Pushing the E-Learning Envelope: Essential Features of Educational Apps

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What a lot of things we use our smartphone for! It wakes us up in the morning serving as an alarm clock, it updates us on the latest events through the newsfeed on our social media page acting as a newspaper or TV, it plays us our favorite songs while we are dressing as a radio does, it reminds us to pick up our clothes from the dry cleaner's replacing a sticker on the fridge. And all of these happen just for an hour or so before we leave for the office or university. During the day, apps living inside this indispensable assistant help us with work, entertainment, and household chores.

With the importance of this gadget for various aspects of our life growing, it is natural that astute entrepreneurs and app developers have eventually come up with an idea to use its benefits to help students with learning. Investing in educational app development is a remarkably wise step that is sure to bring considerable revenues in the conditions of the global pandemic. When face-to-face communication with tutors has been suspended indefinitely, it is vital for students isolated in their lodgings to keep the pot of remote education boiling. And a mobile app is an excellent tool to continue learning in a fun and innovative way.

A remote learning app is an umbrella term that subsumes a wide range of software used for various educational purposes – starting with studying foreign languages through exam preparation to teaching specific subjects. It doesn’t matter whether it is designed for kids or adults, contains quizzes or games, or even involves augmented reality technology. The main thing about the app is to make its customer learn. Mobile app features are ultimately what makes educational applications successful, providing students with a challenging but comfortable user experience that motivates them to move on down the road to the land of knowledge.

The Best Educational Apps for Android and iOS in 2020

Principal Features of Mobile Apps for Education

There is a whole list of must-have features any mobile app is supposed to possess, starting with an easy login procedure and intuitive user interface down to screen size adaptability (for PWAs). But the essential features of a good app for education are quite peculiar.

Interactive and Video-Based Content

This is the staple of any app, be it educational or otherwise. The content should be easy to comprehend, visually captivating, and engaging. Fill it with some informative videos, uncomplicated stats, funny facts, and eye-catching graphics and the app will attract users in large quantities. The main rule here is to make sure the content is created and structured with a certain target audience in view, taking into account their age and psychological characteristics. 

Live Streaming Mode

Being unable to bring teachers and students together in one place, the app can still provide real-time interaction to make it feel like it is a classroom, after all. The smartphone camera gives an opportunity to do that, so the app must integrate its usage. 

Session Recording

This way of creating a bank of video-based content is called to encourage students who can participate not only in live tutorials and interactive sessions, but re-watched recordings anytime they please. It is especially useful if someone missed a session or has a mind to revise the material for an oncoming exam or test.

Screen Sharing

When a teacher can show others what is on his/her desktop screen, it enhances collaboration and ensures all students are on the same page.

File Sharing

Teaching isn’t only online communication, but also showing images, sending tasks, and exemplifying tenets with multimedia content, to say nothing of schedules, lectures, and other data. It is crucial that tutors could make such files immediately available to students who can download them and upload the completed tasks in return.

In-Lessons Chat and Chat Admins

It is one of the pivotal interaction features of educational app that lets teachers get immediate feedback from students and react to their responses. Moreover, students can communicate in the chat with each other, so the impression that they are sitting side by side in one place is absolute. 

The chat admins feature allows tutors to have private chat conversations with students as well as to assign a special project to each student and get their individual reports, thus creating multiple interaction channels. 

Non-Verbal Feedback

It is important for teachers to notice the reaction of their audience without interrupting the speaker (that is themselves or other students). If e-learning app features include non-verbal signals (like hand-raising), the tutor will be able to spot students' feedback quietly and come up with a response without stopping the flow of the lesson.

Adding Participants to a Lesson in Progress

Sometimes students may be late for a remote class but still willing to participate. A good educational app must enable adding them to the session without making others wait and having to remember where they have left off to resume the discussion or lecture. 

Polling

This is an excellent way to inquire about students' opinions and encourage their active participation during a remote class. Moreover, they will be able to see the general attitude of the audience, which fosters the team spirit within the group. 

Breakout Rooms

The virtual audience may be quite sizable, so it makes sense to split it into several groups to promote the active participation of each learner in discussing some issue. All the while this discussion proceeds, the teacher can monitor it and vary their approach depending on each group’s progress.

Social Media Integration

In a time, when everybody lives a parallel virtual life in social networks, ignoring this fact is a serious shortcoming of an educational app. The ability to share educational content across various social media platforms will win the app a greater audience and add flexibility to your rapport channels with students.

Push Notifications

It is an unobtrusive method of keeping students updated on the latest news, such as class rescheduling or cancellation, uploading new content, upcoming special events. All this important information can be sent automatically to the participants once you have set this function into action.

PWA Push Notification Guidelines

Regular Practice and Mock Tests

Can you imagine a regular school or university course that doesn’t terminate in a test of some kind? Hardly. Tests help students to fathom their proficiency in the subject and recognize problem zones and gaps in their knowledge. The same practice must be kept in an educational app which should offer some mock tests and quizzes so that the teacher could modify them according to their own vision of the subject learning and let students download, go through, and upload them back again for the tutor to check. This section can also contain video tips from teachers on how to go about the test. 

Progress Tracking

This is another feature that allows students to gauge how effective their learning process is. But it shouldn’t be just raw data on how good (or bad) they are. The tracking tool is primarily to serve as a motivation, highlighting problem zones, and offering ways to make up for the aspects that aren’t the student’s forte so far.

Offline Mode Availability

Trying to involve the as wide audience as possible, you should always bear in mind potential problems with internet coverage that users from some remote locations may experience. To keep such people among your students, the apps that work offline is what the doctor ordered. They should provide an opportunity to download modules that students can work on when the internet is down and join the general group whenever the connection allows.

As you see, you must take into account a lot of details while creating an educational app. The experienced team of Multi-Programming Solutions is ready to assist you in this rather challenging task and deliver a top-notch product that will let you stand out among your rivals and provide high-quality educational services to a broad audience of eager learners.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

Conclusion

In times, when the COVID-19 epidemic necessitates keeping people at a distance from each other rendering the learning process problematic, digital technologies can bring them together virtually and step into the educational breach. By paying close attention to the structure and content of your e-learning app, you will be able to offer users an efficient and innovative tool for drawing upon a huge pool of human experience and knowledge. 

E-LearningOctober 29, 2020
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