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How to Build an E-Learning Website: Insights to Use in 2020

How to Build an E-Learning Website

Online Education Trends

Today E-learning is becoming one of the most promising software development markets. As by 2019 Global Market Insights, Inc. report, it will grow up to USD 300 bln. by 2025 (as opposed to USD 190 bln. in 2018). The key driver for the growth is the demand for cost-effective training and learning techniques in the corporate and academic sectors.

E-Learning Market Report Coverage

Report coverage Details
Base Year: 2018 Market Size in 2018: 190 Billion (USD)
Historical Data for: 2014 to 2018 Forecast Period: 2019 to 2025
Forecast Period 2019 to 2025 CAGR: 7% 2025 Value Projection: 300 Billion (USD)

 

Facing the necessity to educate its employees or students remotely, companies and universities more often decide to build an e-learning website. Both of them deal with a huge amount of data, which needs to be stored and managed on one side and easily reached by many people on the other.

Remote access, security, and data backup offered by e-learning allow businesses and universities to make the learning process more cost-effective. It helps to reduce the training expenses and offers integrated learning modules to employees or students. Hence, today the question “how to build an education website” is raised almost in every large corporation.

The rapid growth of AR\VR technologies on the global level and its high applicability in learning techniques is another growth driver in the digital learning market. Their key benefit is that they allow not only to immerse themselves into the content but to interact with it. Thus it offers the users an entertaining way of getting new knowledge saving them from the boredom of reading & scrolling.

To gain the e-learning market share, the developers are focusing on offering learning modules with high engagement levels, customization, and rich content.

Benefits of Building an E-learning Website

Remote e-learning opportunities

Online learning technologies offer the most efficient way for businesses to improve and track employees’ performance or scores. Educational institutions get the opportunity to attract an unlimited amount of students by offering them remote e-learning opportunities. No other educational tool can offer the same flexibility - you only need internet access to start.

Another benefit is reduced costs. The idea to invest once and create an e-learning website for employees instead of making offline courses and pay for trainers is well-liked by businesses. Today corporate sector uses e-learning tools like performance management systems that encompass competency management and employee appraisal.

E-learning gradually changes an eternal issue with the documentation - all the information on courses, training programs, and student's data is centralized and safely stored in an online database. No need to visit libraries - you simply download the necessary course and it’s done! Students have broader access to the best experts and lectors, they are not limited by the local choice of educational institutions any longer.

Major international universities already know how to create a learning website that will be user-friendly, informative and easy to explore. Together with that, it provides great networking opportunities - students can communicate with peers across different countries.

Types of Website for Online Education

A developer would create an e-learning website considering the type of content he needs to deliver and its volume. University students would require a greater amount of texts and tests, while corporates need repeated learning actions to train their employees for some new skills. So, creating your e-learning website, the first thing you are to keep in mind is the type of website.

Being easily accessible and cost-effective, the most popular e-learning website type is packaged content. Second, to come on the list is the learning management system. Due to its high training functionality, it’s becoming more widespread among corporates - they are adopting Saas - based learning management systems to educate employees for career enhancements.

Whatever virtual student you’re addressing today, you would engage him more with video-based learning. For teaching some exact skills, like advertising campaign adjustment or any other alike, this is the most effective format. The two top-trend types that gain bigger popularity today are the gamification and virtual classrooms. They are not yet the most widespread, but very promising types of e-learning due to their high engagement.

Current e-learning market segmentation is listed in the table below:

Market Segmentation by Delivery Mode Market Segmentation by Learning Mode Market Segmentation by Type Market Segmentation by End-user
Packaged Content Self-paced Training K-12 (high schoolers)
SaaS/LMS Instructor-led Testing Higher Education
Others     Corporates
      Government
      Vocational (self-driven individuals)

 

The Most Popular Examples of E-learning Platforms

List of popular e-learning platforms

The market is growing fast. The number of vendors who build online learning platforms increases in all major countries. Nevertheless, the market core is formed by several companies, providing the world’s leading e-learning technologies. Those are Apollo Education Group Inc; BlackBoard Learn; Oracle; Pearson PLC and The British Council.

Even those, who never experienced remote learning, most likely would recognize such names as Coursera or Edmondo. Some other names for googling to get the picture of how a well-designed e-learning website should look like, are:

  • Desire2Learn
  • Docebo
  • Educomp
  • edX
  • English Attack
  • Macmillan Education
  • Simplilearn
  • Skillsoft
  • SweetRush
  • 360Learning
  • Age of Learning
  • Learnetic

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Business Model Canvas

Creating business model canvas

Elaborating the structure and key features list of any e-learning platform, it’s crucial to make sure that all possible monetization options can be realized within it.

Before developing the site architecture and designing different ways of streaming the students to courses, you are to decide which model is most appropriate for your case:

  • Subscription. The most popular monetization model in online education, when you charge a monthly fee from your customers for a certain amount of content.
  • Advertising. E-learning presumes almost perfect knowledge of each regular website user - starting a course they leave their personal data. Having such a well-targeted audience offers good opportunities to get profit by advertising.
  • Sponsorships. Dealing with online students, you know for sure their area of interest. Depending on the course, you can offer sponsorship opportunities for companies and sell them a very accurate and perfectly targeted audience.

Features That Every Educational Platform Should Have

Opposed to numerous bonuses that e-learning can offer, the key challenge faced by all market players is the retention rate, which is not too high. Online education provides great flexibility, and at the same time, it is complicated to motivate people to go on in their studies.

If users are not faced with the necessity to learn online (like in the corporate sector) they would rather spend this time with more entertaining content.

A great part of the business process in every e-learning project is creating a habit to use the product. To do that you’re to understand your users better and know their needs and interests. The general approach to developing the habit is based on the following steps:

  • Necessity. You find those who need a website like yours in their work or everyday life. How do you find them?
    Define the need first. If you can develop an educational app, that will raise some professional skills and help users to progress up the career ladder, you will get better user retention in that very niche.
    To outline those niches you are to find the places where professionals discuss their problems and needs - forums, communities in social media, industry events and conferences and carefully collect the data.
  • Ease of use. You help in some repeated activities, keep necessary data or remind of important things in a non - irritating manner. The biggest problem of educational websites is that you cannot hold your user’s attention as if they were sitting in a classroom.
    Creating a habit for online education depends on the convenience of information perception. You need content that the user will catch on to within a couple of minutes and will use it right away.
  • Triggers and reminders. In other words - marketing. In addition to the standard advertising toolset - ads in social media and search systems - you need to use triggers. In most cases push-notifications and ads in social media are irritating, but if you do it in the right place and time, it brings positive results.

Dealing with the content of an e-learning website, the leading developers advise to form it in a specified order, which makes it easier for the users to perceive the information. When you decide to build your own education platform, do not hesitate to use these tips:

  • Microlearning. Break the course into small chunks as short as a couple of minutes and focus each of them on a single objective
  • Customize the Modules. Separate the data by different skills or job roles. It makes users feel that the course is relevant to them.
  • Add Scenarios. You put the learner into a theoretical position and get them to make decisions.
  • Use different ways to present your course - text, audio, video, animation, infographics, and images.
  • Provide the learner with immediate feedback on the results. It makes them feel in control of the learning process.
  • Add gamified elements.

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How to Create an E-learning Website Step-by-Step

Business-class.pro - an educational platform for entrepreneurs

Going further from theory to practice, let’s have a look at the collaboration of Google unit in Russia and Sberbank, the biggest bank of Russia. Together they started a project called Business-class.pro - an educational platform for entrepreneurs eager to develop their own business.

The website offers the online courses that explain the key processes in business development and answer some gradual questions, like “How to start a company?”, “How to understand your consumer?”, “What types of taxes am I to pay” and many others. The project is developed by HuskyJam team.

The website development process comprised the following steps:

  • Idea. The courses are meant to give startuppers exact answers to questions about the business processes. The main asset of the project is high applicability - its users get the list of necessary actions to take when starting a business. Having this experience they avoid common errors of first-time entrepreneurs.
  • Research and Strategy. E-learning business courses are not well-presented in Russia, and there is no structured web education at all. When the project was launched, there was no other online e-learning platform that would offer a “hands-on” experience of business development. Its strategy was to roll out these online business courses on the national scale by introducing it both online and offline.
  • Prototyping and UI/UX Design. The website is designed the way that the users start from selecting a course on the main page. Then the user journey runs as follows:
    - To start course users register on the platform and get free access to different modules.
    - Each module has a three months educational program with motivation systems inside.
    - After course users get the certificate that proves that they have completed the study.

    Pushing the users not to give up the course, a gaming component was added. Every course has its deadline and if a user completes it in time, he gets scores. Those scores can be spent in the project shop, where they can change them for advertising certificates in Google or buy some useful business literature.
  • Main Technical Stack. The website is developed on Django, a Python-based free and open-source web framework, and for the frontend development React library was used.

Business class is a non-profit project launched by two companies to promote their brands and business expertise and to realize their social responsibility initiatives. The project scale is nation-wide. To get a greater audience, it was strongly supported by online and offline activities. The marketing strategy was the following:

  • Online: teasing and advertising campaigns in social media and on the internet
  • Offline: federal roadshow to the major cities of Russia with presentations and workshops.

The project achieved its goal - its audience equals more than 100 thousand online students who finished their courses. How were they motivated? The keys to success are the applicability of the content and the delivery mode.

The students are offered short video tutorials like “How to set the advertising campaign in social media, that would be more effective and will help to get real leads”. This skill can be used right away, which is a great plus when dealing with young entrepreneurs.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an E-Learning Site?

The price of e-learning websites development varies greatly. It’s no surprise that every feature you add will increase the budget. Basically the development process includes two main steps - MVP and further website refinements.

On the MVP (minimum viable project) stage, developers examine the purchase funnel, the customer journey, and the website key features, like learning direction and content delivery. The website functionality at this stage is rather limited, it includes only basic functions.

The next step of development is creating the website complete functionality. What is added here? First and foremost - the in-depth analytics of the user's behavior. It helps to develop the website further in strict accordance with the clients’ needs.

Next, content delivery becomes more advanced. Videos, course presentation materials, online events and webinars, modules and materials ratings, and many other options are added to meet the needs of its ordering customer.

To get the preliminary picture of development prices, first and foremost it’s necessary to understand how many hours will developers spend when working on a project.

Let’s have a quick look at a couple of websites and try to estimate their development price. For sure, that would be an absolute presumption, but it will help to get an understanding of e-learning website development budgets.

Website Development stage (functionality) Development stage (development hours)

edmodo.com

1) Log In / Sign Up

2) Homepage

3) Users onboarding

4) For Teachers
- Classes workflow
- Tasks workflow workflow
- Tests workflow
- Class communication
- Files hub
- Planner
- Library
- Internal messenger
- Search
- Invite Teachers
- User profile
- User settings

5) For Students
- Tests workflow
- Files hub
- Planner
- Library
- Internal messenger
- Search

6) For Parents
- Parents area homepage
- Planner
- Internal messenger
- User profile

7) Payments & Billing

8) Mailings

9) Internal CRM

51 520

total of team

skillsoft.com

1) Homepage
2) Log In / Sign Up
3) Blog
4) Programs Catalog
5) Platform Solutions Section
6) Resources section
7) About project
8) Search
9) Mailings
10) Payments & Billing
11) Internal CRM
12) Landing pages constructor
13) Users onboarding
14) Courses Catalog & Searching
15) User profile, settings, playlists
16) Support center area & FAQ
17) Courses workflow (lessons, tests

68 460

total of team

edx.org

1) Homepage
2) Courses search & catalog
3) Blog
4) Programs & Degrees search
5) for Business
6) Log In / Sign Up
7) User area homepage, settings, profile
8) Payments & Billing
9) Lessons workflow
10) Courses discussion
11) User schedule
12) Mailings
13) Internal CRM
14) FAQ

65 180

total of team

The final cost of website creation depends on the developer’s hourly rate. It varies from country to country. The average rate in the main regions of the world runs as follows:
The USA - $120-150
APAC - $25-40
Western Europe - $60-100
Eastern Europe - $35-45

How To Build an E-Learning Website: Insights From HuskyJam

To be ahead of the competition, your website should offer the best compilation of design, usability, and content. When thinking of the design, it’s better to spend some time to monitor the websites of your competitors and outline the industry must-haves.

There are some indispensable rules of e-learning website design:

  • You need to have your own graphic charter and corporate style;
  • E-learning website offers different courses, and each item is to be highlighted with an original picture and have its own color;
  • You need to accentuate the services - your user will notice them and remember that you have it;
  • Accentuate your logo and CTA (call to action) buttons (like “start the course” or “register”);
  • Present the content of courses in the most vivid and short way, outline the skills that the user will get;
  • Use logos of well-trusted brands (in the case of Business class 2.0 those are Google and Sberbank);
  • Describe the learning process (videos and courses, its duration, the target of each module);
  • Name your speakers.

To build an e-learning website you’ll need a team that consists of:

  • Product manager
  • Developers (backend and frontend)
  • Project manager (quite often the role is taken by the product manager)
  • Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Technical support
  • Technical writer
  • Web analyst

The approximate development period varies from one month up to half a year. This period if quite enough to create MVP and examine a customer’s journey. Developing a website, you take the following steps:

  • outline your business need;
  • think of your KPI and apply your business need to it;
  • create the customer journey map to outline the key website features;
  • list your key features;
  • based on the key features list you measure the development process (time and required resources);
  • find the content you need and examine its preparation process;
  • segment the process and outline exact tasks and releases, make the sprints (detailed requirements for website features) and outline the exact tasks pool for the nearest future;
  • form the necessary team;
  • sprints (each of them usually takes around two weeks);
  • testing;
  • project release;
  • traffic attracting and web analysis.

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