How to Create an E-learning Website
Exceed TeamBlogE-Learning

How to Create an E-learning Website

12 min
Dec 17 2020
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In today’s world, more and more E-learning websites come into the spotlight. The primary reason for that is convenience – a website gives users unlimited access to the best educational resources, multimedia content, tutors, libraries, dictionaries, interactive quizzes, E-learning games, and much more. How can you create an E-learning website and attract the audience? Continue reading to find out more about strategies and examples.
Table of contents
The world’s first E-learning website was WebCT, created in 1995-1997 by professor Murray Goldberg. WebCT allowed college students and tutors to share information on web-pages, download documents, create threaded discussions, send emails, etc. Such types of websites were called “Virtual Learning Environment.” By 2004, WebCT had become popular with 10 million students from 2,500 universities and colleges in 80 countries.
The main page of webct the worlds first elearning website
WebCT was the first E-learning website
Four years later, MOOC was launched with 2300 online users joining free courses. It turned out to be extremely popular, and very soon Stanford University created their own E-learning website. A couple years later, students could already enroll for more than 900 online courses in the United States alone. Today, many startups have taken the place of those first E-learning websites. For example, an American teacher Salman Khan has created his online academy with millions of users, schoolers and adults. Another market leader is Coursera, launched by two Stanford professors in 2012. The platform has gained the trust of 33 million users by 2018, offering over 3500 courses from almost 200 universities. Udemy, edX, Udacity and many other E-learning websites have paved the way for new knowledge, skills, careers, and hobbies. At the moment, especially during the worldwide social distancing, the demand for E-learning websites, apps, platforms, and other digital resources has increased significantly. Many companies have already shifted to developing custom E-learning websites and similar services. As the research by Global Market Insights suggests, E-learning is an up-and-coming field in software development. The stats by Docebo also show the significant growth of E-learning market in the last five years.
Elearning growth statistics
E-learning growth in various parts of the world. Source: Docebo
What are the modern ways to create an E-learning website? SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a system of standards, specifications, and technologies used to exchange data between a user and a server of an E-learning online platform. SCORM has been widely accepted since 2008-2009, and it is still used and supported in various Learning Management Systems (LMS). Nowadays, you can notice several prominent trends in E-learning website development:
  • Mobile access – because almost 70% of users prefer learning from their smartphones;
  • Learner analytics – it enables an owner of an E-learning website to study user behavior and create marketing strategies;
  • Performance support tools – they help learners track their progress, create and pursue goals;
  • Self-directed learning – it requires special features allowing each user to choose what to learn, how, when, for how long, etc;
  • Personalized experience – it means supporting each learner’s individual needs and creating customized features for an E-learning website;
  • Gamification – applying “video-game-like” thinking to E-learning;
  • Microlearning – consuming educational materials in small portions;
  • Videos, AR/VR, and interactive tools – they engage learners and boost skill-building;
  • Curation of E-learning Materials – this option allows users to make their own collections of knowledge, resources, content, etc.
Another trend in E-learning website development is to create diverse and cost-saving solutions. Platforms for language learning, school education support, skill-building, video tutoring, video conferencing, corporate training, and other types have become extremely popular with people from all over the world.

Why you Should Create an E-learning Website

If you are new in this field, start with finding out more about online education. What are the reasons to build a digital platform for E-learning? You may create it as a business project to monetize. Alternatively, it may be a helpful tool for corporate training within your organization. No matter what kind of goal you have in mind, the advantages of an E-learning website will be significant.
  1. Time-Saver – learners and tutors swiftly connect with each other; business owners can easily find or create a course for their team.
  2. Motivation and Productivity Booster – E-learning is more exciting, effective, and flexible than most of the traditional training and teaching methods. An ability to study anything, anywhere, anytime is one of the best features of an E-learning website.
  3. Cost Reducer – educational programs on an E-learning website are affordable for those who can’t pay college tuition fees; businesses have a chance to decrease travel expenses for instructors or employees.
  4. Endlessness and Agelessness – anyone with access to the Internet can start learning without limits, choose subjects, set goals and reach them, communicate with others, and have fun; kids, youth, and adults are likely to consume knowledge and create new skills with the help of an E-learning website.
  5. Barriers Defeater – it helps many learners during the COVID crisis when traditional education is limited; an E-learning website can become an option for students who don’t have enough schools in their area.

Types of E-learning Websites

Are you ready to enter the E-learning domain? To begin with, let’s look at various business models based on different approaches to an E-learning website’s structure

E-learning Platforms

Here a user can choose and take courses for individual learning needs. The process may look similar to offline classes, but students absorb information and develop skills through videos, text, audio, PDFs, and images. Knowledgeable tutors create content delivering useful information in short, exciting episodes. There are plenty of quizzes and other challenges to test how much you know. In addition, E-learning platforms allow learners to track progress and gain certificates for course completion.
Elearning website udacity
Browsing through courses at an E-learning website Udacity
If you want to create an E-learning website like that, study the examples of the most popular online course platforms:

E-learning Marketplaces

The main advantage of such platforms is one-to-one classes. Learners search through a long list of tutors, courses, and services to choose the most suitable educator for their needs. A teacher can create various courses on different subjects, interact with learners, and support their progress. E-learning marketplaces may include quizzes, educational videos, and elements of gamification. These are perfect websites to arrange individual online sessions. You can create an E-learning marketplace working as an online library with courses by multiple teachers and instructors. Here are the examples of popular E-learning marketplaces

E-learning Web Conferencing Software

Such an E-learning website enables online group learning. It’s popular with colleges, universities, and other educational establishments. Web conferencing software helps to arrange the learning processes for large student groups of almost any age. It works as an efficient tool for remote studying, corporate training, and other types of E-learning.You can build or integrate web meeting opportunities into your platform. Look at the popular examples of conferencing websites for E-learning:

Other Types of E-learning Websites

You can also consider the following types of E-learning web resources:
  • online libraries;
  • websites with reference data (dictionaries and similar kinds);
  • advisory E-learning resources;
  • websites for scientific research;
  • official websites of colleges, schools, universities, etc.

How to Create an E-learning Website?

Educational websites should have the number of characteristics to function correctly.
  1. Conceptuality. The website and all its elements carry a certain idea and follow a specific topic. E-learning websites should also maintain interconnection of pages, modules, and other elements.
  2. User-friendly design and interactivity. It’s important to build an aesthetically pleasing, modern-looking E-learning website while keeping in mind the functionality of all its elements. The interface should be simple and intuitive.
  3. Technology stack. The selection of optimal software-building tools and well-established integrations allow your website to be fast-working and useful.

Target Audience for an E-learning Website

First of all, you need to know for whom you wish to create your platform. There are several things to consider about your target audience. For example:
  • age group and gender;
  • needs and interests;
  • online activity (what social media they prefer, what similar E-learning websites they might visit, etc.)
  • spoken languages, and other things.
Using that information, you’ll be able to create personalized content and choose courses to add to your E-learning website. Knowing your target audience also helps create a marketing strategy and make rational decisions. You should also study your competitors’ experience. First, take a close look at the most popular E-learning website on the same subject you’re planning to build. Then, examine other competitors with different topics and various offers.
  1. How do they draw a potential customer’s attention?
  2. What are the strong and weak points of their website, marketing decisions, and services?
  3. How can you improve your ideas and create a better E-learning platform than theirs?
  4. What are the killer-features that you can build to make your website really stand out?

Best User Experience on an E-learning Website

If you want to make your E-learning startup successful, you should create an interactive, engaging, and smoothly working website. Remember to make your website mobile-friendly because many users like learning from smartphones or tablets. The best website for E-learning is adaptable to different kinds of screens and versions (mobile/desktop, online/offline, etc.) E-learning website design may appear complicated, and your goal should always be to provide each learner the best user experience. According to Peter Morville, an information architecture consultant, there are six prominent characteristics of any website, making it user-friendly and engaging. You can well apply them to your E-learning project.
  1. Useful. Always create original, high-quality E-learning content for your website. It’s the best way to fulfill your audience’s demands and solve their pain points. Moreover, different kinds of content (text, audio, graphs, video, pictures, flashcards, VR&AR, and so on) give you perfect tools to keep users interested.
  2. Accessible. The content, design, and structure of your E-learning website need to be accessible for learners of various psychological types and people with disabilities.
  3. Desirable. Everything on your E-learning website should evoke positive emotions, motivation, engagement, interest, and appreciation. Create a platform to which users would like to return time and time again.
  4. Usable. E-learning websites can effectively perform their functions only when being easy to use. Well-thought, intuitive design and fast work should be your top priorities.
  5. Findable. Make everything easy to search and navigate; learners shouldn’t waste their precious time figuring out where is what on your website.
  6. Credible. Your goal should be to create trust among learners with your high-quality E-learning materials and user-friendly website.
How to create elearning website design
The key characteristics of E-learning website design

Technology Stacks for an E-learning Website

If you’re going to create a smoothly working website, you should consider modern technologies to build the backend and frontend, support UI/UX design, and make various integrations.
Technology stacks for an elearning website
Technologies we use to create an E-learning Website
What do specialists use to make an ideal MVC, ready to be launched on the market? You’ll find some examples of Exceed Team’s tech stack in the chart below.
What to build Tech stack
Frontend Development Javascript, HTML, Bootstrap, CSS, Angular, etc.
Backend Development Node.JS, JavaScript, Go, Python, etc.
Cloud Data Storage Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Database MySQL
Amazon RDS
MongoDB
Elasticsearch
UI/UX Design HTML
CSS
Figma
Adobe Creative Cloud
Real-Time Analytics Google Analytics
Apache/Hadoop/Spark
Push Notifications Push.IO
Amazon SNS
Twilio
AdPushup
Emails Mandrill
Amazon SES
Twilio
Payment Integration PayPal
Stripe
credit/debit card
Video Streaming LiveStream
Agora.io
Dacast
That is what you need to create an awesome E-learning website. Pay additional attention to databases, as this type of website requires many integrations, add-ons, and other data.

Dedicated Team to Create an E-learning Website

A whole team of professional developers and designers should be working to create an E-learning website. You will also need a profound business analysis to understand your potential customers and launch a successful MVP. Speaking from Exceed Team’s experience, it takes at least eight specialists.
Responsibility Specialist
Building a client-side of an E-learning website 2-3 frontend developers
Building a server-side of an E-learning website 2 backend developers
Creating a user-friendly design for an E-learning website 1 UI/UX designer
Testing an E-learning website to fix bags before the launch 1 QA engineer
Performing time-management and communication for a development team 1 project manager
Developing excellent marketing strategies for an E-learning website 1 business analyst

The Core Features to Create for an E-learning Website

When you work with educational websites or apps, there are always plenty of challenges. If you want to create an adequate solution, it’s important to understand your learners’ needs. Consider the list of vital features for your E-learning website.

Authorization and user profiles

A quick and easy sign-up is one of the first features that attract a user’s attention. Most E-learning websites use an email or phone number with a password. Another convenient option is social login via Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, etc.
As for a user profile on an E-learning website, you can create the following components:
  • A learner’s or tutor’s personal information;
  • Active courses;
  • Created courses (it’s a component for tutors);
  • Completed courses or History;
  • Achievements (it’s a space for certificates, points, and other similar things);
  • Profile settings;
  • Wishlist.

Search system

Learners will need to browse through a convenient list to find suitable courses.
Search filters at an elearning website edx
Searching programs at an E-learning website edX
How to create an excellent working and helpful search system for your E-learning website? Consider adding these:
  • categories and subcategories;
  • search filters (category, tutor, price, rates, language, etc.);
  • recommendations (Newest, Popular, For you, Our choice, etc.);
  • keyword searching.

Dashboard

You should create this feature to provide learners and tutors the ability to monitor their progress and find useful information. Learners should be able to see:
  • the number of courses;
  • the number of hours spent on each course;
  • updates on the progress;
  • notifications from tutors, etc.
Tutors can see on their dashboard:
  • list of created courses;
  • course statistics (how many learners enrolled in, what ratings and reviews each course gets, and how much revenue it brings).

Course creation

This is a core feature for tutors and instructors. The course-building tool enables them to upload E-learning materials and create new courses for your audience. Therefore, this page should be user-friendly and easy-to-use. The best way is to create various opportunities for teachers on your E-learning website. Let them add diverse content like video, images, audio, podcasts, flashcards, slide shows, PDFs, interactive textbooks, and so on. Another good idea is to create or integrate tools for making quizzes, tests, challenges, simple games and other kinds of assignments that tutors can offer their students.
Course page on linkedin learning
Course page on LinkedIn Learning with thematic sections

Course description

This is a space on your website where a tutor can present their course to engage more learners. The course page should have:
  • description;
  • information about a creator;
  • course duration, start and end dates;
  • rates and reviews;
  • feedback form for students, course discussion, etc.

Payment

If you’re planning to monetize your E-learning website, you should be using paid prescriptions and other methods. Therefore, you should create a convenient and secure payment system for users. The most popular methods are:
  • credit and debit cards;
  • Paypal, Stripe, etc;
  • ApplePay, GooglePay, etc.
You should also create a Payment history page on your website so that each learner would be able to see the detailed information on payments made, credits left, and so on.

Push notifications

This is a non-interrupting way to provide users with important information while they’re learning online. Notifications can motivate students to learn, to leave feedback, to try something new on your website, etc. When you create an E-learning platform, make sure to integrate:
  • automated emails;
  • pop-up notifications;
  • reminders about assignments, new courses, replies from tutors and peers, etc.

Admin panel

It allows a website’s owner to check all the statistics and payments, manage content and create new functions on an E-learning platform. This is the most powerful section of the website that enables control over all user profiles, activity and changes.

Create an E-learning Website – Template or Custom?

A template website is the one that wasn’t designed individually for a certain brand. Some of them are free, while others you can buy in special online stores. You can slightly correct them and implement into your admin panel. The benefits of template design for an E-learning website:
  1. Low costs. There are a lot of free options on the Internet to help you create a website based on ready-made examples. However, you need to understand that this “one-size-fits-all” solution makes all E-learning websites look almost identical.
  2. Saved time and to build strategies. You can create an MPV and see its effectiveness. It’s perfect for those who need a simple and fast E-learning website.
  3. You can create a good basis. There is always an option to use a template design to develop a unique website later.
The disadvantages of using ready-made templates for your E-learning website:
  1. The lack of uniqueness, giving you almost nothing to attract learners. Today, in order to stand out from the numerous competitors, you need to be original.
  2. There will be no documents for developers to use.
  3. Coded elements cannot be changed or adjusted. If you make big changes in your E-learning website, they can create conflicts in its code.
  4. Update mistakes can happen when an author makes supplements or corrections to a template. You need to know how to back up your design before updating to a new version, and that may create lots of inconveniences for an E-learning website’s owner.
  5. If you find a bug, you will have to wait for an author to fix it.
  6. A template’s author has the right to close the project, leaving E-learning website without any technical support.
A custom website is developed individually for a specific project, meeting a business owner’s needs and following the modern E-learning market trends. The benefits of a custom E-learning website:
  1. Original and up-to-date design. This is the main advantage providing you originality and attracting potential users. If you have the right marketing strategy, your original E-learning website will give you more traffic and conversions.
  2. Realization of your individual wishes. Professional designers and developers will use their skills and experience to create the E-learning website you’ve always dreamed of.
  3. Specialists’ work. When you hire experienced developers, you know you’ll get a sufficient product for the market. Moreover, your E-learning website will have the required technical support, including various changes and functional extensions.
The disadvantages of creating a unique website:
  1. The higher cost. You have to budget enough if you want to create an original, easy-to-maintain, and steadily working E-learning website.
  2. The longer time to wait. Remember that reliable and quality work cannot be done in one day. It normally takes three months to create an E-learning website.

Cost to Create a Custom E-learning Website

The more complex your project is, the longer it takes for developers to make it work smoothly. But the price is determined not only by the work scope and time spent, there are some other factors. How can you create an E-learning website and save costs?
  1. Discuss your idea with experienced business analysts, make a detailed plan of the project, and create a list of requirements for development and design.
  2. Create an E-learning MVP with basic functionality. You can test how your target audience receives this product, and then add new features.
  3. Consider hiring a development team in Eastern Europe. There you will find the lowest cost for quality ratio. The to create an E-learning website can be roughly estimated at $20 000 to $50 000.
Feature Hours Price
Sign-In and Log-In 60+ $1800
Payment Integration 80+ $2400
Chat 250+ $7500
Push notifications 40+ $1200
Video streaming 150+ $4500

10 Tips to Create an Excellent E-learning Website

Are you sure you're following the best practices while creating your E-learning project? Check out these helpful tips.
Tutors at masterclass an elearning website
The most popular tutors at MasterClass
  1. Studying the target audience.
  2. Creating useful and unique E-learning content.
  3. Inviting talented tutors and instructors.
  4. Using progress bars and other features for learners to mark their progress.
  5. Applying rewards and other gamification elements to your E-learning website.
  6. Giving certificates on course completion.
  7. Allowing users to give reviews and ratings, create discussions, and use other feedback and communication opportunities.
  8. Enabling learners to use multiple languages as soon as your E-learning website becomes international.
  9. Following the principles of UI/ UX design.
  10. Building your brand image and promoting the E-learning website via SEO, SMM, paid advertising on similar websites and apps, and other channels.

Closing Thoughts – Create an E-learning Website with ExceedTeam

Don’t put your idea on hold! E-learning websites are popular on the current market, and you have all chances to find a niche for your idea. It will take lots of planning, development stages, and testing – but in the end you’ll release the first version of your E-learning website and then make it grow into profitable business. Specialists here at ExceedTeam will use appropriate technology stacks to create an attractive and quick-working E-learning website for your target audience. We’ve already built projects for various digital industries and of different complexity. Don’t hesitate and tell us about your idea!
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