You don’t waste two hours each day commuting to class. You never have to print anything out. Everything is in electronic form, and you can learn through videos and games.
This is the amazing reality of online learning.
eLearning has been rising in popularity for the past 10 years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted even faster adoption of online learning and forced the education industry to move to the eLearning format.
The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to start a custom eLearning software development project and enter the market!
The current state of the education sector
The pandemic has had a huge impact on the education sector. Every educational institution, from top universities to public schools, has needed to switch to online classes and virtual classrooms. In addition, more and more professionals are choosing online video education platforms to release their content.
Nowadays, people use videos to learn everything from the basics (how to tie a tie) to high-level skills like how to code an app. Topics that once were considered difficult to learn are now much more comprehensible thanks to the availability of educational video platforms.
When it comes to the age of digital video viewers, the results are not that surprising. As per Statista, viewers aged 18 to 24 are the most likely to watch digital videos; however, older generations are not far behind.
A global survey of online video viewers shows that smartphones are the dominant device used to watch videos across almost all age groups. Those 60 and older were the only age group that preferred to watch online videos via computer.
The eLearning market has lots of products to offer. For instance, the infamous Quizlet is a platform and app that gives users tools like flashcards and games to make learning fun and easy. There are also many language learning apps, learning management systems, authoring tools, and more.
In this article, we cover video learning platforms specifically because video is considered the most effective and consumable learning medium. According to a 2020 online video viewer survey, more than 27% of online viewers globally watched more than 10 hours of online videos weekly.
The importance of videos in education
Since videos engage more of our senses than, for instance, reading, they can simplify learning while making it more effective. Studies have shown that videos improve emotional engagement and participation.
Visuals cause our brains to react faster, which results in better focus and information retention.
Secondly, videos can teach us through demonstrations, show how certain processes work, and remove doubts, which facilitates learning.
In addition, videos empower people to learn independently and do so effectively. You can find and obtain all the information you require, study when you have time, and receive a digital certificate at the end.
Benefits of online video education platforms
Thanks to the increasing growth of virtual learning, video-based learning platforms like Udemy have become extremely profitable. Udemy is widely known in the eLearning market and has seen tremendous success. As of May 2021, Udemy hosted 40 million learners, 56,000 instructors, and 155,000 courses.
Let’s unpack what benefits you can expect from your eLearning website or application!
Benefit #1. Of course, it goes without saying that with an eLearning application or website, a user’s location isn’t an issue anymore, and users can come from all over the world. This significantly escalates the number of people who can engage with your product.
Benefit #2. Additionally, an eLearning platform makes content accessible to users that prefer eLearning. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the number of people who limit their activities outside the home; hence, many choose to learn online. However, even before the pandemic, there were a ton of people who went for online learning, like those who could only study in the evenings after work or needed flexible hours.
Benefit #3. If you have an eLearning platform, it makes it simple to sell courses to corporate clients.
Benefit #4. Educational institutions can make the most of their courses and other content. Lecturers can record their lessons so students can access them repeatedly. This saves teachers’ time while granting students the flexibility to watch a lecture later or rewatch it if needed.
Benefit #5. Online lectures can gather many more students than offline lessons, since you’re not limited by the space of the room or other restrictions.
Benefit #6. By offering video learning options, educational institutions immediately stand out among the competition, as not many institutions offer flexible learning.
Benefit #7. Offline schools and courses benefit greatly from eLearning platforms, as they are able to grow their profits and build a completely new business model.
Benefit #8. When you create a video-based educational platform, you can fully customize it to fit your business requirements. You can implement the features you enjoy on other platforms or apps, and you can also avoid competitors’ mistakes.
Benefit #9. Finally, you can provide additional value and services to your customers, plus be able to use the platform for marketing purposes.
Key features of a video-based eLearning platform
In this segment, we’ll review the key features of a video-based eLearning platform and break down how much time the average eLearning platform takes to develop. Let’s go!
Content management system
A content management system (CMS) is a vital feature for a video-based educational platform. It helps users easily upload, modify, organize, store, and access videos and other content without needing specialized technical knowledge. This feature is a must for a high-quality user experience.
High-security payment integration is another platform essential. First, the platform should be equipped with different payment methods and currencies. Additionally, autopay and recurring payments make the payment process more convenient for users, as they don’t need to sit down to pay each month. It’s best to base a platform’s payment options on the target location and audience, but some of the most popular and widely used payment gateways are Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.
Support for video on demand and live streaming
The best video learning platforms support different kinds of video content to become the one solution that meets customers’ wants and needs. A good variety of content attracts both creators and learners. Learners can watch live streams, rewatch saved live-streamed lectures, and enjoy pre-recorded and edited videos. Creators can branch out and spice up the content they produce. It’s a win-win situation.
The first thing users will probably do on your platform is search for courses they want. Or they will come from Google and need to filter out those courses that don’t match their requirements. Hence, filters should be convenient and wide-ranging. We recommend that you include these popular filter options:
- Level (from easy to proficient)
Each course requires a dedicated course page. These pages usually include:
- Details about the instructor (name, specialization, small bio)
- Intro to the course
- Required prior skill level
- Description of what users will learn from the course
- Course plan
- Reviews and ratings
- Price (if applicable)
In addition, some course pages incorporate extra resources to extend learners’ knowledge and also display affiliations with renowned educational institutions.
Functionality for learners should facilitate interaction with the platform. Key functionality includes:
- Courses (saved and purchased)
- Course progress
- Payment history
How much time does it take to develop a video-based learning platform?
Steelkiwi has experience creating video-based eLearning platforms, including YoTutors — an educational platform where learners can book online lessons and purchase courses.
In this table, we give the approximate number of hours it took us to create the following features in YoTutors.
Building a video-based online learning platform step by step
Now that you know what features are necessary for your eLearning platform, we’ll guide you from the beginning to the end of your custom eLearning development project.
Establish your target audience
So you’ve got an idea for your product, right? That’s wonderful; however, every idea needs to be redesigned with the target market in mind to make the product successful.
The best way to establish whom you’re going to aim at with your product is to conduct thorough research. Video-based educational platforms are applicable to all types of learners in different stages of life. This is evident based on how popular Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare are.
Having said that, the approach to developing platforms for children and teens differs. You can read more on that in our article on building game apps for children.
It’s necessary to establish clear target groups and consider:
- Their demographics (age, race, gender)
- People’s aims in life/career/studies
- Learners’ likes and frustrations with the current offerings
- Group learning preferences
When you have a clear and coherent customer portrait, you can stick to it during all stages of development, from design to features. Ultimately, you’ll have a product that your target groups will definitely be interested in, which will make your marketing effective, as you’ll hit users’ actual pain points.
Write down your MVP requirements
This step requires you to think hard about the desired appearance of your product and functionality (without forgetting users’ preferences from the research you’ve done in previous steps).
Answer these questions for yourself:
- What features are an absolute must, and which can be skipped?
- What problem does my product solve?
- What worked out well (and what didn’t) in my previous eLearning platform development projects? (If you have previous experience)
- What has the competition done, and what have been their results?
Your vision can be considered finished when you can enunciate the product’s overall look and feel, how it’s going to work, and its objectives to your investors and development team.
Search for your development team and develop a strategy
To build a high-quality project of this magnitude, you’ll need to hire individual developers or a whole team.
If you don’t already have a full in-house development team, it will take you forever to build a video-based learning platform. Plus, it will certainly be expensive. The recruitment side of the IT market is crazy, and it’s tough to find an experienced middle or senior developer/QA/designer that will be willing to switch from their current workplace without a considerable pay raise and other benefits. This is why lots of small companies and startups go for the staff augmentation outsourcing model.
You can read more about staff augmentation services and how to outsource developers in our article on hiring dedicated developers in Ukraine.
Even though this is a simpler way to get a qualified team, you still need to find a company that specializes in custom eLearning software development solutions, has experience developing video-based eLearning platforms, and has good ratings.
We recommend conducting research on Clutch first. Clutch has a lot of information about each company, and the platform’s filters will help you shorten the huge list to a manageable size of potentially ideal candidates. Look for companies that have lots of reviews and can provide feedback and references from past clients.
Once you’ve selected your team, they’ll help you create a working business strategy. The first step will be consulting with the team’s business analysts (BAs).
BAs use data analytics to evaluate processes, decide on requirements, and provide business leaders like you with data-driven suggestions and reports. Basically, they help to transform your vision board into technical specifications and a detailed description of the project’s features and technology stack.
Business analysts then explain your ideas to developers and explain developers’ abilities to execute the ideas to you. You control the whole process of creating the development plan, and each stage is initiated only after you approve it. When all of the stages are done, development can begin.
Build a minimum viable product (MVP)
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product version that has just enough core features to be deployed for early users to try and give feedback for later product development.
The MVP’s objective is to avoid lengthy and possibly redundant work. Instead, developers rather focus on reviewing working versions, responding to feedback, and challenging and confirming assumptions about product requirements.
The MVP development model helps you save a lot of money, time, and effort. Plus, it will show your audience’s initial reaction. Together with your team, you’ll review the list of platform features to decide which are absolutely necessary for the first version of your MVP, and which can be implemented at later stages. Your list will be dynamic, some features will get crossed out, and some will get added. Your development team will also design the UX/UI, write code, test it, and deploy the platform at this step.
Get feedback and improve
After early adopters have tried your prototype and provided feedback, you and your development team can start working on improving the platform. You’ll find out where users come from, see what features they use the most and which they abandon, and track their overall activity. The collected data will help you determine the next steps of the development process. It’s crucial to react quickly and positively to your customers, regularly update the platform, and resolve bugs.
Top 5 best video-based eLearning platforms in 2021
Let’s look at a quick rundown of the most popular video learning platforms on the market, their main features, and their prices:
So… how can you develop a video-based eLearning platform?
To summarize, there are four essential steps to develop your educational video platform:
Step #1. Determine what the platform is going to look like, how it’s going to work, its features, and its users.
Step #2. Find an experienced software development company that will act like a partner rather than an employee.
Step #3. Develop an MVP, deploy it, and get feedback.
Step #4. Gradually update the platform and improve it.
There’s really no better time than now to digitize your offline business, branch out, and invest in education software development.
Steelkiwi is highly experienced in eLearning software development, and together we can create a unique platform that will beat the competition and stand out to users.
Check out our eLearning projects here to see for yourself.
— Originally posted on Steelkiwi.com