Educational app development in 2023: all you need to know

What app category do you think people turned to during the pandemic while locked indoors and bored? Gaming? Believe it or not, at the start of 2020, educational apps for iOS were downloaded almost 1.5 times more than the previous year. What’s interesting is that this trend still persists in 2023. People continue using educational applications, showing numbers that are well above the pre-pandemic and pandemic levels. Installs in 2023 are up by 123% compared to the 2019 average and 42% above the 2020 average.

If you want to seize the moment and create an educational app, this overview is just for you. Want to learn about educational apps, their types, and features? Are you wondering how to make an app for IOS or Android and understand the app development process? Or just exploring how much it costs — we’ll tell you everything about it!

Reading time: 13 minutes

Table of contents

    What are educational apps

    Educational apps help to learn a subject, master a skill, or even organize a learning process for others. They can be just mobile apps, desktop services, online platforms, and more.

    Educational apps are like modern teachers or assistants: they know almost everything and they can work with you day or night. 

    Types of educational apps

    There are two main types of educational apps based on who the user is: educational apps for teachers and apps for learners. 

    While teachers are skilled professionals, learners are of different ages and their knowledge levels can differ. Let’s explore who these various learners are.

    Who uses educational apps to learn:

    • Children. Users of tablets and smartphones are becoming younger and younger. Various apps now cater to teens and even toddlers. For example, the Busy Shapes app designed to help three to seven-year-olds develop logic and reasoning. 
    • Students or applicants. An educational app is useful for exam prep and can also serve as a reference source. Some universities also use online courses as part of the education process. An online platform edX offers over 2.800 courses in different subjects.
    • Anyone interested. There are those who use educational apps just for personal development. Language learning apps like Duolingo are so popular because education can be easy and fun!
    • Specialists. Deepening knowledge, acquiring qualifications or company onboarding are reasons an educational app can attract professionals. For example, we at Purrweb created an onboarding educational platform for a corporate client.
    READ MORE  Thinking ahead: onboarding platform for new employees that will turn into online university

    You may be wondering about actual educational apps for teachers and apps for students. We’re going to give some examples in the next section.

    Educational apps for teachers

    Teachers use educational apps to diversify their classes, make them more interactive and interesting. A snappy test or easily accessible graphic materials makes a world of difference for students’ activity and, engagement motivation. 

    A dedicated educational app can also help teachers organize information, conduct, and structure the lesson, as well as track students’ progress. 


    The flow of the Kahoot app

    Kahoot is an online platform and an app on iOS or Android. It allows teachers or other presenters to create quizzes that students can take on their phones. Kahoot is great for testing students’ understanding of the subject, reaching those staying at home, and even collecting opinions with polls. 

    Google Classroom

    The flow of the Google Classroom app

    Google Classroom is a multifunctional service for video calls, creating courses and assignments, and evaluation. Teachers can also provide various materials like YouTube videos and surveys. Everything is available online in real-time. 


    The flow of the Remind app

    Remind is a dedicated messenger for teachers, tutors, and schools. It connects educators with students and their families via text and calls. Remind users choose their roles (student, teacher, or parent). Communication can have restrictions (students can only message each other, or everyone can only message admins) and even be one-sided with broadcasted announcements. In the US, 80% of schools use Remind for communication. 

    Looking for educational app development services?
    After 300+ completed projects, we can design an app in any niche — from education to IoT. Contact us, and get a free project estimation in 48 hours.
    Contact us

    Educational apps for learners

    Educational apps for learners vary in themes and approaches. They can help to learn a language, distinguish plants, understand anatomy, and much more. 

    Besides the variety of subjects, educational apps for students are easy to use and accessible. The classes are right there on your device, you can learn anywhere, anytime. All of that made educational apps for students as prominent as they are today. 


    A course on telepathic communication with pets on Udemy

    Udemy offers free and paid online courses in design, development, marketing, and online courses. The platform is available for personal and corporate use.


    The flow of the Duolingo app

    Last year, this language learning app was downloaded more than 12 million times in the US only. Duolingo is extremely popular, and for good reasons. Its users can freely practice reading, speaking, writing, and listening comprehension of their chosen language.


    The flow of the Photomath app

    This is an innovative app to study math. Users can scan problems off the paper and see different solving methods explained step by step or run a built-in calculator. Photomath works not only for algebra but for trigonometry and geometry too. 

    Get free project estimation in 48 hours
    startups trusted us since 2014
    months time-to-market
    reviews from happy clients
    Book a meeting

    Deciding on an educational app concept

    How to make an educational app? If you want to create an educational app, start with some questions. What kind of app do you want to create? Who will your audience be?  

    First, decide on an education app concept. The concept of an educational app is like a genre of a book. It dictates the app’s primary function, use cases, and design. The app concept doesn’t have to limit your creativity and ambitions. It’s meant to guide you and streamline the idea.

    Here are 7 common educational apps concepts:

    • Flashcard apps. Old-school learning and memorizing techniques made modern. Some apps offer a set of expertly created flashcards and some allow users to make their own. For example, Chegg Prep has millions of free flashcards and even covers narrow subjects like mitosis in biology.
    • Educational games. Games can teach adults just as well as kids. The education app Elevate makes memory and attention training fun, with lots of different puzzles and speed challenges.
    • Dictionary apps. Made to increase users’ vocabulary, dictionary apps are numerous. Some of them have additional functions like the Merriam-Webster app with games and the word of the day.
    • Language learning apps. Popular casual education apps that help to memorize words, practice writing or speaking, and more. There are language learning apps for one language (Chineasy) and for several languages (Memrise).
    • Special learning apps. These serve one purpose, whether it’s mastering handwriting or coding. Many apps of this type cater to kids, like Otsimo, which helps children with autism to communicate better.
    • Exam preparation apps. Mimicking exam structure, timing, and themes, these apps prepare students for SATs and other tests. For example, BARBRI provides materials and quizzes to train future lawyers for the bar exam.
    • Educational platforms. Apps and services made by schools or universities for their students. These apps can have invite-based access and many functions: video lectures, assignments, profiles with grades, etc. 

    After choosing your educational app concept, the app-making process begins.

    READ MORE  How to Build an MVP App: The Definitive Guide 2023

    How to develop an educational app

    We at Purrweb are experts at building apps and MVPs. Startups trust us with their unique ideas and we make sure they’re executed perfectly. We’ve created iZumator — a platform for online education, and we’re ready to bring your educational app project to life. 

    Imagine you have a language learning app in mind. To reach the widest possible audience in the field, let’s add several languages and cater to people from 12 to 45+. Here’s how Purrweb will build your educational app:

    1. Project evaluation

    We carefully prepare for the app development. We’ll start by examining your project and requirements. We prepare a roadmap to make the process as clear and predictable to you as possible. Our managers also help you prioritize the app’s features to lower the production cost. 

    To make a competitive language learning app, we may need to add:

    • sign up/login function — to save users’ progress;
    • personal profile — to show all language courses the user chose and the learning statistics;
    • course screen — the screen with completed and upcoming lessons for each course;
    • lesson screens — screens with various assignments and mechanics;
    • voice recognition — a crucial feature to have for better user experience;
    • achievements — a ranking of users or personal goals accomplished;
    • in-app shop — depending on the monetization strategy, here you can offer subscriptions or virtual currency.

    2. UI/UX design

    We start by working out the internal logic of the education app and creating a mindmap. Then transfer it to black and white wireframes. When the logic is coordinated, we determine the app’s style, then polish the details and create a UI-kit for fast and convenient mobile development.

    For language learning apps the design is very important. It sets the tone for the user’s experience and helps the education app to stand out. Whether it would be a playful style with lots of illustrations and animation (like in Duolingo or Chineasy) or a simple one with photos and videos (like in Babbel) — is up to you.

    Two educational app screens. One is strict and another one is cartoonish and bright.Serious or playful. The choice is yours.

    3. App development

    Our team includes a project manager that looks after the whole process, a UI/UX designer, 2-3 developers for iOS or Android, and a QA specialist.

    We divide the entire app development process into 2-week sprints. This allows us to see the progress and make changes quickly. We do beta releases on TestFlight and Google Play to test how the app works on real devices.

    For reference, the development of an MVP usually takes us up to 3 months, and we can bring to life a project as complex as a streaming service in 10 months. Educational app development is somewhere in between, depending on the complexity of the project. 

    4. Testing

    Thoroughly testing of an education app is vital for delivering a smooth and safe user experience. Let’s have a closer look at the exact aspects to check before releasing the application.

    Functionality.  An education app is filled with different tools for learning, such as quizzes, lessons, and videos. We make sure each tool works smoothly and as it’s supposed to.

    App security. Comprehensive security testing is crucial to find any weak points that could be exploited by malicious users. This way, we ensure the data is safe and that we follow all the rules about protecting users’ information.

    Data management. Just imagine keeping your streak in Duolingo for over a year and then seeing that your progress is accidentally deleted because of some bugs in the application. Only the best of us are able to get over such a trauma. That’s why we check that an education app stores everything correctly and keeps your progress and information safe. 

    As you may see, testing an education app is a detailed process that ensures users can enjoy learning without any problems. So, we use both manual and automated testing to provide high quality software.

    5. Release and support

    This step is like embarking on a journey. Usually it’s not just about launching an education app once and forgetting about it. It’s a continuous ongoing process.

    Firstly, we launch the application and make it available to users. Before this, we have to get approval from app stores and prepare all the marketing materials (screenshots, description, promoting videos). 

    Once people start using the application, we need to offer support for them. For example, provide FAQs and tutorials to guide them if they have any problems. You should also track their feedback to find and fix any issues quickly.

    As education evolves, we add more subjects and courses to the app. The team updates the app and adds new features on request to keep users interested. Besides, it’s better to regularly check security measures to protect their data and keep their trust.

    Creating and supporting an educational app is an ongoing effort. We focus on helping users, making the application better, and keeping it safe.

    READ MORE  How much does it cost to maintain an app

    How much does it cost to build an educational app

    Various factors come into play when determining the budget for developing an educational application.

    What influences the development costs

    The complexity of features and functionalities within an educational app directly correlates with development expenses. Obviously, apps with interactive lessons, quizzes, progress tracking, multimedia content, and social interaction demand more time and resources for their creation.

    The choice of tech stack and platforms also influences the costs. For example, each platform and device may require unique education app development work, adding to the overall expenses. Still, there’s another way: startupers often opt for a cross-platform education app development to reduce costs, as it’s 30% cheaper than developing a native application.

    A well-crafted, user-friendly interface is a key to success for educational apps. However, the development of intuitive and visually engaging UI/UX design requires a lot of time and resources, contributing to higher costs.

    Approximate prices

    If you want to create an educational app for smartphones and the whole brand design with features that we’ve previously set, at Purrweb the project will approximately cost $96.700. But that’s the case for a language learning app. 

    The serviceEstimated time framePrice
    Project analysis8 hoursFree at Purrweb
    UI/UX design1.5 months$9 000
    Frontend dev4 months$40 000
    Backend dev4 months$25 000
    QAIn parallel $10 400
    Project managementthroughout the entire development$12 300

    Educational apps can be very different. The definitive cost is different for each project. But if you are interested we can always calculate it specifically for you.

    Get free project estimation in 48 hours
    startups trusted us since 2014
    months time-to-market
    reviews from happy clients
    Book a meeting

    What to consider when developing an educational app

    If you want to make an educational app, it’s important to keep up with the trends. Using industry best practices and growing technologies will make your project stand out and attract users.

    Let’s use a language learning app as an example and explore educational apps’ trends and how they can be beneficial. 


    User engagement and retention are the key factors for any app or service. Thanks to game mechanics like levels, competition, or points, users have fun and stay motivated to keep learning. That’s one of the main reasons they keep using the app and coming back for more. When you plan to make an educational app, think about gamification.

    Some of the common gamification techniques are:

    • Badges and rewards. These are visual awards that users can get for achieving a certain goal. They can either be visible to everyone or only in the user’s profile. Customization or character changes are also a kind of reward.
    • Levels. Microlearning can alleviate the pressure of education and break down the path to the end goal into smaller steps. Levels can be part of the story which engages users even more.
    • Leaderboards and scores. A competition element can motivate users to spend more time on the app to boost their points and placement. This feature will work great with social mechanics like adding friends.
    • In-game currency. ‘Gems’ or ‘coins’ support monetization. Users exchange real money for a bulk of in-app currency that they can spend on extra lives or bonuses. Usually the amount of ‘gems’ can’t be divided by items’ costs without a remainder. So users are motivated to buy extra currency to spend it all completely. 

    A language learning app can include all these features. Duolingo, for example, also has a cast of characters and users’ performance charts with ‘streaks’ that users can break if they don’t practice.

    Flexible, personalized learning

    Educational apps attract more and more people with different backgrounds and working hours. So a strict schedule and standard programs won’t work. To cater to more users, educational apps tend to make learning more flexible and personalized. That means an educational app’s content accounts for the user’s age and knowledge level. The speed of learning also isn’t limited as it’s possible to take multiple lessons in one go. So to build an educational app you don’t need to tie each lesson to a particular date: let users decide for themselves.

    That kind of freedom is common for language learning apps as well. For English courses, Busuu allows users to choose the goal of education and the level at which the user currently is. At the end of the onboarding personalization, the app reveals when users will achieve their language goals.

    Screens of a learning appAdjusting the learning process

    Video content

    To develop an educational app with a life-like learning process, video content is the key. Seeing a teacher explaining a concept rather than reading about it is more engaging. With the popularity of short-form video content and TikTok especially, educational apps need to compete for users’ attention even more. If you opt for animation, it can form the project’s identity. For example, Duolingo is known for its friendly owl named Duo.

    For language learning apps, video content can be used to showcase pronunciation or for other tutorials. In the Babbel app, experts even share insights into the culture. For Spanish, the app offers a kitchen tour and a video explanation of food culture.

    Artificial intelligence (AI)

    AI helps to automate app processes and provides instant results. Various technologies can grade students’ work, create personalized assignments and answer questions. 

    Artificial intelligence is widely used in language learning apps. Most common examples are machine translation, speech recognition, and ‘smart’ chatbots. Rosetta Stone, for example, features a speech engine that reviews users’ articulation. 

    A language app correcting user's articulation.

    Immersive learning and virtual reality

    Augmented and virtual reality technologies expand the educational process. They allow students to conduct virtual experiments, explore places and environments that are inaccessible in real life. Walking through ancient ruins and seeing the human skeleton in detail is now possible for everyone. AR and VR are also helpful in distance learning.

    If you plan to develop a language learning app, you can follow the example of Mondly. The app offers a virtual assistant that makes education more interactive. 

    There’s also virtual world language learning. It’s an immersive approach that places students into specially designed 3D worlds. One of the examples is ‘The Secret of Puffin Cove’, which is available as a demo. This is an adventure created to help people learn and practice English.

    A screenshot from an educational pirate-themed game.’Pirating’ the language learning

    Let’s start developing your educational app today!
    We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us for a free project estimate within 48 hours.
    Let's start!

    Monetization strategy for your educational app

    Here are some effective monetization approaches:

    • Freemium model. Offer a free version of your app with basic features and content, while premium features and exclusive content are available through in-app purchases or subscriptions. This allows users to experience the app’s value before committing to payments.
    • Subscription. Provide users with options for monthly or annual subscriptions. Subscribers can access premium content, advanced features, and an ad-free experience.
    • In-app advertising. Incorporate non-intrusive ads or sponsored content within your application. Ensure that ads don’t disrupt the learning experience and offer users the choice to remove ads through a one-time purchase or subscription.

    Remember that the success of your monetization strategy hinges on striking a balance between generating revenue and delivering value to your users. 

    Education app development at Purrweb

    We have sufficient experience with education application development. Once a client came to us with an idea to build an advanced online onboarding system. The head of iZum, a chain of mobile phone stores, requested a high-quality online education platform where people could create courses. That’s how we developed iZumator.

    The education app Izumator

    Here is Izumator — an advanced online onboarding system

    The goal was to build a nice and user-friendly learning platform where any user of the platform can become an assistant and check someone’s homework. So that experienced workers could easily share their knowledge with newcomers.

    Still, there was a challenge. We started with developing an application for our client’s employees. But we had to keep in mind that he would sell the solution to other companies as well. So, the app should be easily scaled up and stay relevant for different businesses. Fortunately, we managed to choose the right tech stack, sort out a complex system of roles in the application, and successfully meet the deadline despite all these challenges.

    As a result, we built the first version of the online education platform for internal use in 6 months. What we created was not just an MVP but a project that can be easily scaled without refactoring. The client and his employees have already tested the service and collected positive feedback.

    READ MORE  Thinking ahead: onboarding platform for new employees that will turn into online university


    It seems like a great idea to invest in educational mobile app development in 2023, and the latest stats prove it. Online education isn’t just a fancy trend that will disappear in a few years. It’s a new form of learning that can bring revenue through the app’s monetization with subscription plans or in-app purchases.

    It’s easy to make a learning app with a team of professionals. You just need to create a business plan, determining your ambitions and available resources. After the project evaluation, the team will take over developing a design concept, the app itself, testing its quality, and maintenance if needed.

    Start with the development of an MVP — it’s an industry-standard practice that helps to test the idea. Both big companies and small startups can benefit from this approach. The realization of your idea is just a click away. Fill the form below, and all of Purrweb’s expertise will be at your service! 

    How useful was this post?

    Rate this article!

    16 ratings, аverage 4.8 out of 5.

    No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

    As you found this post useful...

    Follow us on social media!


    FAQ s

    • How to make an educational app?

      Step 1:Project evaluation Step 2: UI/UX design Step 3:App development Step 4:Testing Step 5:Release and support

    • What makes a good educational app?

      To make your educational app stand out you might consider gamifying it, using video content and AI tech. It’s also advised to make learning process flexible.