How to Create an eLearning Platform like Udemy: A Complete Guide

We all stand at the precipice of opportunity in the digital education industry. With the meteoric rise of Udemy and other e-learning websites, the prospects for new EdTech startups have never been brighter.

As an entrepreneur or investor, you hold the power to ride the e-learning wave and develop an educational platform that – pathos aside – can transform people’s lives. The Udemy’s success story of remarkable success illuminates these vast possibilities.

The e-learning industry shows tremendous potential for growth and innovation. It’s projected to reach $1 tn by 2032 compared to $400 bln in 2022. Continuous technological advancements, increasing demand for online learning, and new monetization models present many opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs to develop profitable e-learning businesses.

By creating an e-learning platform offering in-demand and specialized content, startups can tap into this fast-growing market and prosper.

In this article, we explore the EdTech industry, specifically the rise of websites like Udemy, and find out why this sector presents valuable opportunities for startups and investors. We will also share some recommendations on how to create an online learning platform poised for a thrilling ride to the top.

Why now is an excellent time for developing your own e-learning platform

Starting in the early 2000s and following significant growth in recent years, educational websites have grown into a multi-billion dollar market, and the sector is heading towards further expansion.

After a surge in audience growth in 2020-2021, with MOOCs engaging over 180 and 220 million learners worldwide, respectively (an increase of 22% during the year), users’ interest in continuing virtual education remains stable. Thus, for instance, 73% of US students expressed interest in taking additional online classes on sites like Udemy.

The demand for e-learning is also increasing due to a growing need for a skilled workforce in many industries. Meanwhile, 83% of global white collar workers feel there is a skills gap in their current qualifications.

Online learning offers quality and flexible upskilling and reskilling employees. Companies are turning to digital educational platforms to train their staff in areas like leadership, technology skills, and more.

So, why can investments in developing an eLearning platform generate quick returns?

  • Growing demand for skills-based learning. There is a heavy demand for programs that provide practical knowledge and skills for career advancement. An educational website that provides job-related e-learning courses will be well-positioned to tap into this increasing need.
  • Growth of subscription and on-demand models. The market is transitioning to subscription and on-demand models. A new e-learning platform can adopt this model to provide students with an all-access pass to their content and enjoy a steady income.
  • Lifelong learning. There is a growing belief in the importance of lifelong learning to keep up with technologies. Your educational website catering to the lifelong learning needs of working professionals, career changers, and hobbyists can rely on a stable customer base.

Now is an ideal time for entrepreneurs to enter the e-learning space with a Udemy-like platform. By leveraging these trends and providing accessible online learning experiences, startups can foster their long-term viability.

Thank you
for downloading the guide!

Free Guide to Your Project Budgeting

Explore real-life examples and discover the ways to stay
within your budget.

Field is required
Field is required
Field is required

What is Udemy? Lessons from its success

Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with a course library of over 210,000 titles in 75 languages. With its extensive catalog covering in-demand skills and topics from coding and entrepreneurship to nail artistry and dog training, Udemy now boasts

  • over 67 million learners served,
  • more than 75,000 expert instructors,
  • nearly 900 million course enrollments to date, and
  • over 15,000 enterprise customers engaged.

The main principle of this online learning platform is to make it effortless for anyone to create and sell courses. Vetted instructors can upload videos, set prices, and get a portion of the revenue from each sale.

For students, the marketplace is a true goldmine. Courses start at $9.99 and go up to a hundred dollars for advanced, multi-hour programs. But Udemy continually runs sales, so learners often get 80-95% off. Besides, the platform offers a lot of free courses.

If you are thinking about how to make a website like Udemy and organize the study process methodically, please note their educational materials include modules and video lectures, written notes, assignments, practice exams, and more – typical for “traditional” curricula.

Moreover, Udemy organizes on-demand programs, especially for business customers, allowing them to enroll in courses aligned with their objectives.


The keys to impressive expansion: Winning business model and growth strategy

This Udemy story has all the makings of a Silicon Valley legend: a modest beginning in 2010 by three friends, obstacles along the way (refusals from 30 potential investors), and – subsequently – a dizzying success.

But regardless of the Udemy’s stage, its business model has always relied on three factors:

  • low costs,
  • scalability, and
  • network effects.

Furthermore, the Udemy revenue model is streamlined yet diversified:

  • Subscription services. The platform offers individuals unlimited access to professional development courses for $19.99 per month.
  • Special plans for enterprises. Udemy for Business provides tailored subscription plans for companies of different sizes and needs.
  • Content sales sharing. When students purchase courses, revenue is shared between educators and Udemy based on the sale method. Paid marketing splits revenue 75%/25%, organic purchases 50%/50%, and instructor promotions 97%/3%.

How to build an eLearning platform and become the next Udemy: 6 steps

If you want to become a household name in online education, with a laser focus on your target audience’ pains, thorough planning, and execution, you can compete well with industry leaders.

Here are the steps to follow to create a website like Udemy.

1. Understand your TA and competition

To come up with a new platform, you need to know who you’re serving and who you’re up against. Udemy targets learners of all ages (core TA – 25-34 y.o. male (62%)) seeking to gain practical skills through online video courses. Their audience is focused on professional and personal development.

  • Spot your audience based on interests, goals, and demographics. Are you targeting corporate learners, hobbyists, or career switchers? Know your customers inside to cater to their needs.
  • Analyze competitors to see what’s trending. Study their features, monetization models, and course topics. Then, improve their formulas by offering online courses like Udemy, but more distinct or specializing in a particular niche.

2. Define your value propositions

To succeed, you must offer value that keeps students and instructors returning. Udemy’s key competitive differentiators are ease of use, impressive affordability, flexibility for students and teachers, and the “Udemy for Business” service. When creating an eLearning platform like Udemy, what can make yours a win-win for both sides?

Our suggestions for students:

  • Affordability. Like Udemy, charge low fees or offer frequent discounts and sales.
  • Variety. Provide a wide selection of courses on diverse topics (or in your specialized niche).
  • Quality. Ensure high-quality courses by vetting instructors, monitoring reviews, and providing refunds.

For instructors, think about the following:

  • Exposure. Give teachers an eLearning platform to reach students on a massive scale.
  • Creative control. Allow instructors to build their own courses with their preferred content, style, and delivery method.
  • Revenue share. Offer instructors a generous portion of their courses’ sales, incentivizing them to create fantastic content that sells.

3. Choose a sustainable money-making model for your custom elearning platform

After you’ve got your target audience figured out and know what value you can offer, think over ways of monetization. As said above, Udemy generates revenue through subscriptions for individual learners and business teams and by sharing profits from content sales with instructors. You can consider

  • pay-per-course model;
  • subscriptions; and
  • mixed model.

The combo model provides the most stable recurring revenue.

Need help to develop an eLearning platform like Udemy?

With our EdTech software 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!

Learn more

4. Opt for must-have features

As an edupreneur, your top priority in online learning platform development should be crafting an experience all your target groups – students and teachers – rave about. Below are key features that can help with it, categorized into student, teacher, and administrative areas.

Student features

  • Include a search capability allowing users to find courses matching keywords or criteria.
  • Provide filtering options to refine results by attributes like price, subject matter, duration, instructor, skill level, and more.
  • Develop personalized recommendations by analyzing a user’s enrolled courses to surface new relevant content.
  • Give a place on your online learning website to connect with instructors and each other (discussion forums).
  • Offer certificates for completing courses and programs to validate students’ new skills and knowledge.

Teacher features

  • Construct a course builder interface empowering instructors to develop their own learning content.
  • Provide flexible pricing models for free or paid courses. For paid courses, provide options like one-time payments, subscriptions, and bundled deals.
  • Offer built-in options to email educators’ followers, post on social media, and run promotions like coupons or flash sales.
  • Design a dashboard on your eLearning platform like Udemy displaying metrics like enrolled students, earnings, and other performance indicators.
  • Allow for the withdrawal of funds earned through the platform.

Administrative features

  • Develop functionality for adding and removing users and courses.
  • Provide tools to organize, manage, monitor, and report on course activities.
  • Build out notification management.

5. Partner with the proficient eLearning platform development company

Selecting the right partner to build a website like Udemy is crucial – it’s like finding a co-founder for your project. With the stakes high, take the time to research potential vendors thoroughly.

Look for the one that demonstrates deep expertise in education and technology, allowing them to create an intuitive, engaging platform. Consider their experience designing platforms for institutions similar to yours. And don’t neglect cultural fit – you want a partner invested in understanding your mission and values.

Having said that, why is Eastern Peak the right partner for your e-learning software development?

  • Proven experience. We have over 10 years of experience developing both marketplaces and eLearning platforms. Our solutions are used by millions of learners worldwide.
  • Tech expertise. We stay on the cutting edge of trends in eLearning and leverage the latest technologies like AI, AR/VR, adaptive learning, and gamification to build innovative solutions.
  • Focus on high-quality UI/UX. We know that user experience is critical to learner engagement and knowledge retention. Our designers create highly intuitive interfaces that provide an excellent UX on any device.
  • Dedicated team and process. We can assemble a dedicated team of eLearning experts for your project and follow a proven process refined over years of experience developing online learning solutions.

So, we are guaranteed to know how to create an e-learning website for you and make it a big success.

6. Launch and continuously improve your platform

After your eLearning platform is built and tested, it’s time to release it and see how it fares. Once it goes live, see what teachers and students love, but more importantly, find out what’s not working or what could use improvement. Fix issues fast.

After that comes the time for marketing. Use social media, content marketing, email campaigns, and word-of-mouth to spread the word about your new platform. Offer special promotions and deals to attract new educators and students. And don’t be afraid to compare yourself to the competition to show how you’re different and better.

Growing an eLearning video platform is a marathon, not a sprint. Once you get a solid base of users, keep optimizing and improving. Add new features and expand into new subject areas and niche fields of study. Make the user experience as seamless as possible.


How to market an e-learning website: Best strategies to stay competitive

Keeping learners committed and motivated requires an ongoing effort. Follow these strategies, and you’ll leave the competition in the dust.

1. Optimize UX/UI design for intuitive, accessible features

As an educational platform, your UX and UI design is among the first to keep learners engaged. Make it easy for users to find what they seek in just a few clicks.

An intuitive design means

  • an uncluttered interface with plenty of negative space;
  • logical menu groupings and navigation;
  • consistency across pages so learners aren’t re-learning how to use your site on every screen; and
  • prominent search functionality so people can quickly find courses, topics, or skills.

If your custom eLearning platform looks and functions like it was designed in the 90s, you will have a hard time attracting younger, tech-savvy learners.

2. Source high-quality instructors to create valuable courses

Look for subject experts with proven expertise who can help students achieve their goals. They will create courses chock-full of helpful information and actionable advice.

When creating an eLearning platform, seek out instructors who

  • Have field experience. Whether they’re industry leaders, published authors, or just seriously skilled, invite those with the proficiency that shines through.
  • Know how to connect with students. Look for educators who can break down complicated topics in an easy-to-understand way. Bonus points if they have a fun, quirky teaching style.
  • Are in the know about trends. In our dynamic world, instructors and their content must keep up with the latest tools, techniques, and technologies.

Vet each instructor thoroughly. Have them detail their background, experience, teaching methodology, and course vision. The educators you choose shape the user experience on your platform, so take your time finding the perfect match.

3. Coordinate content for your custom eLearning platform

Boring content is the fastest way to kill motivation. To keep users of your online learning platform interested, focus on curating content that is

  • Relevant. Opt for topics that align with your users’ interests and goals.
  • Interactive. Pick content that promotes active learning with exercises, discussions, simulations, and practical applications.
  • Multimedia. Check the courses to mix up text, images, video, audio, and other formats.
  • Challenging but achievable. Aim for content that pushes users outside their comfort zone so they can grow, but not so far that they get frustrated.
  • Present-day. Especially for technical topics, outdated information is useless.
  • Entertaining. Learning should be fun, not a drag. Content with an element of humor, storytelling, or gamification makes the experience enjoyable.
  • Practical. Approve courses developing actual skills and applications versus pure theory.

4. Make it easy for learners to find the right courses

Learners may get frustrated and leave if your Udemy alternative is a maze of options. To avoid this, put yourself in your learners’ shoes. Ask yourself: what’s the easiest way for me to choose a course? For most, it’s by filtering options.

Once learners find some courses, help them choose by providing the following info:

  • a concise course description,
  • learning outcomes and objectives,
  • key topics covered,
  • prerequisites or prior knowledge needed, and
  • course rating and reviews from other learners.

Onboarding new learners should be breezy and fast. Keep your course selection and signup process simple. Provide interactive notifications, calendar integration, and ongoing user support. The easier it is for learners to find and enroll in courses, the more likely they will become dedicated users of your app, similar to Udemy.

5. Motivate and support learners with gamification and convenience

Give users tools to help them succeed. Employ gamification techniques and leaderboards for extra motivation:

  • Give learners badges or points for completing courses and achieving milestones like the number of hours studied or high test scores.
  • A leaderboard lets them see how they rank against other learners.
  • Offer rewards like unlocking more advanced content or discounts on future courses.

Make learning convenient and bite-sized. Set a rule to break content into short modules that can be completed in a maximum of 15-20 minutes. Learners can study whenever they have a few minutes, for example, while waiting in line at the coffee shop.

For multilingual training aimed at diverse employee groups expected to work together, the Udemy alternatives must provide content localized for different languages. This helps ensure all participants have equal opportunity to learn regardless of their native tongue.

6. Keep up with the latest tech trends

Your eLearning video platform must keep pace with emerging technologies and trends in education to stay competitive. Our clients prove there are the following areas to focus on:

  • Artificial Intelligence. AI enables platforms to provide customized course recommendations and tailor the learning experience to individual users. AI can suggest relevant courses and learning paths by analyzing data on learners’ interests and behaviors. Personalized learning is in high demand, so integrating AI is vital.
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality. These technologies are transforming online learning by providing highly immersive experiences. VR creates an entirely virtual learning environment, while AR can overlay digital information onto the real world, which is matchless for technical training.


Final comments on how to create an eLearning platform like Udemy

The e-learning industry is apparently geared up to flourish in the coming decade. With relatively low barriers to entry, proven business models, and plenty of hungry learners, EdTech could be your ticket to a successful startup. And for such an aspiration, collaborating with a knowledgeable development partner comes out on top.

With our extensive experience building innovative EdTech solutions, Eastern Peak has proven to be a leader in this space. With teams in your time zone, technical capabilities, passion for education, and multiple credentials of successful partnerships, we can help you prepare the next generation of learners for long-term success.

Get in touch with us, Eastern Peak is ready to build an eLearning platform that will become your transformative success.

Read also:

Cookies help us enhance your experience and navigation. By continuing to browse, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device. We do not collect your personal information unless you explicitly ask us to do so. Please see our Privacy policy for more details.

Stand with Ukraine