue from eLearning platforms is projected to reach $477 billion by the end of 2032 (nearly double from 2022). Hundreds of thousands of education apps across app stores also prove the sector is in the top 5 of the most in-demand apps globally. Moreover, their widespread use points to the segment’s establishment as a mainstream learning channel with an international scope.

Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to enter this accelerating market or an investor seeking a promising piece of pie, the article sheds light on the benefits of such apps and what types exist today. We will also share our real-world experience of what to focus on when building an eLearning app so that it has high potential from the get go.

! Check this presentation to get a better idea of Eastern Peak and enjoy a video case study from the eLearning company.

What is eLearning?

eLearning and mLearning (mobile learning) – a kind of distance learning with the help of new technologies: educational apps, online platforms, programs, podcasts, blogs, online tools etc. They can facilitate learning, control learning, provide access to resources, and offer support in an easy and engaging way.

Once relegated to dreary slideshows and clunky management systems, eLearning has evolved into an engaging and effective way for upskilling and reskilling. According to Global Market Insights, the e-learning industry is expected to exceed 1 Trillion USD by 2028.

The rise of mobile technologies has fueled much of this growth. MLearning allows people to learn via smartphones, tablets, or wearable tech. Not surprisingly, mLearning applications are one of the fastest-growing segments of digital education.

Research shows that people spend around 200 minutes a day on their devices, so mLearning fits nicely into existing habits and schedules. Companies are also actively leveraging it for on-the-go training for employees.

While still a relatively new frontier, educational mobile app development will likely further transform how people study, giving digital entrepreneurs tremendous opportunities.


What are the benefits of eLearning?

While online education offers students flexibility that traditional learning cannot match, it also provides several other potential benefits.


Any educational mobile app allows individuals to choose when and where they study. With accessibility no longer constrained by physical location or commuting, online education creates opportunities for lifelong learning among diverse groups, including working professionals, parents, individuals with disabilities, and so on.

Latest information

The educational content in eLearning applications is continually updated and reflects current trends and innovations. This ensures learners have access to up-to-the-minute material to upgrade their expertise as their industries advance.

Personalized learning

Online learning apps allow students to choose topics and skills they want to focus on. Apps may adjust the difficulty or focus of the content based on a student’s strengths and weaknesses. They can also track students’ progress and performance and customize the learning experience.

Engaging content

Many apps incorporate interactive and engaging content like videos, hands-on exercises, gaming elements, and more. The stimulating content is a key answer to the question on how to build an eLearning app and keep students motivated to continue learning. The variety of content also allows all students to benefit because it caters to different studying styles.


These apps are often very affordable or even free to students. The low cost removes financial barriers to education. It allows anyone with an internet-connected device to master new skills and gain new knowledge – an opportunity that may not otherwise be possible.


Educational applications types

As developers with lengthy expertise in education application development, we monitor all the app types that are available (and appearing) on the market. Broadly speaking, today’s options can be grouped into those focused on content delivery, resource provision, skill building, and assessment.

Exploring the main ones can help you come up with your own educational app ideas.

1. Corporate learning applications

Since every company has unique learning requirements, generic courses don’t always fit the bill. Custom apps give you the opportunity to tailor content to a specific company’s needs, values, products, services, and internal processes.

When you develop an educational app, you can focus on precisely what employees need to know to excel in their roles.

Examples for inspiration: iSpring Learn, Litmos, Learn Upon.

2. Individual training apps

The rise of individual educational apps has also been primarily due to customization. They assess student knowledge and skills and then create a learning path based on their level and purposes.

Moreover, unlike dusty old textbooks, eLearning apps breathe adventure and discovery into the learning process. They incorporate gaming elements, fun tutorial videos, interactive quizzes, and more. Find a gap niche here, and your startup is poised for success.

Examples for inspiration: Solo Learn, edX, Coursera, and more.

3. Learning applications for children

Kids these days are digital natives, growing up surrounded by technology. Educational apps tap into kids’ natural curiosity and are a fun way to learn and develop skills at an early age.

Many apps teach core subjects like reading, math, and science interactively through games and activities and supplement education during out-of-school time. With permanent demand, the segment certainly makes an option to consider for startups.

Examples for inspiration: SplashLearn, ABCmouse, Reading Eggs.

4. Language learning applications (the most significant cohort)

These apps currently dominate – their fame stems from strong demand as language proficiency becomes increasingly vital in our globalized world. As the largest category of eLearning mobile applications, they have shown commercial viability.

With ongoing innovation to make language acquisition even more engaging and accessible, the future remains bright for strategic ventures in this industry.

Examples for inspiration: Babbel, Memrise, Duolingo.  


5. Brain training apps

The emerging field of brain training applications offers intriguing opportunities for educational startups. These apps have found popularity among users and aim to enhance cognitive abilities through games and exercises.

For entrepreneurs, exploring innovative twists on brain training or partnerships with neuroscientists can help create promising apps in this growing space. The application of brain science to support learning also presents possibilities worth exploring.

Examples for inspiration: Elevate, Lumosity, Peak.

6. Classroom learning applications

Another area ripe for development is apps for classrooms. As more schools and universities embrace technology, there is a demand for pedagogically sound software and mobile applications.

Entrepreneurs with experience in education can craft solutions that make a real difference for students and teachers. Building an eLearning app that provides data-oriented insights into student performance also has the potential to transform teaching and learning.

Examples for inspiration: Minecraft Edu, Google Classroom, Loom.

7. Dictionaries, textbooks, and exam prep apps

As you explore opportunities in the EdTech sector, you can consider developing applications focused on reference materials, learning content, and test preparation support.

Each of these applications addresses both mobile learners and time-strapped educators. With a bright idea and proficient execution, it can be an exciting niche with ongoing demand from students and lifelong learners.

Examples for inspiration: 1-12 Textbooks, Magoosh GMAT Prep, English Dictionary.

Magoosh-GMAT-Prep-app Magoosh-GMAT-Prep-app

8. EdTech apps for teachers

How to create an education app for educators? EdTech presents many opportunities for startups to develop innovations that improve teachers’ experience. Some key categories (and niches to explore for fresh ideas) include the following:

  • instructional apps for delivering content;
  • assessment apps for testing student comprehension; and
  • classroom management apps to track attendance, grades, and communications.

Come up with a new concept that covers another educator’s pain point, and you will surely thrive.

Examples for inspiration: Khan Academy, Remind, ClassPoint.

9. Mobile tests/quizzes

As more learning moves to digital formats, the ability to assess knowledge and skills through the ease and ubiquity of smartphones presents another opportunity. A well-designed platform for administering assessments on mobile could also see widespread adoption.

This niche within EdTech definitely warrants further consideration by entrepreneurs seeking their next high-growth venture.

Examples for inspiration: Quizlet, Quizizz, Rapid Refresh.

10. Marketplace apps for tutoring

Marketplace platforms that connect tutors with students seeking extra help have emerged as a popular business model. By building an extensive network of qualified tutors and offering flexible scheduling options to students, developing these educational apps solves the challenges of accessibility and affordability that traditional tutoring presents.

Success in this space depends on a startup’s ability to quickly scale a high-quality, easy-to-use marketplace with a growing user base.

Examples for inspiration: Preply, Wyzant, TakeLessons.


Key features to keep in mind when creating a custom eLearning app

To boost retention, you must have a sticky app that has students hooked to use it for hours.

Let’s outline the specific features of eLearning apps your application should boast to help you retain users:

  • Easy on the eyes interface. Too many flashy doodads distract learners, but a plain design doesn’t cut it either. Maintain a balance between esthetics and usability.
  • Adaptive learning. The algorithm lets learners stay in their zone of proximal development, allowing them not to get too frustrated but still be challenged. The app gets smarter over time and adjusts based on user strengths, weaknesses, and behaviors.
  • Personalization. Allow the creation of custom profiles reflecting different ages, abilities, and interests. Personalized lessons, tests, and timelines motivate self-paced progression at each user’s desired level.
  • Video lessons. One of the primary eLearning apps features nowadays that is in high demand. Video content permits students to hear or watch pre-recorded lessons at their convenience.
  • Progress tracking. Built-in assessments, badges, and analytics allow students to gauge their advancement. They can see what they’ve grasped and what needs review. For you, the tools provide data to improve the product.
  • Multilingual menus and content. Support the world’s major languages to reach global learners. Clear translations of your online learning app ensure international users feel confident exploring new concepts in their native tongue.
  • Social features. Feeling part of a community leads to greater retention. Discussion forums, messaging, and collaborative activities give learners a chance to connect, ask questions, and support each other.

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eLearning application development best practices

With sound research and adherence to optimal practices, your aspirations to create an educational app can come to life and become a thriving EdTech business. Jumping ahead, we recommend committing to freshest content with a personalized experience, rigorous security, and continuous improvement.

For more, from the very start, heed the guidance below based on our expertise.

1. Decide on the proper eLearning app format

First, determine your niche. Do you want to teach languages, offer skill development courses for professionals, help kids learn math, or anything else? Focusing on a specific sphere and understanding your audience helps determine the right format.

Then, consider the following:

  • Your audience’s learning preferences. Think about how your target audience prefers to learn. Does it need more oral explanations of “what and why” or showing “how to”? The format should suit your audience’s purposes and learning styles.
  • Modality. The multi-modal approach usually deepens the learning experience. Even if your learners prefer videos, you can still incorporate various educational materials – diagrams, tables, games, etc.

2. Identify the best monetization model for your educational app

The monetization model you choose can make or break your success. Understanding your users is critical here, too. It helps figure out what model allows you to deliver the most value at a price they’re willing to pay.

If keeping your app completely free is essential, advertising is an option. However, ads can annoy users and distract them from the learning experience. They also typically generate less revenue than paid models.

Therefore, you may think of a more steady income with paid models:

  • Subscription. One of the most widespread options for education apps. Charge users an annual or monthly fee to access your content. This provides predictable revenue and incentivizes you to frequently update content to keep subscribers engaged.
  • Freemium. Offer your app free but charge for advanced features like customized learning plans, certifications, ad-free content, etc. The free version lets users try it before buying and is a powerful marketing tool. The challenge, however, is balance between your paid and free offerings.

3. Design an inclusive user experience for your eLearning mobile app

Now, the practical part starts. How to create an eLearning app that attracts learners of all abilities?

  • A personalized UX is key. Offer ways for learners to customize their experience. Let them choose color themes, font sizes, left-handed vs. right-handed layouts, etc.
  • Accessibility is a must. Make your application work for users with disabilities as well. Follow web accessibility guidelines about color contrast, fonts, captioning, keyboard navigation, responsive design, and other assistive technologies.
  • Keep interfaces intuitive. Focus on a simple design using common UI elements that most people recognize. The interface should be so intuitive learners don’t even have to think about it. Your app’s success depends on how easy and enjoyable it is to use.

Read also: Top 7 Education App Design Trends and Best Practices to Follow


4. Customize the learning experience through your app

No two learners are alike. So, a uniform approach doesn’t cut it when you make an eLearning app.

To ensure your platform offers truly bespoke services, you can offer the following:

  • Diagnostic pre-test. Such an assessment determines the learner’s existing proficiency level. Students are exempted from content they already know.
  • Tailored action plan. Personalized recommendations within modules give learners a precise sequence of steps to achieve their goals and can adjust their curriculum.
  • Customized content. For visual learners, provide lots of images, graphics, and video. Auditory learners appreciate audio explanations and podcasts. Kinesthetic ones benefit from interactive simulations, assessments, and empirical examples.

Besides, for a truly personalized experience, allow learners to choose topics, set their own goals, follow recommended learning paths, or forge their own trail.

Need help to develop an eLearning app?

With our EdTech applications development, you’ll get the solution that empowers your learners to engage with captivating content, collaborate effectively, and grasp complex concepts with ease. Learn more about how we can help!

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5. Manage content and keep your eLearning application up-to-date

The world of education technology moves fast. There are always new tools, techniques, and best practices to incorporate into your app. Make it a habit to stay on top of trends in instructional design, gamification, virtual reality, and whatever else is shaping the future of learning.

How to make an eLearning app your story of success? Find ways to integrate some of these novelties into your platform and existing content to keep things interesting.

What’s no less important is that your app has a voracious appetite for fresh content. Make sure new lessons, exercises, videos, and other content are added (by you or educators) regularly. Learners quickly get bored if they see the same stale content every time they log in.

6. Secure student data privacy

If you’re developing an eLearning app, student privacy should be at the top of your priority list. Nothing turns off users (and attracts lawsuits) faster than lax data security.

As an app creator, you are responsible for keeping students’ personal information and test scores under lock and key.

  • Choose a secure hosting provider. Look for one that offers features like two-factor authentication, data encryption, DDoS protection, and regular security audits.
  • Limit data collection. Only get the minimum amount of student data needed for your mobile learning app to function. The less data you have, the less there is to steal or leak.
  • Encrypt sensitive data. Use a strong cipher to scramble data into unreadable code that can only be deciphered with a key. Encrypt data both in transit and at rest.
  • Conduct regular audits. No system is 100% hack-proof, so conduct regular security audits to find and fix any vulnerabilities.

7. Implement feedback loops

When creating an educational app, it is vital to incorporate features that promote active participation and allow instructors to monitor student performance closely. The following mechanisms enable you and educators to address any issues promptly:

  • in-app surveys;
  • direct messaging with educators; and
  • automatic progress reports.

By facilitating two-way communication and transparentizing academic progress, your mobile learning app helps students feel more connected to their coursework while identifying individuals who may need additional support.

8. Integrate socializing

How to build an educational app that makes learners stick around as lifelong clients? Integrate some social features into your application. They make solitary screen time an interactive, collaborative, and rewarding experience for students. They form connections and feel more deeply absorbed by content.

  • Discussion forums – Allow students to ask questions, debate topics, and learn from each other. Make forums subject-specific and consider offering badges for frequent contributors.
  • Peer feedback and reviews – Develop critical thinking and also take some of the burden off you (or educators). Students can review assignments, projects, essays, and more.
  • Collaborative projects – Teach students how to be influential team members, delegate responsibilities, communicate, and resolve conflicts. These work exceptionally well for corporate learners.


How to develop an eLearning app?

The product discovery phase is the best first step you can take to lay a solid foundation for the development of your eLearning app. It is also a good way to quickly respond to audience’s needs with minimum efforts, especially when market situation is rapidly changing. It includes a functional specification, UX/UI design, and a visual prototype that will give you a clear vision of the end product.

The product discovery phase can help you:

  • define a full scope of work and develop a roadmap for the project
  • set a realistic budget for your MVP and plan your resources
  • test the waters with your audience using a visual prototype
  • craft a convincing investment pitch
  • get to know your team

As your eLearning app developers, we at Eastern Peak can help you nail down features and functionality and join the prospering pioneers shaping the future of education.

Contact us to discuss how to create an educational app that can disrupt the global market and open up new revenue streams, from ideation to after-launch support.

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