Although Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of the theory of black swans, says the pandemic of coronavirus was predictable, it stunned a lot of companies by freezing their activities.
Some business niches like retail were hit particularly hard. Some have found alternative ways of how to stay afloat. Changes in the world have convinced us of the importance for businesses to be digitized in order to be able to satisfy their customers even if they aren’t able to interact with them offline.
A great example of such digitalization is companies that provide educational services through the use of learning applications. They are probably one of the few entities who haven’t been seriously affected by the consequences of the pandemic.
So, if you have an idea for creating a learning app, it’s a good opportunity to take it seriously.
According to “Online Education Market & Global Forecast” the Online Education Market will reach US$ 350 Billion by 2025, globally due to the introduction of flexible learning technologies in the corporate and education sectors.
In Forecasts from 2020 to 2025, the global online education market is projected to witness a CAGR of 9.23% during the forecast period reaching a total market size of US$319.167 billion in 2025, increasing from US$187.877 billion in 2019.
As these reports were collected in December 2019 - February 2020, our assumption is that economic indicators could be higher in light of recent events.
The surest way to analyze the popularity of the topic is to check them in Google Trends.
In May 2019 the popularity of the query “elearning” was at point 38. Nowadays, we can observe the pic of the popularity of this query at 91 points globally.
According to the data presented by ahrefs, the query “elearning” has a global search volume of ~801,000 monthly searches.
Depending on the list of functionalities that are provided to the end-users we will talk about the following types of learning platforms. Probably you met some of the following acronyms earlier:
LMS is a platform specifically for hosting educational courses including administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of courses or training programs.
LCMS is a type of eLearning application that is similar to LMS but also has varied functionality for the creation and continuous improvement of content for the educational process.
MOOC is an online course with a large amount of free-access courses. It involves enhanced interactions between participants of the educational process.
It should be noted that such market leaders like Coursera, edX or Udemy involve both an LMS and MOOC. The main difference between LMS and MOOC is that an LMS is a platform for hosting courses, and MOOC is a course itself.
To compare these types of applications, there should be used the following criteria:
Before starting you need to choose the niche and determine its profitability. Based upon this, you and your development team can then make decisions regarding the architectural specifications of the platform, as well as features that could satisfy your end-users.
The platform can be focused on one specialization, for example, digital marketing and include several directions within it. Or it can be a platform that unites a lot of different disciplines such as Masterclass or Coursera for example.
End-users often face problems with the quality of educational content and platform usability. Such issues are most often resolved by conducting analytical activities regarding the end-users actions on the platform and thereby continuously improving its functionality.
Besides the general struggles encountered, considerations should be taken into account related to the specific characteristics of the target audience, for example, geographical, cultural or economic specific and influences.
By properly choosing the stack of technologies for your learning app it’s important to recognize its ability to maintain extra-features that are in demand among the target audience of your product. One of the hottest features right now is live video streaming.
Nowadays it can be perfectly served by HLS (HTTP live streaming) technology. HLS modifies the incoming videos into a bunch of segments by specifying the duration of each of them. Then as long as the video is streamed, the browser will make HTTP requests for these segment files.
The algorithm of work proposed by HLS streaming significantly reduces the time that is required for video downloading and makes it possible to play video of different qualities depending on the Internet speed.
Educational applications that support video streaming have specific requirements related to the video player since it should be compatible with different browsers and devices, and accessible to a wide range of users.
Therefore, we utilize the Video.js library that supports HTML video, modern streaming formats like HLS which has dozens of plugins that can enrich user experience. To achieve the best quality stream for a users’ internet connection we utilize a HLS protocol as a primary approach when delivering video content over Video.js player.
As a service that provides HLS streaming on the Back-End, we utilize AWS Elastic Transcoder, the media transcoding service in the cloud. It converts media files into versions that will play on smart phones, tablets, and PCs.
As a middleware that securely delivers data, videos, and APIs to customers we utilize Amazon CloudFront, a CDN (Cloud Delivery Network) service.
If you are planning to aggregate a lot of content in the application you need to pay attention to the integration with cloud services. We recommend utilizing AWS as a Cloud provider which will ensure a scalability and maintain all data in managed relational databases - Amazon RDS.
Most market-leading e-learning platforms have web-versions, but we would recommend you pay particular attention to the importance of the mobile version. The mobile Segment is leading the market and will continue to do so as devices and internet costs steadily decline.
Mobile e-learning platform versions can be developed in several ways:
To choose the most optimal infrastructure for your product we advise getting the software architecture services from a proven development vendor. Software architecture developed correctly provides ease of implementation, interoperability with your existing application and provides a framework for future growth.
It’s extremely important to implement valuable functionalities into the learning application. There is a huge list of features that we have compiled for the Ed-Tech products of our clients. Here are some of them:
Organization of educational processes through the planning of lessons or webinars and scheduling of live-streaming lectures can be a great feature allowing your end-users to get the information they are interested in a convenient and understandable way.
Give your end-users the possibility to share information with their friends regarding courses on your platform through social media. This feature could be an inexpensive marketing channel for your product. Educational materials will be more insightful as more people use word of mouth to spread them on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. This will increase your brand awareness significantly.
The correct way to organize a large amount of content is to implement the video player into the application. The possibility of watching live streams will enable us to create a great experience and interaction between the participants of the educational process.
Learning is impossible without homework tasks and tests. This lets your end-users have the possibility of testing their knowledge and tracking their progress within the educational courses.
Multilingual learning platforms have become a necessity in the modern world. This feature will not only allow you to expand the target audience of the Ed-Tech product but also allow the end-user to take courses in several languages at once.
Create chats by providing learners a venue to communicate with each other or discuss courses, lectures, webinars, etc. This is the most efficient way to organize an environment that end-users have to help each other and share their experience of using a learning application.
If you are looking for the development team to build your own learning application, we at Axon will be glad to become your technology partner.
By developing software solutions from 2012, our team is striving to transform the business ideas of our clients into great marketable products.
In our next blog post we are going to share with you a guide on how to build Learning Management System for your company. Stay tuned!