8 minute read

With the help of mobile apps, education is now readily accessible for students of all ages. From toddlers to busy parents and college students, everyone has the opportunity to expand their skillset. The online education sector is booming, and experts predict that the education app market will grow to $46.88 billion by 2024.

Many schools consider online learning options essential to the modern student. However, the realm of educational mobile apps isn't limited to full-time students — children often use educational apps before they can even read, and professionals use apps to enhance their education later in life. At every stage of learning, apps provide a powerful tool that connects students more profoundly with their educators and course subjects.

How Do Educational Apps Benefit Students and Educators?

Education would be nothing without innovation, so it's only natural for educators to embrace technology and leverage it to improve the quality of their learning materials. Most students currently enrolled come from a generation that is comfortable using a mobile device whenever it's convenient, so why not incorporate this technology into their educational experience? Educational apps empower students to access information and study at any time, in any place. 

Although educational apps had already been edging their way into mainstream acceptance over the past decade, e-learning has become outright inescapable in the wake of COVID-19. In the first month of the pandemic, online course provider Coursera had 10.3 million new enrollments, which is a 644% increase in comparison to the same period in the year prior. Online learning is continuing this upward trend, with more students enrolling in online courses than ever before.

As class sizes balloon, it can be difficult for teachers to instruct each student personally, but educational apps offer a solution to create highly personalized learning environments. When there are mobile apps in support of each subject, students and educators can bridge any communication gaps that occur in the classroom. Students have the option to use mobile apps to help them brush up on recent materials, prepare for exams, or receive in-depth information on a topic they don't understand. Furthermore, educators have the ability to supplement their learning materials with mobile apps for a more engaging experience.

How to Build an Effective Educational App

For students and educators alike, the appeal of learning apps is undeniable, and developers are eager to answer that need with new app content. Especially since the onset of the pandemic, the edtech industry has been expanding rapidly, so now is the perfect time to launch an educational app. But users are now accustomed to a high standard of app performance, so you'll need to use techniques that cultivate a top-tier academic experience and foster an educational app that is both intuitive and fun to use. To get started, here are strategies that you can use to create a more effective educational app.

1. Keep It Simple

When it comes to educational websites, users often prefer developers and designers to fill the website with as many features as possible to create an immersive, interactive experience. Educational apps differ in this regard. Mobile devices have a small screen, so incorporating too many features will confuse and overwhelm users. To mitigate this issue, only a few essential components should be readily available at once, simplifying the interface design.

Of course, it's okay to work with color, but designers must use it effectively so as not to distract from the app's purpose. Shades of blue, green, and yellow are often associated with education, so it may be wise to incorporate these colors within your mobile app. If these colors don’t suit your brand, a traditional black and white user interface can be the ideal option if your audience is composed of professionals or people pursuing an advanced degree.

2. Accommodate Microlearning

Particularly for working students, traditional education doesn't translate very well to our modern lives. Although there are more options to learn online than ever before, many of these educational approaches are still centered around traditional teaching methods like set class periods and long projects. However, many online students have jobs or children that prevent them from sitting down at a specific time and place to study.

Due to this, people are most likely to use an educational app to catch up on their studies while they're out and about, perhaps on a lunch break or stuck in traffic. Users are also much less likely to spend hours studying on a mobile app than they would on a website, so your app should be targeted accordingly.

The Journal of Applied Psychology states that microlearning is 17% more efficient than learning in a traditional classroom setting because people retain information better when working in short bursts. Mobile apps allow students to learn more efficiently at their most convenient time and place. To accommodate the need for microlearning, keep each section of learning materials as short as possible, with options to go more in-depth only if and when users have the time. If your educational app is game-focused, ensure that each level can be completed quickly.

3. Design for Educators

As people grow accustomed to online education and self-study, modern educators must adjust to changes in the educational landscape. This provides an opportunity to cater your app not just to students but to teachers as well.

Schools and universities typically use traditional learning tools such as textbooks and whiteboards, so why not incorporate features that they're accustomed to using? With the right design techniques, your educational app will empower teachers to digitize their current practices rather than completely abandon them.

Educators will also find it easier to work with your mobile app if it has an accessible user interface that can integrate with various lesson plans. Remember, the design of your app doesn’t need to be distracting or attention-grabbing — more than anything, technology in education should enhance the teaching experience and allow educators to focus on their students.

4. Understand Your User Demographics

Educational apps often seek to attract people from a wide range of ages. Consider how your audience will respond to specific colors and graphics before committing to a design. Are you designing an app for toddlers or older people? If you're appealing to a younger audience, they may prefer bright colors, imaginative animation, and sound. However, adults could find these design tactics juvenile or distracting. In this instance, your app may benefit from a sleek, minimalist design.

Ultimately, every mobile app's design should focus on the ways that the app will serve the user while emphasizing the features that allow them to reach their objectives. Once you have determined the demographics of your target audience, you can tailor your app to their liking. For instance, you can develop user personas and research other apps successful with that audience to identify strategies worth leveraging in your own design process.

5. Gamify the Educational Experience

Students are often plagued with boredom in the classroom, but educators can make learning a more engaging experience with the help of a well-designed app. To create a novel learning experience, mobile app designers can use gamification techniques to make any learning experience fun.

For users to remain engaged, they need to feel rewarded for their time using the app. Many mobile app developers use challenges, scoreboards, and points systems to give students a sense of accomplishment as they navigate through each level. Some apps also use in-game currency in the form of tokens to unlock rewards when users advance to the next level.

6. Create an Intuitive User Experience

When designing an educational app, it’s of the utmost importance that users can easily understand and navigate through the app. Try to see things from the perspective of brand new users by incorporating simple instructions about how the app functions. From the moment users open your app, they should understand each feature and its relative importance. To ensure that users don't feel confused by the depth of educational content available, use navigational elements and divide learning materials into clear-cut sections.

Although you should strive to create the most engaging experience possible, avoid distracting users from their learning objectives by focusing on educational content and key features. Experienced mobile app developers and designers can help you keep the experience consistent and streamlined throughout the app. Stick to UI/UX design principles that students and educators are accustomed to seeing so that they can flow seamlessly from their in-class studies to learning with your app anywhere, anytime.

Want to Create an Educational App? We Can Help

Learning is a continuous process that extends far beyond the bounds of traditional education. People of all age groups are eager to learn on the go, and with the help of an engaging app, even the dullest subjects can come to life. 

Ready to contribute your own educational app to the mix? CodigoDelSur can support you along the way. Since 2007, CodigoDelSur has helped nearly 200 US-based startups design and develop a wide range of mobile apps and websites. Our team of web developers leverages their technical expertise and knowledge of usability, engagement, and growth hacking to scale your app exponentially.

Through the consistent creation of stunning, functional websites and mobile applications, CodigoDelSur is rising to the forefront of our industry. We’re always ready to apply the latest developments in new, exciting technologies and designs to create valuable user experiences that will keep both students and educators coming back for more.

With the right balance of creativity and technique, you can craft an edtech app that keeps users hooked on learning. Just contact our team today to find out how CodigoDelSur can revolutionize your educational app’s digital experience!