How to Develop a Distance Learning Platform for Schools?

Distance learning has been widely popular in higher education, and schools aren’t shying away from it either. The pandemic showed everyone how important social distancing could be, and schools adapted with online classrooms, interactive learning, and more. A distance learning platform isn’t just limited to fixed utilities now, and it has found use cases deep into the education system, making everyone a great contender to use it.

With a boom in the eLearning industry, students too want to opt for online learning, and it makes all the sense coming from what all of us experienced in the past few years. Distance learning could easily be deemed as the new way of education, and to a level, similar experiences can be achieved when the features are implemented correctly. If you are planning to develop a distance learning platform, now could be the perfect time to work on it.

  • Distance learning has become an essential part of eLearning since COVID.

Benefits of Distance Learning Platform

Scalability

A distance learning platform won’t have to be limited to 10 or 20 or 100 students; schools could scale it based on their requirements. When you compare it to a classroom full of 100 students where the backbenchers aren’t able to understand a thing, you will start seeing the benefits of the platform. Distance learning can change how we have imagined schools until now and can be scaled to benefit students further and beyond.

Efficiency

On one end of the spectrum, students have to wake up early and reach school within the stipulated time schedule. On the other hand, parents are skeptical of sending their children to institutions due to a myriad of reasons. An online distance learning platform takes both the worries off the table, and parents can keep their peace of mind while students can start learning from the comfort of their homes.

Enhanced UX

Anyone who has been to school would imagine how impossible it would be to create a similar experience online. But given the technology we have right now, it’s going to be similar, but with much better ways to learn. With highly effective and precise tablets and laptops, children would be able to switch from physical learning to virtual learning in no time.

24/7 Access

With distance learning, neither schools nor students need to remain in a given time window to learn. Students can opt for live classes at the given timetable and take the remaining classes anytime during the day. When we build custom distance learning software, everything is based on requirements; if you require 24/7 access, it would be implemented in the platform.

Minimum Prerequisites

Generic tablets, laptops, and phones would be enough to enroll in a program and benefit from it as a whole. The platform would be built for devices you want to cover and want students to use. In simpler words, no state-of-the-art would be required to make the platform work. You can, however, choose to include AR/VR technology for an enhanced learning offering and provide students with the required hardware.

How to Develop Distance Learning Software for Schools?

Step 1: Making a List of Features

Tests and Quizzes

This feature would allow teachers to create, administer and evaluate finished tests. If the teachers wish so, they can be self-corrected, and solutions, comments, and explanations can be shown. It is a must-have for a distance learning solution as it would only be practical to let teachers implement the required tests.

Course Management

Using course management, teachers can control the class progression and course material being delivered in a given time interval. It also lets them track the progress of each student and create a detailed report for each course present. Both evaluation and delivery would be a lot easier with this feature.

Digital library

An assembly of communication technologies and digital storage of information to reproduce, emulate and extend the service provided by conventional bookshops. They can collect information from distributed sources, and the user is allowed to build their own digital library.

Payment Integration

Integrating payment gateways within the software is essential in the case of a distance learning platform. Not only would it provide ease of payment, but streamline the entire process by taking it online.

Enrollment Panel

Enrolling in new courses without physically visiting is ideal in the case of distance learning software. The students would usually expect this feature in your software, and it would also make it easier for you to manage enrollments better.

Assessment

Learning assessment is usually done manually, but you can get it as a feature in your distance learning software. Various automation and tracking can be integrated to ensure a fair and comprehensive assessment of each student and even teachers.

Virtual Classroom

A virtual classroom is an ideal feature in distance learning. You can include smart whiteboards, implement AI using AI development services, and leverage IoT-based devices. The virtual classroom will enhance the entire learning and teaching experience for users.

Step 2: The Development Part

Conditions determining the choice of a specific Platform depend on the characteristics of the educational environment in which it will be used. For some, the web may work, some might require software, and some might require mobile apps. Platform-based features need to be developed in accordance with platform requirements and need to work according to the expectations for which they are chosen.

The major decisions you would be making include:

The Platform for Software Development

Choosing the development platform will depend on many aspects, including the number of users, types of said users and their needs, types of courses to be given and their objectives, content to be taught, and methodology to be used (more or less interactive) and type of evaluation to be used. If you plan to develop via DevOps, you can avail DevOps consulting services in the process.

Python, Java, and C++ are on top of the charts when it comes to popular software and web development technologies, While Kotlin, Swift, and Flutter remain the top technologies for building mobile apps. To ease the burden of making a choice, you can contact one of our project consultants, and they will guide you about the best-suited platforms and technologies based on your custom project requirements.

Choosing Team Members for Your Distance Learning Platform Development

Depending on the platforms you plan to target, you will need to hire engineers for each of the chosen technology for each platform, along with graphic designers and front-end experts for a successful distance learning platform development. The number of developers you need to hire will vary based on different factors. A project manager will help you with a requirement for who you need to hire and how long they need to work on the project. The key members you would need:

  • Project Manager

You can develop your distance learning platform based on core languages like Python, PHP, Java, C, JS, HTML, and CSS for software and web, along with Flutter, Kotlin, and Swift for mobile apps. Based on your specific choices, further selection will be made with what works best with your choice of technology. There will be databases, project management tools, analytics tools, etc., to choose from. If you hire a distance learning platform development company, they will choose the latter based on past experience.

Software Development Tools

  • Linx

Web Development

  • Java

Mobile App Development

  • Swift

Data analytics tools

  • Python

Utilities

  • Elastic Search

DevOps

  • Chef

Databases

  • Aerospike

Step 3: Who to Hire?

Setting up Your Own Team

As a school owner, hiring a team of expert developers might be too far-fetched. Most developers usually prefer bespoke development studios, and you might have a hard time finding any without spending too much money. If you plan to sell the software after, hiring your team might still be beneficial, given you have the resources to keep the company afloat until your distance learning platform takes off. Another great option would be staff augmentation services, where you can build a hybrid team for a relatively low cost.

Hire Freelance Developers

Based on the platforms you choose, there might be quite a few different technology developers you need to hire. Freelancers are best for building separate components rather than taking responsibility for the entire project, and if you have someone to manage all this, it can be a great choice. But if you are willing to outsource, why not hire the absolute professionals to do it?

Hire a Bespoke Development Company

An eLearning development company would help you with the platforms of your choice and as many developers as you need. It is their profession to build complex solutions for their clients, and a distance learning platform can be very complex based on the features you choose. If you plan to offer your students/clients the best, why not seek the best to build the perfect distance learning solution.

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Apoorv Gehlot

Founder & Board Member at Matellio — Technology enthusiast with enterprise solution design & development expertise