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How to create an app for online courses

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How to create an app for online courses

How to create an app for online courses

Society evolves through a digitalized and permanently connected environment. Speed and progress are the keywords of the 21st century, where information is consumed everywhere and all the time thanks to the internet. Many sectors have had to reinvent themselves in order to adapt to these changes, such as the press and radio.  

This is also the case for education: classic courses become boring or uninteresting. Compared to the attractiveness of the screens and the numerous contents they offer, most of the courses are no longer in adequacy with the evolution of the society. 

Learning methods must adapt to these changes, and digital courses are becoming more and more popular! This is why offering an online course app has many advantages: It is a format adapted to all profiles, depending on the age of your target, and your learning field. Creating an app will allow you to differentiate yourself by upsetting traditional methods thanks to diversified types of content!  
 

From traditional learning to E-Learning: Identify the challenges

Learning faces new challenges that are important to understand when embarking on the creation of an online course app.  

In a school setting, a student's maximum attention span in class is about 10 minutes. There are several factors that lead to this disconnect: Teaching methods, personal issues, general atmosphere, but the main cause is none other than digitalization. Information is instantly available on the web and learners are now used to more attractive formats. 

Music, art and sports courses face different problems. In recent years, new obstacles have appeared, the population is becoming more sedentary and cultural and sports activities are less attractive. The commute, the crowds, time management, and budget restrictions are all factors that dissuade people from participating in these activities, and more and more of them are doing so at home. Social connections are now digital, so going out is not as important as it once was.  

Creating an online course app is one solution. At home or away, alone or with friends, everyone can adapt their learning, and choose what they want to learn and how. By gathering all your content in one interface, your app will become as attractive as social networks. 
 

An app for every type of course and target audience

The field of online courses is vast, and digital learning can accommodate many different types of teachers as well as different audiences. Before you start creating your app, there are two key steps. The first is to define your learning niche, in order to put the right content online and to design your visual identity. The second step is to identify your audience and analyze their needs and expectations. Ask yourself who your app is for and what its purpose is: What do you want to learn and communicate to your target audience? It is obvious that an app for academic and educational purposes will be different from an app for hobbies or sports.  

Once this analysis is done, you can choose the right design and interface. The user experience is the key point of the success of an app, that's why it's important to integrate the most coherent functionalities with your target while tuning the UX to their expectations. Here are some examples of apps created for different types of online courses. 

1/ An educational app
 
The Learn&Fun app is specialized in school learning and creative activities. It is therefore intended for a young audience, with several specific needs: Learn fundamental course concepts according to age and level, while having fun through various fun and creative activities.  

The home of this app is simple, intuitive and comprehensive since it is intended for children. It has a clear layout and the content is arranged by theme so that users can easily find what they are looking for.  

The choice of the navigation bar was made in favor of a TabBar, visible and accessible at all times. It allows easy access to the content offered thanks to the menus in which the different courses are organized. These menus are very intuitive, and the entire design of the app is designed with children in mind: soft and colorful, attractive, clear, and illustrated with icons that make it easy for youngsters to understand.  

The Contact Us and Gallery sections are intended for children as well as parents and allow to unite a community of users. They can share their photos, their moments, and make your app more active and attractive. It's an added value that builds loyalty and sends a trusted image to your users.
2/ An App to develop a passion 
 
E-Learning apps are not only for informative, academic and formal courses but also for many different types of courses. Cooking, painting, sculpture, photography, but also music, can be subjects of online courses. The app FastPiano is an application dedicated to learning the piano online through many types of diversified content. 

It's an application for everyone, which is aimed at a very large target audience whose motivation is to learn this musical instrument. Its design and its UX are more neutral, to be adapted to the largest number of people while remaining easy to understand and use.  

The Home is minimalist. The main objective of this app is to propose several kinds of content in order to diversify the methods. Different media are used: video content through tutorials, as well as live lessons, podcasts, and written articles in the blog section. That way, everyone can go to their favorite type of content and find an adapted learning experience.  
3/ An App to practice physical activity: 

Online courses also include areas related to well-being and health, whether physical or mental. LotusYoga is an app for online meditation and yoga classes, which is therefore aimed at a completely different audience than the previous ones. 

Like FastPiano, LotusYoga uses different types of content to vary its learning methods. It is the video format that is preferred and highlighted in the Home of the app. It is the most suitable content since it is possible to do a session at the same time as the coaches. Moreover, the videos are organized according to the needs of users, there is for example a section dedicated to pregnant women, a more specific target. There are also some additional articles and podcasts for truly complete sessions. 

This app also aims to create a community of active users, thanks to the calendar. This allows you to organize events such as group classes, by giving meeting points using the location feature proposed by GoodBarber. 

Key features for a good online course app

Features to centralize and organize your courses: 

Your GoodBarber back office allows you to manage everything from a single place: thanks to a single interface, it is possible to plan the publication of your courses, manage your content as well as your users. 
The planning and organization of your courses require the use of several features. You can plan your content in advance thanks to our calendar.
Our CMS allows you to categorize your lessons into modules and chapters according to their subjects. The different types of content can be internal to the app, i.e. published directly from the tool through the sections, but also external. Goodbarber offers a CMS to redirect your content and connectors to synchronize it from external platforms, there are about thirty connectors like WordPress, Youtube, RSS, Podcast Feed, Vimeo, Twitter, for example. 
Offering a search engine is particularly important for online course applications, it will allow your users to find categories, topics, and relevant content according to their interests. 

 
Push notifications to motivate your students 

From your GoodBarber back office, it's possible to schedule automatic notificationsto be sent whenever new content is added to any section of your app. Ideal to automatically inform your users of new lessons available or live tutorials. They can also be targeted according to user groups, allowing you to adapt your strategy for each profile. It's a motivating, loyalty-building feature that reminds your users to come back to your app. 
Tools to keep an eye on statistics: 

It's necessary to use built-in analytics as well as external tools to understand which courses work best. The Goodbarber dashboard provides you with detailed statistics of your app. This is data that will help you understand your users' behavior, and then inform the amount and type of traffic on your app. You can also use external tools, such as Google Analytics for Firebase, Google Tag Manager, Countly, or Flurry, to get more detailed results. Once all this information is taken into account, you can adapt and perfect your app according to your users' expectations. 

Monetization tools: 

Creating your app can allow you to generate revenue through two options: 
  • Displaying ads: It is possible to sell advertising spaces in your app. By analyzing and testing the frequency, you will know when to place them to find a balance between generating revenue and providing the best possible experience for your users.
  • Subscription systems: This involves making some of your features paid-for among the free features of your app. These features will only be accessible after subscription and will offer your users a complete access to your app. For example, you can give free access to the courses in the form of written articles, and make the video course a paid section . 

Best practices to follow

Engage and Retain Your Students: 

There are several ways to create engagement consistently through an online course app. First, the more diverse formats you use, the more engaging your courses will be. This is because users will be able to switch between a video, a blog post, or a podcast, making learning less redundant. Plus, Live is one of the best features! It allows your audience to react live and promotes engagement. By scheduling this through the calendar, your students will know when to meet up with you on a regular basis, and thus continue to use your app over the long term, feeling closer to you. You should also allow users to share content they find interesting on social networks, native sharing allows you to transfer any link or image to another app or platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others) without ever leaving your app. The Favorites tab allows your learners to keep their favorite content in a separate section and find it whenever they want, which encourages interaction! 

Create a real student community : 

Many features allow your users to interact within the app. Comments allow them to give their opinions, ask questions, debate, and this way, they feel important. It's also a way for you to stay attentive to their needs and remarks, in order to adapt your app accordingly. 
You can also allow your users to share content. Through the Submit section, they can send their requests, photos, impressions, and you can share them again later. User engagement and satisfaction is the best form of advertising, they are a reflection of your app, and they can be a great addition, whether it is simply informative or entertaining. 
Add-ons Community, Chat, and User Groups, also allow your learners to communicate with each other and create bonds, a way to make your app more enjoyable to use.

Conclusion

No matter what the theme of your courses is, an app can be the solution to various problems. It will allow you to offer your users a qualitative service that will meet many needs. Through different contents, you will be able to increase your audience's loyalty thanks to the proven techniques covered in this article, as well as increase your revenues. By following the various tips on our blog, you now understand the essentials of what you need to know about online course apps and are now ready to start designing them!