What Is the Cost to Develop an eLearning App?

Updated on Feb 8th, 2024

What Is the Cost to Develop an eLearning App

With the global eLearning market forecast to surpass 243 billion USD by the end of the year 2022, educational and training institutes are all increasingly investing in eLearning app development. Already platforms like Google Classroom, Khan Academy, Coursera, Duolingo, and edX are earning revenues in hundreds of millions, and many more like Kalam Labs, Aeroclass, and Beetle are all set to join the bandwagon.  

As more and more learners are expressing their interest in the self-paced learning environment of the eLearning platform, more startups and educational institutes are considering investing in building one. However, at the end of the day, they all want to know what the cost is to develop an eLearning app and whether it has the desired ROI for their business or not. In this blog, we’ll present a sophisticated breakdown of the eLearning app development cost and some useful approaches to optimize it. 

  • The eLearning app market is estimated to become worth more than 243 billion USD by 2022. 
  • The development cost of an eLearning app depends on multiple factors, including features, complexity, platform, and the development region. 
  • One app that costs you 150,000 USD in your local market can be developed in only 20,000 through outsourcing. 
  • Staff augmentation services are an interesting approach to reaching a tradeoff between app development experience and cost. 

Factors that Affect eLearning App Development Cost 

The tech-savvy generations of the present era prefer to have all their education online. As such, the demand for eLearning platforms is quite high, and so is the development cost of these apps. But high demand is not the only factor that affects the education app development cost; there are many others, as mentioned below- 

Different Types of eLearning Applications 

In order to accurately estimate the eLearning app development cost, it is essential to consider what type of app you’re looking to build. Educational apps can majorly be segregated into three types as follows- 

Educator’s App 

The eLearning apps for educators are quite different from the eLearning apps for students. With respect to functionalities, one app is used to impart knowledge, and the other to receive it in a format that facilitates learning. The former is used to make the job of teachers easier and more convenient, and therefore, has features like setting schedules, interactive whiteboards, storing learning resources with gated sharing capabilities, tracking students’ progress, and creating a communication platform to keep parents posted on their wards’ learning status. 

Students’ App 

When it comes to eLearning apps for educational institutes’ learners, many features overlap with that of educators’ apps. Foremost, there must be a facility to receive the educational instructions in the format that the teacher on the other end of the app delivers. Other than that, there must be a module that allows students to connect directly with their teachers. Students must also be able to present their queries in an easy way without disrupting the flow of the class. Another great feature would be to allow students to take notes and save and share them on the platform for improved engagement in the class. 

Personal Learning 

Many educational apps today do not require the presence of a teacher on the other end. Apps like DuoLingo, Epic, Star Walk, and Mimo have streamlined learnable content through gamification and personalization. These apps can now be used to get knowledgeable content at the pace of students’ learning. The major difference between personal learning and students app is that here the learners themselves are responsible for their learning. And since there is no external compulsion for students to learn the offered skill, these apps must have gamification components to keep learners active on the platform. 

Corporate Training 

Apps like MindFlash, Udemy, and SkillPill are offering work-related skills and expertise to learners. These apps are largely used by working professionals and not institutional students. It is for this reason the content on these platforms is designed to impart skills through practical instructions, which makes video transmission essential for such platforms. Such platforms, since used by working professionals, may not need one-to-one communication mediums with the instructor. Instead, they would want to send their queries over emails or have a forum instead to discuss ideas. 

Since all these different types of eLearning apps have varied functionalities, cost variations are inevitable. In general, the more features an app type has, the more its cost will be. Regardless, here is a cost breakdown for eLearning apps based on their types. 

Type of the eLearning App  Cost  
Self-learning Apps  $25,000 to $50,000 
Corporate Training Apps $15,000 to $40,000 
Students’ Apps $15,000 to $35,000 
Teachers’ Apps  $15,000 to $65,000 

Features of the eLearning Mobile App  

Other than the type of the app, the second-most important consideration for estimating the educational app development cost are features. Some important features you should consider for your custom eLearning app’s development include delivery mechanism, presence and type of assessment, module completion deadline maintenance, discussion forum, class scheduler, student leaderboard, personalization, etc. 

Now, these features can have varied functionality; for example, one eLearning mobile application like Coursera would require only one component to deliver recorded videos and the platform to deliver notes and textual content. This is compared to Duolingo, an app that would require a personalization engine, and custom–developed content can be built in much less time through APIs.  

Similarly, an app with live classes will need an integrated module for live streaming and the cloud configuration to support the same. As such, features will define the eventual selection of technologies, skills, and timeline of the eLearning app development and, by extension, its cost.

The platform on Which eLearning App Will Run 

Other than features and the type, another major factor in estimating the eLearning app development cost is the platform or operating system it will run on. Generally, investors try to target students and learners on the following platforms- 

Native mobile app 

These are the most expensive apps when it comes to eLearning app development cost; the reason is that they often require two teams of developers –iOS developers and Android developers. Often companies with a native mobile app for their platform usually convert their existing web platform into native mobile apps. And even though the functionalities are quite clear for such companies, even at the beginning stage, both iOS and Android development is done in a progressive way can stretch both the timeline and cost of development.  

That being said, these kinds of apps offer the best user experience to the learners, so if your budget permits, you should go along with this approach. One thing you can do here is to understand your target audience and discover which mobile devices they’re using. Based on that data, you can prioritize which platform you should invest in first. 

Cross-platform mobile app 

This is the ideal approach for companies with a limited budget, but a target audience spread across both the operating systems – Android and iOS. For such eLearning app development, you will need developers in technologies like Xamarin, Flutter, Ionic, Corona, etc. Such apps, when developed by skilled developers, often feel like native apps only, compromising nothing on the UX end. But since for both kinds of apps, only one development lifecycle would be required; it will drastically reduce the overall cost of development. 

Progressive web app 

If you’re a new EdTech startup or an educational institute just trying to test the waters of eLearning mobile apps, then this is the ideal solution for you. An eLearning Progressive Web Apps or PWAs are eLearning websites that look and behave like eLearning mobile apps. These apps can use all the mobile device features that are accessible to native apps and yet never require the users to visit app stores. To develop such apps, you will need the help of front-end developers in technologies like Angular JS, Vue.js, React, Preact, etc. 

Also Read: Native vs. Hybrid vs. Cross-Platform 

Usually, native apps are the most expensive, followed by cross-platform and PWAs. Here’s a rough estimation of eLearning app development cost based on the platforms- 

PWAs  Native  Cross-Platform 
Android  iOS 
$15,000 to $150,000+  $20,000 to $300,000  $25,000 to $450,000  $40,000 to $200,000 


The complexity of the eLearning Application Design 

Some students have special needs in terms of their learning capabilities. Moreover, offering distinguished learning features also helps many eLearning companies stand apart from the competition, helping them acquire more of the targeted audience. For example, an eLearning company LessonWise is using innovative and interactive whiteboarding techniques to help both the learners and the educators simplify the expending of education. While not necessary, this addition to the design is helping the company fight the competition. That being said, the company also had to pay more for such advanced functionality in design.  

Similarly, there are eLearning apps that only offer textual information which learners can access at all times. It is evident that such apps would have a hard time getting discovered but then do not have to invest much in the development cost. Thus, depending on your business requirement, you can even pick advanced technologies like AI in eLearning for personalization and deep learning and AR/VR for a more inclusive app experience. Here’s a ballpark estimation of eLearning app development cost on the basis of the complexity of design- 

Simple eLearning Apps  Basic eLearning App  Advanced eLearning App 
$40,000 to $100,000  $125,000 to $450,000  $50,000 to $1,000,000 

Cost of App Development by Region 

How would you feel if you got to know that the same basic eLearning mobile app MVP with similar features and UX would cost you around 150 thousand US dollars in the USA and only 20 thousand USD in India? In fact, more than anything, the region of the eLearning app development plays a vital role in estimating the final cost. This is because of the currency and consequent wage differences between different countries. Here is a rough estimate of the eLearning development cost per hour based on the remuneration of key roles in different regions.  

Region  Hourly rate, in USD 
United States (USA)  120-150 
United Kingdom (UK)  100-120 
Australia  100-120 
Western Europe  80-100 
Eastern Europe  35-60 
India  30-50 
Vietnam  20-50 

Additional Expenses to Consider While Estimating eLearning App Development Costs 

While all the above-mentioned factors cover a substantial part of your eLearning app development cost, there are certain additional considerations you should take care of while allocating your project the budget. As with these factors, you can easily estimate the development cost, but there are certain expenses that can overextend your budget but are necessary for a successful deployment of an eLearning app.  

First among these expenses is cloud setup. Since most eLearning apps are made to cater to a global audience, cloud deployment is inevitable. Here the charges of cloud hosting and processing make up a significant part of the cost of the eLearning app. 

Other than cloud hosting, the deployment can have many unforeseen challenges, disrupting the deadline and deliverables of app deployment. This is where DevOps consulting company becomes an indispensable resource. Their services can break down the inherent barriers between insulated internal environments of production and infrastructure administrators. Helping maintain the efficiency and agility of the development and deployment process. 

Read More: DevOps Implementation for Business 

Testing is yet another important component of the development lifecycle that many software companies do not count in the eLearning app development cost. As a result, either this significant constituent extends the existing budget of the investors or investors forced to not include it in the development lifecycle at all, hampering the delivery timeline of the project and, in some cases, the final output. 

Some of the other additional and rather ulterior expenses associated with eLearning app development costs include SMS notifications, server maintenance, licensing, push notifications, and marketing expenses. 

How to Begin with eLearning Mobile App Development 

With so many considerations in estimating the eLearning app development cost, it is easy to get confused. However, the best way is to simply set your expectations right, create a budget and then explore different ways to find out the exact cost of development for your eLearning app. 

Build An In-house Team 

If you have a startup in the education industry, your first idea would be to build an in-house team of mobile app developers and other technical experts for your eLearning app. This approach is, in fact, ideal for you if yours is an ed-tech startup and you’re looking to build and grow it over time. However, if you’re an educational institute with the intent to build and deploy an eLearning app for once and all, having an in-house team would not be the most cost-effective approach for you. 

 In fact, the technical environment setup alone would cost you so much that you could have built an entire basic eLearning mobile app in that budget. Moreover, having an in-house team also means you’ll have to spend at least on their regular remuneration, making the entire project too costly if it is not built for a nigger use case. 

Work With Freelancers 

So, if building a complete team of project managers, developers, and testers, is not a good idea for you, but you still want to work with a team of yours, you can consider hiring freelancers instead. Hiring freelancing android app developers and iOS mobile app developers is far easier than building a team in-house. Another great benefit of this approach is that it allows you to start small and then grow your team in-house with greater investments if the project takes off as expected.  

There’s one huge downside of this approach, though, a lack of accountability. Even though freelancers usually take their work sincerely, there is no dearth of cases where hiring freelancers for a project has backfired. Since there is no accountability for such resources, it is easy to lose the idea or investment in them with no guarantee. 

Staff Augmentation Services 

If accountability is the only issue and you still want to work with skilled experts without having to hire them, staff augmentation services are the right choice for you. Many software engineering studios today allow EdTech companies and educational institutes to augment their existing staff with their skilled resources. These skilled resources then work as remote team members offering their expertise as augmented staff.  

This approach is ideal for EdTech companies that have long-term eLearning development projects and have a dedicated team for the same. They can then augment their team with specialized skills for smaller modules. For example, if an existing eLearning platform wants to implement a recommendation engine, they can hire AI/ML developers for the short term until the module gets completed and then continue with the progression of the rest of the platform. 

Hire A Local Software Development Agency 

If technical expertise and judging one is not your cup of tea, hiring a local agency is the ideal option for you. Such a company will already have the resources required by your eLearning app development project and can offer you both consultation and development services. One benefit of hiring a local eLearning development company is that they will be in the vicinity.  

This will allow your team to visit the development area of your project as well as let you ask for developers’ presence in your workstation. One disadvantage here is that if you’re a netizen of a developed country, the development services could overreach your budget.

Read More: A Complete Guide on eLearning Software Development 

Outsource an eLearning Development Company 

In reality, the eLearning app development cost varies from region to region, as mentioned above. This is why when it comes to optimizing the cost of development, outsourcing is a good option as well. An offshore eLearning app development company will offer you all the benefits of a local development agency plus a competitive cost for your project.  

Another benefit of outsourcing eLearning development services is that you can get more specialized skills and expertise that you may not find in your locality. But since outsourcing opens up the global market for you, you can easily pick a company with the most relevant experience. You can simply share all your requirements with such a company. They, with their expertise, can enhance the functionality of your eLearning app through data science, AI/ML, AR/VR, and other industry-leading technologies. 

Tips to Optimize Your eLearning App Development Cost 

Now all these different approaches to hiring eLearning app development services, too, bring variations in the final cost. Other factors like features and technologies too can be modulated to achieve the most ROI from your eLearning project. Here are some of the more important ways you can bring the eLearning app development cost well within your budget without compromising on the features you wish to offer- 

Choose Full-service eLearning App Development Companies. 

One sure way of optimizing the development cost without diluting the features and functionalities of your platform is by hiring an offshore and full-service eLearning app development company. Due to global competition, currency differences, and the consequent different wage structures, help these companies offer you world-class development services for a very competitive price.  

Research Various Company’s Portfolios 

If you’re going along with the first suggestion, then for the next step, you can look up the existing eLearning app projects in their respective portfolios. There are two advantages of this tip. Firstly, you will get to ensure whether the company is a good fit for your project requirement based on their previous experience. Secondly, if you find a similar project in their portfolios, you can ask for a discount since they will mostly reuse their existing libraries for the purpose. 

Simplify The App Complexity 

Another approach you can take to further lower your investment in the first go is to simplify your requirements. More often than not, you do not need a variety of advanced offerings in your eLearning app, at least not in its first version. Instead, you can have those developed in the next iterations of the development cycle. What’s good with this approach is that you get to start earning through the initial version of the app and then derive its next iteration budget from the next round of funding or the earnings themselves. 

Interview The eLearning App Developers 

One of the many ways companies overspend on the cost of eLearning app development is by hiring resources who do not have compatible skills. This does not mean that the developer is under-equipped but rather ill-equipped for the project.  

For example, you may want to implement a module to gamify your learning portal; here, even skilled and experienced LMS developers cannot help you as much as an AI developer could. This is why when you hire resources by interviewing them for the exact functionalities you’re looking for, you can ensure that the project gets completed within the pre-meditated timeline and budget. 


Indeed, coming up with a distinct figure for an eLearning app development cost is not possible. So many factors and considerations play such an important role in the final estimation that without knowing the exact requirements, no one can tell how much an eLearning project would cost. That being said, if you can put all the above-mentioned considerations in your project plan, you can arrive at a more detailed estimate. However, the ideal way remains the same, simply ask an eLearning app development company how much your project would cost.  

Matellio, with its decade’s worth of experience in eLearning, can offer you a free quote. All you need to do is fill out this form with your requirements, and our experts will detail a project plan for you along with the timeline and exact cost.  

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