How to Build a Website Like Coursera or Udemy to Support eLearning Process

16 min read

E-Learning Market Brief Overview

Let’s say right away that the idea to make a website like Coursera is the most relevant, and therefore promising at the moment. There are several reasons for this.

Online education has been increasing in recent years because technical progress is moving forward rapidly and professional self-development for employees has become an everyday necessity in order to remain in demand in the job market.

By the way, employers are no less interested in improving the qualifications of their employees.

All these changes were significantly stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemics: a huge number of educational institutions were forced to switch to distance learning, and a return to the previous way of life is not expected in the near future.

Online courses are no longer about a hobby or something frivolous.

Even the most prestigious world-class universities are increasingly using e-learning tools. There are already a number of companies on the market offering certified knowledge and where students can get a degree - just like in a “traditional” university.

And finally, online learning surpasses the usual face-to-face training, if only because it is comfortable. A student can more easily find time for classes when and where it is convenient for him. The current learning software is available on all existing devices and platforms.

As a result, the e-learning industry is one of the most profitable today. It is expected to reach 25 billion USD by 2025.

And at the same time, the demand for educational software exceeds supply - this is a relatively new developing industry, so the decision to create an elearning platform is a great opportunity to boost your business.

Why Should You Create an Online Education Website Like Udemy and Coursera?

As it is already clear from the industry review, the e-learning business is very promising in the current market conditions. But let’s take a closer look at the benefits that you get if you decide to build a website like edx or Coursera.

Growth of investments from public and private organizations

E-learning is gaining more and more signs of serious certified education. Therefore, government and commercial organizations around the world are increasingly interested in this area, investing huge sums in its development. For example, the American Council of Education and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which are taking part in grant programs and research related to MOOCs and their potential benefits for university education.

Large audience coverage

Due to their structure, such applications are attractive to both teachers and students around the world. In addition, you can earn money through corporate programs. The potential audience is practically unlimited because such applications cover the needs of all participants in the learning process.

Feedback for better content

Because content creators are users of your product themselves, students can receive and provide feedback, ask questions, post reviews, and make suggestions. So, students always have access to better content, and it is convenient for instructors to improve their courses and offer new ones.

Great choice for monetization

Thanks to the advanced functionality and wide variety of application content, you can apply several monetization strategies at once. For example, paid certificates and additional content for an extra cost or a freemium model with donations plus paid certificates.

Comparison of the Elearning Platforms Like Udemy, Coursera, edX, etc

udemy vs coursera

To make it easier for you to elaborate on the concept of a future product, let’s compare what the widely known e-learning resources have in common and are different.

Both Udemy, Coursera, and edX are massive open online courses.

All these lms offer courses to learners, but there are significant differences between them, primarily related to the business model.

Udemy provides a huge range of courses and materials for a fee - a total of 150,000. The price can vary greatly (ranging from a few dollars to thousands) and depends on factors such as author, volume, and field of study. The user has a huge selection of instructors - there are more than 40000 of them and can choose a course in accordance with the budget, language (65 languages ​​to choose from) and by category - there are as many as 3 thousand of them.

As for Coursera, the range of training material is not so great - they offer a total of 6500 courses, distributed in 310 categories. About half of the material is provided to customers for free, but this resource can offer a verified certificate, which can only be obtained for a fee. How does it work? Unlike the first resource, Coursera collaborates with more than 100 universities around the world, including such prestigious ones as Stanford. Therefore, the resource can provide students not only with self-development, but also the knowledge that is quoted when hiring, for example.

As for edX, this elearning platform has fewer users, the number of courses is 2.6 thousand and they are available in only 5 languages; but they are all created, similar to the Coursera, by teachers of prestigious universities, which means a high level of knowledge and the possibility of students obtaining an academic degree.

The most low-priced subscription to this service is $50, which is much more expensive than Udemy ($19), but there is a significant assortment of free courses - about 2 thousand.

Let’s consider one more service - Udacity. Like the last two, it was created with the participation of the university, namely Stanford. And also the creators position this product as providing education of a professional level, qualified enough to obtain a new specialty and employment in the future.

However, Udacity has significant differences from all of the above resources. First, there are differences in the specialization: this is one area - computer science. Large companies have contributed to the creation of courses and content, including Google, Salesforce, and Facebook.

Secondly, there is a different classification system for teaching materials - it is based on the level of complexity and includes 4 steps.

And thirdly, certificates of completion are signed by instructors and students receive them free of charge.

As you can see, each well-known resource has its own strategy, and you better take the one that is closer to you as an example.

Features Coursera Udemy EDX Udacity
users 77M 40M 450000+ 11.5M
courses 6500 150000+ 3000+ 500
degrees Bachelor,
Master degrees
- Bachelor,
Master degrees
-
certificates paid paid paid free
free courses 1400 650 2000 200
languages 10 65 5 25

Key Student Profile Features

Key Student Profile Features

Recommendations and Suggestions

To better promote courses and materials, use marketing tools such as offers and featured content. So it will be easier and more pleasant for the user to find what he likes, and for you, it will increase earnings. Recommendations can be selected based on the customer’s previous purchases, or popularity rating; they can be implemented in the form of pop-ups, notifications, or mailings.

Various payment models

This is one of the basic features of any product. A convenient payment tool is decisive in many situations, so it is better to provide support for all popular banking systems, electronic wallets, etc.

And in order to understand which of them you should definitely connect, analyze users in your region - find out what they use the most.

Advanced search engine

Your aim is to make the searching process as fast, convenient, and efficient as possible. To do this, you can create a website similar to udemy - where there are many filters. Remember, the more students can customize their search, the better! In addition, you can add autocomplete and categorization of materials.

Key Teacher Profile Features

Key Teacher Profile Features

Admin panel

It is important for the teacher to track the conversion of their courses, how popular and effective they are for students. To do this, your task is to provide the instructor with access to the dashboard, where he can conduct analytics, track data on course attendance, number of students, traffic, etc. The more tools and information, the better.

Course creation

It will be great if teachers can create their own courses. At the same time, it is worth making them as customizable as possible within the framework of your budget and the project plan as a whole: for example, you can add the ability to add video and audio materials, quizzes, quick translate function (for language courses), set up a grading system, etc. It can be done using various plugins.

Communication

Provide an opportunity for teachers to receive feedback from students, communicate with them, answer questions, and so on. This can be done in the form of a forum, messenger, or feedback window. This is a very important tool for the self-development of instructors, the presence of which will be an advantage for you among the competitive products.

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How Does a Website Like Coursera and Udemy Make Money?

So, if you’ve already decided to create an udemy-like website, it’s time to figure out how you can make money on it.

There are a few main ways to monetize an e-learning app.

Donation

This is a classic algorithm: you provide free training materials and users can donate funds for your resource at their discretion.

Of course, this is not the most reliable way to ensure a stable income, but you should not write off private and non-profit organizations that can also invest in your open source platform improvement. A prime example is Khan Academy, which has received more than $10 million in total from Google and AT&T.

Premium access

In this case, access to the lessons is also free, but there is a separate fee for additional materials or services. So, the list of premium services can include, for example, access to offline studies, more in-depth courses, additional video/audio materials, etc.

Corporate programs

Nowadays it’s becoming more and more important to provide constant professional growth for employees, and this is beneficial to employers as well.

By creating great deals for companies, you can quickly raise massive funding for your app and increase its popularity.

Verified certificates

How does it work? You can create a website like edx where users get access to courses and training materials for free, but if they want to receive certificates of successful completion of training, this is a paid service.

Paid subscription

One of the easiest ways to monetize software. You just charge a fee on a regular basis. It would be good to make several types of payment plans for the user. For example, to make a discount on an annual subscription in order to encourage the buyer to spend a larger sum at once than paying monthly.

Tech Stack To Build a Website Like Udemy and Coursera

When talking about how to create an online education website like udemy, we mustn’t overlook the point about choosing technologies. It influences many aspects of the development process, including its cost and timing. And the choice of technologies can be challenging, so let’s address it in more detail.

Front end web

In our opinion, the most suitable technologies for such applications are React (for developing websites) and React Native (for creating mobile applications).

The main advantages of such a stack are good community support due to the popularity of technologies; significantly higher development speed and flexibility when compared, for example, with Angular.

Backend

You can use python (as it has been used in the development of Coursera and Udemy), however, we recommend Node.js. This technology, bundled with the NestJS framework, will allow you to quickly launch the implementation process, thanks to its flexibility and no overload problems.

Cloud system

In our experience, AWS is a great cloud hosting option. Its main advantages:

  1. This is the most extensive database;
  2. Multifunctionality - with this base you can accomplish any task since it has hundreds of different services;
  3. Startup-friendly - AWS has a special offer for start-up projects. By participating in their program, you can get an annual plan for free.

Database

In order to create a website like udemy you need a flexible and fast database. Therefore, relational is best; for example mysql or PostgreSQL.

8 Steps How to Make a Website Like Udemy, Coursera

Defining the idea

1. Define & concretize the idea

The first step is to make your business idea concrete. You have to decide on the future product’s main concept - what is its main goal; which business model to choose for it; what problems it’ll solve. By putting all these aspects on paper, you can move on and turn the idea into a project.

A market analysis

2. Conduct a market analysis

Research the market, what are your competitors’ strong and weak points; which customer needs are already covered by existing solutions, and which remain unresolved, opening up opportunities for your growth. Define your target audience and understand their needs. Take into account the location, age, social characteristics - everything that can affect the user’s preferences. To do this, you can use resources like SpyFu and QuickSprout, and you can also choose a mobile app development company, who can help with this task.

Features list

3. Set up a features list

The next step will be to work on functionality. To understand how to build a website like udemy that would satisfy the needs of customers, but invest in a budget and time frame, you should divide the total number of features into must-have and additional ones.

In making this choice, refer to the information collected during the analysis of competitors and target audience.

Preparation of the unique content

4. Prepare unique content

Make sure that your application/website can offer users unique quality content. You can follow the example of Udemy, where there are many authors, or you can partner with educational institutions to provide a high-end level of knowledge.

It’s also important to consider the issue of security - you have to ensure copyright protection.

UI/UX stage

5. UI/UX stage

Give shape to your business idea. With the help of UI / UX specialists, develop the future application design and a prototype to get a rough idea of its look and functionality. In addition, it will help increase funding - investors are more willing to invest in a project if they have at least a rough idea of it.

Development and testing

6. Develop & test

If you’re starting a large project from scratch, we’d recommend you to create an MVP first. This will help you better adapt to the market, improve the application on the fly, significantly reducing the risk of financial failure.

Use a high-quality methodology during the development process. We’d recommend working with the Scrum approach. So, the client will always be aware of all changes and innovations in the project, will be able to make the needed changes timely, and track the intermediate result.

Don’t forget about Testing. It should be done during product implementation, at every milestone. Pay enough attention to this, try to select experienced and skilled QA engineers.

Deployment and market launch

7. Deployment and market launch

For the deployment phase, it’s very important to be in touch with the development team, learn about updates timely, give feedback, and, if necessary, adjustments. To achieve this point, we always use CI / CD, which allows the customer to immediately know about all changes in the project and quickly react to them. This way, your product gets to the market faster.

Support and Scaling

8. Support & Scaling

The challenge to build a website like coursera doesn’t end after the product launch. Next, you will need to provide support, bug fixing, and further expansion. And if you have chosen a competent partner to implement the idea, have chosen optimizing technologies and methodology, your project will be flexible to changes and easily scalable.

How Much Does It Cost To Create an Udemy Like Website?

How much will you need to invest to build an online education website like coursera?

If we are talking about statistical averages for creating an MVP, then this price varies from $30000 to $50000. How much you will spend on a ready-made full-scale product is difficult to say, since there is no limit. To understand more precisely what budget is right for you, take to account the following factors.

Development company rate

Remember that companies that provide really high-quality services can’t work at extremely cheap prices. 

Pay attention to the brand’s awareness as well: the more they invest in marketing, the higher the cost of their services will be. 

In addition, the location of the agency also matters: the difference in rate for different countries depends on the demand for services, the IT industry development level in the region, the presence of large software products in the domestic market, etc., so in this case, more expensive doesn’t always mean more professional.

Tech stack

It’s quite simple - the elementary applications will be cheap while using more interesting and numerous technologies, especially the newest ones that are less widespread on the market, will cost much more.

But there is one more thing: by choosing the right technologies with the help of experts, you can significantly reduce costs and launch a project faster. Therefore, don’t neglect to consult, it’s more than necessary for this issue.

Scale

Naturally, the larger the scale of the educational product, the more labor and money will be needed to build it, since you’ll need to work with a complicated structure, use powerful servers, etc. But don’t write off support as well - in the case of large projects, this is a significant cost graph.

Functionality

The more opportunities for the user, the more customers you have, and therefore more money. But feature development can cost a lot and it’s one of the most influencing factors.

To implement complex functions, you’ll have to look for professional specialists so as not to pay twice for poor implementation, which also implies a higher rate.

It would be best to first develop an MVP with a minimal feature list, and then gradually add new features based on feedback from customers.

Looking for a more specific estimate?

Write to us - and we’ll conduct personal digital consulting for you, draw up a preliminary budget scope, and market analysis absolutely free!

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Our Experience in Building a Website Like Coursera and Udemy

We have already dealt with the creation and support of large e-learning projects. Therefore, we have enough experience to say with confidence that we know how to make a website like udemy.

Avid Adventures

Avid Adventures are our partners from Singapore. We helped them create an e-learning app for learning. It, like services like Udemy Coursera, was equipped with an admin panel where the teacher can customize the learning process and the system for assessing results. All participants in the process have a community where they can analyze their mistakes and progress. The game also includes quizzes, improving the level of skills, in-game purchases, and an intuitive user-friendly interface, which is important in the development of educational software.

Avid Adventures result

In this application, we also implemented an online learning function - hundreds of learners can play the career simulator game at the same time.

With the skills to create such software, it will not be difficult to implement a platform with courses, grading systems, and super-administration.

Ready to start your e-learning project?

Just contact us and get free digital consulting from pro specialists!

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Potatomath

Potatomath is also an educational app that aims to help kids learn math in a playful way.

It provides educational information on Geometry, Algebra, probability theory, etc., which can be consolidated by playing quizzes, including in the competence mode.

The student has an account, he can receive achievements (for completing certain topics, winning competitive sessions with other players, etc.) and improve his level.

Potatomath result

So, we can develop for you an application with courses, a community environment with the support of third-party sources of media materials; provide copyright protection for content, the function of online conferences and training (as in the projects described above), develop a customizable assessment system, a powerful admin panel with a super administration level and, of course, connect payment modules, ensuring integration with any payment systems, online banking and linking cards.

Once the development is complete, we’ll continue to work together helping to scale your project, as we do with Avid Adventures - improving existing features, adding new ones, and providing support.

We already have expertise in all this, so you can rest assured about the quality and professionalism of the team.

Want your product to have the same success story?

Take the first step - write to us, schedule a free organizational call and get all the information to start development!

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Conclusion

  • E-education is a promising industry, a profitable niche, expectedly relevant, and in demand in the coming years.

    The market leaders on it are MOOC applications, namely Coursera, Udemy, EDX, and others.

  • Before you start creating your own product, study the market, competitors, and audience of potential customers. So, you should decide on a monetization model - freemium, donation, charged certificates, or a paid subscription.

  • Prepare also the content of the application, define its key and additional features - while taking into account the needs of students and instructors - not only training but also teaching should be convenient and customizable.

  • Consider whether you want to focus on an assortment like Udemy, or if you want to make a website like edx, where the main emphasis is on the quality of knowledge, in which case you will have to take care of cooperation with universities.

  • During development, use a well-thought-out technology stack and only an up-to-date optimization methodology - this will help to efficiently spend the budget, control all work processes, identify problems timely, and make adjustments.

In addition, it will provide flexibility to the project for its further expansion and modification.

If you take into account all these points, choose a versed technical partner, and be involved in the process of implementing a business idea, then you’ll be able to achieve success and bypass competitors with your educational product!

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FAQ

How much time the development of such software will take?

If you want average numbers, building a resource like Coursera will take about 1,000 business hours. But it is important to understand that this number includes various stages - prototype development, content creation, etc. Accordingly, if you want a huge range of courses, like in Udemy, take more time to prepare training materials. If you want to provide high-quality knowledge, then you will need more time to organize cooperation with various universities and organizations. To understand the more or less exact timing of the implementation of your idea, you first need to discuss its features, the amount of the budget and conduct analytics.

How can I be sure that my content is protected?

Our specialists have good expertise and rich experience in copyright and personal information protection. WE apply encryption, access control, online authentication, watermarking to 100% protect your content from unauthorized use.

Can I use your services after launching the application?

Of course! For such projects, we recommend developing an MVP first and improving the product according to the build-measure-learn cycle. This means that the application will be constantly modified based on user feedback and analytics. This is the best way to create a website like coursera, avoiding financial risks and quickly launching a product on the market, monetizing it. Our experts have extensive experience with this algorithm and the success stories of our clients are the best proof of this.