How Much Does it Cost to Build an App Like Coursera?

Sudeep Srivastava March 29, 2023
What is the Cost of Coursera like app development

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a significant shift in the education industry. Education is now all about critical thinking, creativity, and connectivity, rather than just attending lectures, taking notes, or doing assignments. 

What was once only feasible within the four walls of a classroom is now accessible from any location on the globe, thanks to technological advancements and internet connectivity. 

The advent of online education apps has transformed the education industry and made it easier for learners to understand new concepts and get access to education from anywhere, anytime. 

When we talk about e-learning apps, there are a few names that come on top of our heads almost instantly – Coursera, Udemy, Lynda by LinkedIn, etc.

All these names that hit our thoughts belong to the sub-category called MOOCs. Massive Open Online Courses have played a significant role in the transition from brick and mortar classes to digital.

The several benefits offered by MOOC apps have made them quite popular among students and instructors around the world. Such apps also help train and monitor students remotely while providing a continuous flow of education. The growing demand for MOOC apps has also made it one of the most quickly flourishing industries in a very short amount of time. 

In this article, we will understand the different aspects of the MOOC market, including the present and future state, funding in the sector, and top players in the market. We will also look into the technical and monetary side of the app, and in the end, Coursera-like app development cost.

Present and Anticipated Future of the MOOC Market

Present and Anticipated Future of the MOOC Market

Recent Funding in the Field of mLearning and MOOCs

The market scenario that you just saw is one that has not just attracted market players, but has also warmed up the investment world.

The ease that these MOOC platforms offer to the world full of learners and instructors, both in terms of convenience and cost-saving, is something that has not gone unnoticed by the investors community. Time and again a number of funding rounds have been happening in the edutech platform, keeping the momentum of Coursera clone app builders high.

Let us look at some of the recent ones –

A. Emeritus, a U.S-Indian company that partners with universities to offer digital courses, raised $650 mn in Series E funding led by SoftBank and Accel in 2021.

B. Udemy, which offers more than 130,000 different online learning courses from business analytics to meditation lessons, raised $50 million at a $3.25 billion pre-money valuation in a Series F financing in 2020.

C. MasterClass, a platform for online video courses on topics from film directing to tennis taught by iconic figures in each field (like Martin Scorsese and Serena Williams), raised a total of $461.4M in funding over 12 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Jul 22, 2021, from a Secondary Market round.

D. In 2021, Edutech start-up Unacademy raised $440 million in funding led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

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These funding rounds are simply a peek into how big the MOOC sector is and how mobile apps are changing the future of the education sector, especially from the point of view of educational institutions that are witnessing a change.

Top Players of the MOOC Domain

Coursera, in spite of being the most installed app, is not the only one that the users are following, there are a number of other similar apps in the domain that have been keeping the category up and running.

On that note, let’s take a look at the some of the other established names in the sector besides Coursera before we move on to mobile app development cost breakdown –

Top Players of the MOOC Domain

The names that we just saw to be ruling the edutech and MOOC domain are not restricted. The list is ever-growing and more and more brands are now entering the segment to try their luck in the flourishing sector.

Now, irrespective of the number of players in the edtech market, the one thing that has been driving the attention of both investors and end-users towards the e-learning platform is the set of features that it comes with. Features are also an important factor that decides the overall e-learning development costs.

So, without further delay, let us get straight to it.

Must-Have Features of MOOC Apps like Coursera

In this section, we have mentioned some of the most relevant features that are best for any MOOC app like Coursera. So, to make your app more user-friendly and intuitive, read about these features carefully:

Must-Have Features of MOOC Apps like Coursera

A. Search, Filtration, and Recommendation

It is the first and most important part of the whole e-learning software building process. All the e-learning platforms – website and application showcase a whole catalog of courses that require a proper, search and filtering mechanism. There should be multiple ways users can arrive at the course that they are looking for –

  • By entering the keyword in the search bar
  • According to primary and secondary categories
  • Filters and sorting
  • Recommendations

B. Stakeholder Profiles

Usually, you will have to accommodate three profiles inside your application, as the top mobile app developers would tell you – Student, Teacher, and Admin when building an app like Coursera. Let us look at what features the three should individually entail –

Users Profile –

Personal and payment information

List of present and completed courses

Information about the earned credits, points or certificate

History of purchases


Profile settings

Contact admin option

Teacher Profile –

Personal and payment information

Create and submit courses

Dashboard with details of interest shown in their course

Contact admin option

Admin Profile –

Modify blacklist users

Modify courses

Get statistics reports

Assign roles to the users

Help with change in subscription plan

Manage newsletter and notification

C. Course Creation

There should be a tool integrated within the application that would enable the teachers to develop a course, prepare quizzes, questionnaires, etc. The platform should allow multiple things – designing a course structure, writing scripts, and addingslides, videos, text, coding exercises, quizzes, PDFs, audio files, etc.

D. Dashboard

The instructors should be given the facility of a dashboard where they can track several activities and gain useful insights.

Usually, a dashboard consists of information on –

  • Detail of courses
  • Monitoring of students counts, conversion, and revenue earned
  • Insights into what the students are looking for.

E. Course Detail Page

Every course should be given a dedicated page where all types of information and features can be fed in. The page should have details like –

  • Description of the course
  • Information about the creator
  • The instructions of usage
  • Material required to study the course
  • Duration of the course
  • Rating and review

While this was about the course detail page, the course in itself should have – videos that have been pre-recorded, subtitles, quizzes, assignments, a discussion forum, and maybe even a gamification element to increase user engagement.

F. Payment Gateways

Since, offering paid courses or taking payment for certification are the two most common sources of revenue present in a MOOC application like Coursera, you will have to have a complete know-how of the process of payment gateway integration for estimating your cost to develop an e-learning platform. There can be multiple payment modes that can be added in the application – Debit/credit, net banking, UPI, and integration of P2P Payment systems like PayPal, Venmo, etc.

G. Notifications

Notifications, as we have discussed in multiple instances before, are one of those important mobile app design tips that improve conversions. You should integrate the notification mechanism in the app in a way that the users are always updated about the topics they are interested in.

H. Business Side of the App

Although this is a feature that must be added at a much later stage, the option enables companies to give learning material to their employees. With the help of an Application Programming Interface (API), you can send in the details of the employee’s learning progress to the partnered company.

1. Progress Tracking

Provide a progress tracking feature to help students and users stay organized and accomplish their goals. For every course they are registered in, users should get personalized dashboards with a progress bar and a quick overview of the study material and tasks for the following week. Let your application help learners jump right from the dashboards to the next level of their course, which ultimately saves time.

Now that we have looked at the different features that must be present in your application, it is time to look into the technology stack that goes behind the creation of an app like Coursera.

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Technology Stack for Coursera and Udemy like Applications

Here is the technology stack that apps like Coursera and Udemy are usually based on. It is another crucial factor that adds to the overall e-learning app development costs.

  • Language – JavaScript, Scala, PHP, Python
  • Web Server – Nginx
  • Storage – Amazon S3
  • Database – Amazon’s Relational Database Service, MySQL
  • Search – Amazon CloudSearch, Elastic Search

After seeing all the technical and market sides of Coursera like educational app development, we have finally arrived at the section that will answer one of the most asked questions – How much does Coursera-like app development cost?

Cost of Coursera-Like Mobile App Development

In case you are looking to go with the features we mentioned above and are planning to keep the technology stack the same as well, the Coursera-like mobile app development cost will come between $76,500 to $103,000.

While this is the absolute base amount, the app development cost estimate will increase as you add more features in the application like artificial intelligence, high-end animations, or blockchain

The cost of app development will also vary depending on the complexity of your Coursera like app. For simple app development, you need to shell out between $40,000 to $60,000. When it comes to medium app development, the price may vary between 60,000 to $150,000. For complex apps, you will have to pay somewhere around $300,000. 

Make sure to consult a reliable education app development company like Appinventiv to get a rough estimate of developing a top-notch app while entering this domain.

Formula to Estimate the Cost of Coursera-like App Development

If you do not wish to consult an app development company yet, you can also use the given formula to have a rough estimation of the application development cost. It involves the amount of time (in hours) taken in the app development process, which is then multiplied with the billable hours of the resources spent in the whole development process. 

Formula to Estimate the Cost of Coursera-like App Development

Now that you have seen how much Coursera-like app development costs, it’s time to look at the various monetization strategies you can use to earn revenue.

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How Do Apps Like Coursera Earn Money?

Now that we have looked at a number of different elements surrounding the development of MOOC apps like Coursera or Udemy, it is time to look at the ways to monetize your e-learning application.
In this section, we have mentioned a few popular revenue models that you may embrace individually or in combination to enhance customer value and earn more income through Coursera mobile app development. So, without further ado, let’s look at what they are.

A. Paid Certificate

A course certificate is the one element that majorly attracts students to the eLearning MOOC platforms like Udemy or Coursera. The fact that students will have to pay an amount that is a lot less than what a full-time college would cost is something that makes them pay for certificates very willingly.

B. Subscriptions

A common mode of earning money within the MOOC platform, which quickly covers up the cost of Coursera-like app development, is subscription. In this revenue model, students are asked to enroll in the app for free for a fixed period of time before they are asked to pay to complete the course.

C. Affiliate Marketing

Platforms both new and old in the market can earn a good amount of money through affiliate marketing. By simply following a process where they add an Amazon link to the course and then direct users to that link from where they can purchase the book, brands can earn a good amount in the name of affiliate marketing.

D. Corporate Learning

While this is the step that will only show results once your app has established itself in the market, you can in fact keep corporate learning as a part of your future business objective. For, it is estimated that the role of corporate learning mobile apps will be on a high in 2022. Coursera and Udemy already have  separate corporate learning packages in place, which makes it possible for them to charge on a user group basis.

How can Appinventiv Help in Coursera-Like App Development?

At Appinventiv, we have worked on several innovative e-learning platforms to help businesses create apps that will bring in more customers and revenue.

For instance, you can take a look at how we helped our client Nova Learning to build a blockchain-powered digital learning system that is bringing a positive technical revolution in the education sector. Our team designed an easy-to-use and intuitive platform to make learning easy for the learners and teachers.

Everything from the color choice to the icon type and size of the app was decided upon to minimize distractions and confusions. 

Our team is now working on the development of cryptocurrencies that would be used by the learners to pay for the course within the platform. We are also working on a gamification index where crypto rewards would be used for motivating the users on multiple aspects.

So in case you are also planning to develop an e-learning platform for your business, you can hire a trusted education app development company like Appinventiv. Our experts will guide you through the entire process and make your app development journey easier. Get in touch!

Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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