Karl Gorman
eLearning Mobile App Development

Designing an Effective and Engaging eLearning Mobile App in 2023 – Full Guide

Learning has gone beyond the four walls of a classroom and has expanded its wings in the joys of technological advancement through the use of e-learning app development. The development of online platforms and software to further enhance effective learning that can engage students of any field is widely accepted and has been spread across continents and countries. It has helped eliminate the limitations of where (the physical place) one has to be to learn, gain knowledge, and accumulate intelligence and information.

With this, people want to expand their horizons from the comfort of their homes, offices, and wherever to remotely have access to edifying content that teaches and impacts them academically. Over the years, there have been various testimonials of how people have acquired and attained educational and professional certificates by learning remotely on online mobile software platforms and e-learning mobile application development. It has therefore been proven that it is an engaging, effective, and successful means of learning and studying.

It may be questioned how learning remotely and online can promote discipline and participation as the physical learning centres would without students falling out of line, purpose, and goal. It’s simple!

E-learning mobile apps are designed specifically to keep students engaged and interested in their course of study, which makes it an effective process in the long run. To attain the goal of designing an effective and engaging e-learning mobile app, there are guides, steps, and procedures to follow. This article has provided a full guide containing what e-learning application development is all about.

What is e-learning?

E-learning is the acronym for electronic learning. It is a system of education that uses electronic development and technologies, utilizing the internet to bring to students learning materials, information, facts, knowledge, and solutions, thereby facilitating their learning experiences and skills. It embodies various and specific methods, tools, techniques, and platforms intended for online education.

Access to educational materials, contents, resources, and assessments on e-learning platforms are made accessible to students or users through digital devices such as computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With these devices and the internet, users access learning websites, software applications, and online communities. E-learning takes different forms of delivery, and these include:

  1. Mobile learning
  2. Online Courses
  3.  Webinars
  4.  Virtual classrooms

Mobile learning

This form of e-learning, one of the most used forms and methods, uses mobile devices to deliver educational content. Learners access their comprehensive lessons, tests, and pop quizzes through podcasts or videos. This is enabled with mobile-specific technologies, websites, and mobile apps.

Online courses

Online courses are organized and structured programs for learning delivered entirely online to learners. Sometimes, they take the form of an online large-scale form open to a massive amount of interested learners globally, not limiting the learning to a specific audience.

Most online courses are provided by renowned educational institutions, like an affiliate of the institution and offer a wide range of subjects. Online courses often comprise multimedia content, such as videos, audio recordings, presentations, discussion forums, and interactive activities. Learners can also access course materials, submit assignments, and participate in discussions.


This is common for quick learning sessions. It comes in the form of seminars but is conducted online. Webinars are live or recorded presentations, workshops, or seminars conducted that participants can join in real time or watch the recorded sessions later. Webinars encourage interactive elements like polls, Q&A sessions, and file sharing.

Virtual classrooms

Virtual classrooms are simulations of traditional classroom environments. Instructors address and lecture an invisible audience like the learners are present with them. This form enables real-time interaction between the two parties (learners and instructors). Learners get immediate feedback through the features of video conferencing and chats.

The Pros of E-learning

As a result of its versatile and germane pros, e-learning has gained significant popularity in recent years, and people now seek to adopt it into their learning system. Here are some of the key pros:

  1. Personalized learning experiences
  2. Interactive engagements
  3. Flexibility
  4. Self-paced learning
  5. Progress tracking
  6. Wide accessibility
  7. Unlimited access to learning materials and resources
  8. Remote convenience
  9. Cost-effective
  10. Easy updates

Personalized learning experience

This is a branded pro for every learner because e-learning gives them the one-on-one experience and view with their instructors, unlike the traditional means of learning, where a student is in a class with a couple of fellow learners seeking the personal attention of the instructors.

Interactive engagements

One of the things that e-learning has thrived on is, unlike the traditional way of learning, it leverages multimedia elements such as videos, animations, quizzes, and interactive activities to enhance learner engagement. It even goes further with gamified features such as badges and leaderboards to motivate learners and keep them engrossed in studying.


E-learning eliminates rigid schedules. It doesn’t encourage fixed scheduling as it allows learners to access educational content and materials conveniently. Learners are free to study and learn at their convenience, time, and location, and some even go further to allow learners to pick the instructors of their choice. This profits working-class students or students with other factors as they work their learning schedule around their available time.

Self-paced learning

Learners tend to succeed more in academic pursuits when they can control their learning pace, and this is something e-learning offers them. Learners can move back and forth between challenging concepts, giving them more time to focus on their weaknesses and improve. It also gives them access to flip through familiar content.

Progress tracking

Online learning platforms, or e-learning platforms, are often created with built-in assessment tracking tools and features. This helps learners and their instructors to automatically monitor the learner’s or user’s progress through the course of their learning. This is usually done by accessing their performance through quizzes, assignments, and assessments.

Wide accessibility

eLearning goes beyond geographical and location barriers as it is often a worldwide program for interested learners. This promotes learning and eliminates learning limitations for those with no access to the traditional learning method based on one factor or the other.

Unlimited access to learning materials and resources

E-learning gives learners tickets to vast resources and learning materials that they can pick from. This way, they can combine various knowledge from scholars on the go. Learners also consume the knowledge and content that suits their learning preferences and options.

Remote convenience

This is one of the favourable benefits that has allowed e-learning to be adopted over the years. Learners can learn from anywhere, wherever they may be, as they do not have to physically be present in the learning institutions like the traditional means of studying. Professional students and students with other responsibilities can tend to their life responsibilities as they still study remotely to attain their personal goals.


It is more cost-effective compared to traditional classroom-based learning. Learners or students don’t have to deal with the daily expenses of commuting to the said physical location or purchasing physical learning materials. Elearning reduces course fees and saves institutions from dealing with instructors’ expenses relating to travel and accommodation costs, and so on.

Easy updates

This promotes continuous learning online as tutors or instructors can easily update recent facts, information, and knowledge in the field of study, allowing students to constantly have up-to-date data required for their study. This overshadows the traditional textbook features as online materials can be easily corrected and republished, unlike textbooks that go through rigorous processes and production before republishing.

eLearning Mobile App Development

What is e-learning Mobile App Development?

E-learning mobile app development is the creation process of building a mobile application originally and only designed for delivering educational content and facilitating learning experiences on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to its users. Apps like these are designed to give learners and users access to various educational resources, impactful modules, assessments, and learning materials to aid their studies.

For a successful design, every e-learning mobile app development process involves several stages, which include:

  1. The stage where the ideas and concepts of the mobile app are defined and brought to planning.
  2. The stage where developers are focused on the interface design and e-learning mobile app structure.
  3. The stage of development and programming.
  4. The stage of content creation (contents to be taught) and integration into the e-learning mobile application
  5. The stage of testing and quality assurance (the QA engineer will test the mobile app to prove that it functions perfectly).
  6. The stage of deployment and distribution( making it available on mobile platforms)
  7. The final and continual stage of maintenance and updates of the e-learning application development.

What Features Should be Included in Designing an Engaging and Effective E-learning Mobile App?

There are various features on an eLearning mobile app for its functionality, but below are some common features that can be found in e-learning mobile apps that are engaging and delivers effective outcomes:

  1. Users profile
  2. Course brochures
  3. Social features
  4. Content management system
  5. Notifications
  6. Gamification elements
  7. Progress tracking
  8. Offline access
  9. Feedback and assessment tools
  10. Certificates and testimonials

Users profile

This feature is common among all kinds and types of e-learning apps because it is the feature responsible for the functionality of users’ accounts, that is, their names, course of study, personal information, and so on. Some apps further request pictures of users to identify them with their profiles.

Course brochures

Users are given a choice, which is a catalogue of different courses that they can browse through before settling for a course. There are highlights and information about the course, the duration, and what it entails and requires. It gives heads-up to users so they can pick a course they have higher tendencies to be effective and engaged in.

Social features

This feature allows e-learning apps to simulate the traditional classroom features of students interacting, networking, sharing their learning experience, and even peering on assignments. Elearning mobile application provides social platforms for users to communicate with their fellow learners and instructors. This is one of the most interesting features of an e-learning mobile app.

Content management system

Educators, instructors, and facilitators utilize this feature to create, document, and manage educational content for users. Learning contents in mobile e-learning apps are simplified to videos, images, texts, audio and interactive exercises. These contents are structured and organized by experts in the field of study to avoid errors and ambiguity.


Notifications on elearning mobile apps are helpful to users as it daily reminds them of their learning schedule on upcoming deadlines, course updates, new content, and the like. It is likened to a school bell that calls the attention of students to the various classes and schedules they have. It keeps users engaged in their learning activities.

Gamification elements

This feature keeps learners engaged and locked into their course schedules. It promotes self-motivation in various students as they are awarded points, badges, rewards, and leaderboard positions at the end of assessments or quizzes.

Progress tracking

Progress tracking helps elearning mobile app users (both instructors and learners) to monitor and observe their learning progress. It allows learners to have a record of their performance from the start of the course to the very end.

Offline access

Due to unforeseen circumstances or for the sake of revisitation of course content, offline access, that is, the availability of course materials and contents without an internet connection, has been made available in e-learning mobile apps. Learners can download their content and refer to it at later times. This encouraged retention of what has been taught and learned.

Feedback and assessment tools

Learners receiving feedback on their performances help them identify the areas of improvement. It is advisable that an eLearning mobile app with the intent of engaging its users and producing an effective result must include the features of feedback based on assessment tools like classroom attendance, assignments, tests, quizzes, and peer group projects.

Certificates and testimonials

At the end of every educational journey, there is an award to be received by the students, which is a certificate that testifies to their participation and rigorous hard work to learn the course and acquire knowledge. This is the end goal of many learners, so e-learning mobile apps must include this feature. It can be made available for free or to be paid for.

Examples of Elearning Mobile Apps

There is a widespread acceptance of e-learning mobile apps worldwide, and millions of people are leaning toward this form of learning. Here are ten popular e-learning mobile apps in the world in no chronological order:

  1. Duolingo

This language-learning mobile app is built on the foundation of gamification features for users to be engaged and motivated to learn. It teaches languages such as English, French, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and so much more.

  1. Udemy

Udemy targets young adult users and provides courses in various areas. It teaches in over 65 languages for ease of understanding for its users.

  1. Khan Academy

This e-learning provides educational courses such as mathematics, humanities, science, and so on in 50 different languages free to all its users. It does not have a specific target audience, as it aims to educate all.

  1. SoloLearn

It is a worldwide famous app for learning coding and programming languages. It helps people interested in tech to have first-hand training in this field. They learn through lectures and coding challenges and get to practice them.

  1. Coursera

It offers a wide range of online courses by US-based universities and institutions, from traditional topics such as mathematics, science, geography, and the like to current, relevant topics such as AI, tech, digital business, programming, etc.

  1. edX

This is a US-based elearning mobile app founded by MIT and Harvard to provide educational courses to students. The edX mobile app allows students to access course materials, participate in class discussions and earn certificates.

  1. ALISON online courses

ALISON provides varieties of courses globally to learners. A user can take many courses and ALISON and still be handed certificates, given they complete all their courses.

  1. YouTube

This is a video streaming platform that supports everything entertainment aside from violence. Though it is common for its entertainment purpose, it still covers a wide range of relevant topics for the enlightenment of its users.

  1. Photomath

It is an e-learning mobile app designed to identify and solve mathematical problems. It provides detailed solutions for its users. Users scan questions with their smartphones, and it delivers the appropriate answers to the problem.

  1. Linkedin learning

Linkedin learning teaches people professional courses and technical skills. It has a vast brochure of different courses, whose content is provided through videos and quizzes at the end of the course.

eLearning Mobile App Development

Professional Personnel Required for Designing an Effective and Engaging Elearning Mobile App

Designing an e-learning mobile app requires the collaboration of different professional bodies. It is important to know that having professional personnel to design and build an e-learning mobile app varies as it depends on the size and complexity of the project. This expertise includes:

  1. Project Manager
  2. Instructional designer
  3. QA engineer
  4. Frontend developer
  5. Backend developer
  6. User experience designer (UX)
  7. User interface designer (UI)
  8. Mobile app developer
  9. Content developer
  10. Data analyst
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Steps to Design an Effective and Engaging E-learning Mobile App

Designing an effective and engaging e-learning mobile app should be done with careful consideration and technical know-how. To keep a user engaged, they must see and experience what pleases their learning palate, and that way, it keeps them engaged in their course of study. Here are some steps to designing effective and engaging e-learning mobile apps:

  1. Define the learning objective
  2. Determine your target audience
  3. Design a user-based experience
  4. Content development
  5. Create interactive features and gamification (based on TA)
  6. Input social learning and interaction
  7. QA testing
  8. Improve and maintain the e-learning app

Define the learning objective

This is the foundational basis for designing the app. It is in this stage that requirements, goals, and specifications are rooted and established. It covers what skills and knowledge are to be taught, how it is to be taught, the timeline of the training, and so on.

If this is not properly laid out, the e-learning app will be without a skeleton for basic designing. Creators must have what they want to be structured and created while they discuss with quality developers.

Determine your target audience

This is the step that illuminates the “who.” Who are the developers aiming to design the e-learning app for? What are the demographics?

This will help shape the design structure for learners (target audience) to best suit their learning preferences. Through thorough and carefully carried out research, developers should understand the characteristics and preferences of the target audience while considering their age, gender, educational background, learning styles, and technological proficiency to tailor the application development.

Design a user-based experience

Develop a user-based experience that delivers an engaging, interactive, and workable prototype. The app’s interface, navigation, audio, and visual elements are designed. In this step, developers pay prompt attention to usability principles, ensuring that users can easily find, navigate and access content, track progress, and interact with the app.

Content development

The next step for designing an effective and engaging e-learning mobile platform is the organization and development of the learning content. That is, how it is laid out and presented to users in a way that will be easily relatable and less cumbersome for them.

It is best when the learning contents are broken into modules or sections. This assures logical progression and clarity.

Content should be kept simple, engaging, and concise to align with the learning objectives. Every multimedia element, such as videos and images that would be made available, must be conducted creatively and carefully.

Create interactive features and gamification

Learning online without physical supervision from superiors can get sidetracked and not taken seriously by learners. That is why e-learning apps should engage and, if possible, entertain users. Interactive features and gamification elements can boost user engagement, so at this step, include quizzes, challenges, badges, or leaderboards to make learning more enjoyable and competitive.

Input social learning and interaction

While designing the app, the feature of social learning and user interaction must be built in too. This promotes engagement between learners as they share knowledge and information on the mobile app.

It promotes users keeping up with communication and having someone (fellow users) be transparent with their learning. Therefore, it encourages them to connect, discuss and support each other within the app.

QA testing

QA engineers take over with this step. They work by the learning objectives and e-learning mobile app requirements to ensure that the designed app meets expectations. Before the release of the developed mobile app, they check for bugs, errors, glitches, or any coding problem that can cause future interference with the user’s experience and learning.

Improve and maintain the e-learning app

E-learning is an ongoing process, and it will be with a new generation of users over time. So, regularly update the content, and redesign features based on user feedback, daily technological advancements, and dynamic educational needs. The app designer and developer must be up-to-date with new trends in e-learning to incorporate new features and improve the user’s overall learning experience.

Challenges of Designing an Effective and Engaging Elearning Mobile App

Designing explicit e-learning mobile apps with useful and engaging features comes with challenges. Knowing these challenges can help with proactive measures during the design and development process. Here are some highlighted challenges to watch out for:

  1. Technical constraints
  2. Cost
  3. Content adaptability
  4. Learning motivation and discipline
  5. Personalization
  6. User engagement
  7. Data security and privacy
  8. Maintenance and updates

Technical constraints

Like traditional classrooms, the most important thing to avoid while teaching students is error. Elearning mobile platforms cannot afford to have their mobile apps run with glitches and errors as it can affect users’ learning engagement and experience. Therefore, developing a mobile app with a seamless user experience across various interfaces, operating systems, devices, and screen sizes is a stretch for developers and can be technically challenging.


Developing an eLearning mobile app to be effective requires a thorough build of compatibility, performance, and responsiveness on different platforms, which means expertise in mobile app development is to be employed for this task which would cost a lot, aside from other development expenses.

Content adaptability

Transcribing what would be taught in a traditional classroom for months, probably years, into weeks of learning is indeed a tough call as short-term learning goal is the objective of most e-learning mobile apps. In this timeframe, the content must be kept concise and engaging, while at the same time, it must push to meet its goal of effectiveness on users.

Learning motivation and discipline

It is well said that students easily lose concentration on their studies, and the same goes for e-learning mobile app users. They can be easily distracted from learning even more than traditional learning-based students.

So, developers must develop and design engaging features that stand out from others to keep up with users’ motivation and discipline to study. This can be a stretch as it would require more experts in the field for their input, thereby delaying the creation process and increasing costs.


Narrowing down the learning preferences of the target audience to specific users is quite tasking. Aside from this, providing customized learning experiences tailored to specific users requires collecting and analyzing user data, and this must be done while respecting the privacy of users.

User Engagement

Another critical challenge to watch out for is sustaining user engagement. While there is a need for updates to keep up with user engagement for an effective result, it can strain developers and designers as they have to be in a constant loop of improvement and iterative design throughout the user’s learning journey and experience.

Maintenance and updates

While updates may seem good, some users may find them conflicting, as new features can confuse them. Updates to e-learning mobile apps must constantly spark new interest and user engagement. Maintaining these updates can be complex.


Learning doesn’t stop within the four walls of academic institutions. Thanks to technology, Elearning Mobile apps and platforms like Duolingo, Khan Academy, and LinkedIn Learning enable people worldwide to gain new knowledge from anywhere.

These successful apps have certain factors in common such as user-friendly features and experience, updated learning content, and flexible learning hours. To build an Elearning Mobile app like the examples given, ensure you have the right tools, resources, people, ideas, and features.


Is it expensive to design an e-learning mobile app?

The cost of designing an e-learning mobile app depends and varies on factors like features and functionality of the app, the complexity of the app, the design elements, the level of customization, the content creation, the development, the platforms to be supported on (ios, android), QA testing and maintenance. These and many more significantly determine the expense rate to design an e-learning mobile app.

What features can be designed for an e-learning application development to make it engaging to its users?

In alignment with the e-learning application development target audience, incorporating features like personalized user profiles, gamification elements, social media features, offline access, interactive multimedia content, user interface, and so on can make it engaging to its users.

Is e-learning an effective and guaranteed way of learning or studying?

Yes, eLearning is an effective and guaranteed way of learning and studying because it comes with features and programs that have been designed for the sole purpose of imparting knowledge and teaching students. Studies have shown various reasons that e-learning is as effective, if not more, than traditional ways of learning.

What makes e-learning better than the traditional way of learning?

Various advantages make e-learning stand out from the traditional system of learning, and this has made it a preferred choice of study for so many people all over the world. e-learning, among other features, literally brings education and studying to the hands of learners.

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