The eLearning market was valued at around 281 billion in the year 2022 and is anticipated to reach an expected value of $848.1 billion in market size by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 17.53% in the forecast period (2022-2030). The statistics precisely illustrate the current situation of the online learning industry and testifies to the enormous potential this industry has to offer for both entrepreneurs and users such as learners, tutors, etc.
Industry experts are looking forward to the rapidly increasing popularity of eLearning platforms in the coming future and anticipate huge growth. This makes the eLearning industry a lucrative business model for those planning to launch their own platforms. There are numerous online learning platforms that are growing rapidly and serving learners worldwide. However, one name that tops the list and is hugely popular among learners is Coursera.
Coursera is one of the successful online learning platforms, in this article, we share information about Coursera, how it works, and its revenue model. We also share insights on how you can develop your own eLearning platform like Coursera effortlessly.
Coursera was founded by professors of Standford University, Andrew Ng, and Daphne Koller in 2012. Coursera has partnered with 275+ universities and organizations around the world. Enterprises too partner with Coursera to train and upskill their employees. Its vision is to provide affordable, flexible, and job-oriented courses to learners around the world.
The courses offered by Coursera include various subjects ranging from business, engineering, and computer science to social science, medicine, and many more. Coursera offers certifications, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs to its learners.
Launch and early traction (2012-2013): Coursera was launched in 2012 offering free access to learners worldwide, raising an initial investment of $16 million. Nine months after the launch, Coursera earned $1 million in revenue and within a year this revenue reached $4 million.
Expansion and diversification (2014-2017): Coursera continued to grow and diversify its offerings, by including specializations and degrees. In October 2015, Coursera announced giving access of assignments to only those who have paid for certificates, hence, monetizing its content. Meanwhile, Coursera also formed partnerships with businesses to offer corporate training.
Scaling and Monetization (2018-2020): In this stage, Coursera continued to scale its business by attracting more and more learners. In 2018, Coursera’s estimated revenue was around $140 million as compared to $100 million in 2017. Coursera’s valuation reached over $1B after a Series E funding round of $103 million.
Tremendous Growth (2021-present): Coursera has become one of the largest and most successful eLearning platforms. The total revenue of Coursera was $415.3 million in 2021, up from 41% as compared to 263.5 million in the prior year. Currently, Coursera has 113 million users on its platform and offers more than 5000 courses for learners.
After gaining extensive knowledge about Coursera and its growth journey, let’s move forward to understand how Coursera works and earns money.
This platform works by effortlessly connecting students with expert instructors. Let’s see how Coursera works:
Course selection: Learners browse through the list of courses offered by top universities and institutions on the platform. They select the ones that interest them. Additionally, they can read information about the courses, and syllabus, and can check the ratings of their instructors.
Enrollment: For free courses, learners can enroll by clicking on ‘enroll for free’ after which they can sign up with an email address or Facebook account and they can start their learning journey.
However, for paid programs after the selection of the course, learners can enroll by clicking on ‘Apply Now’ to start their application or ‘Request more info’ to know more about the course. Then after paying the respective fees they can access course content.
Learning: After successfully enrolling, learners get access to video courses along with assignments, quizzes, and course content. Learners can complete the courses at their own pace and can engage with instructors and other students through discussion forums.
Certifications: After the completion of the course, learners can receive a certificate of completion. All paid courses offer free certification, however, to earn a certificate for free courses a fee needs to be paid.
Moving forward, let’s see how Coursera earns money.
Coursera makes money in several ways, let’s put the spotlight on all of them.
Commission: Learners buy a paid course and a commission is deducted from instructor’s fee by Coursera.
Coursera Plus: A monthly or yearly subscription is offered by Coursera where learners can get access to 90% of the courses by paying a set amount of fee.
Professional certificates: Learners can get professional certifications by paying a set fee.
Bachelor’s and Master’s degree: Coursera offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs through partnerships with universities and colleges around the globe. The revenue is shared among Coursera and its university partners.
Partnering with Government and Businesses: Coursera offers courses to upskill employees of big companies and government organizations and in return charge a certain fee for the training.
All these revenue streams work together to generate revenue for Coursera.
Here is a comparison of some of the competitors of Coursera:
|eLearning Platform||No of courses||Price Plan||No of learners|
|Coursera||5000+||Free, Paid, Subscription, Degrees, Certifications||113+ million learners|
|FutureLearn||1000+||Free, Premium paid courses||17+ million|
|Udacity||150+||Free courses, Paid nano degree||11.5+ million learners|
|edX||3000+||Free, Paid certificate courses||55+ million|
With the success of platforms like Coursera, a lot of entrepreneurs feel encouraged to launch their eLearning business with similar concepts, features, and functionalities. Coursera was a combination of a brilliant idea supported by a reliable and feature-packed platform. Let’s explore how to create your own eLearning platforms like Coursera and its development cost.
Developing an online platform like Coursera may seem a daunting task, Hence, we have compiled a list of key factors that you must consider in order to build a platform that can help you perform and reap same benefits as Coursera.
There are numerous features that make the core of almost any eLearning platform. Let’s look at the basic features and functionalities which are necessary to build a platform like Coursera.
After choosing the right set of features for your online learning platform, the next important thing to consider is to select the right tech stack for building your platform.
Choosing the right technology stack for your online learning platform can be a complex task, but it’s important to make the right choice in order to provide an optimal learning experience for your users. Here are some key factors you must consider when defining your tech stack:
Security is a significant factor for your online platform and customers. It is very important to build an eLearning platform with the best practices of security and threat mitigation. The platform you will build should be secure and must protect sensitive information such as user data, payment information, etc. Hence, security should be your top priority when choosing a technology stack.
The size and complexity refer to the number of users, courses, and content that you want to offer on your platform. The tech stack you are choosing should handle the complexity of the features so that you can provide a seamless learning experience for your users. Hence, it is important to choose a tech stack that can scale to meet your needs as your platform grows.
While choosing the right tech stack for an online learning platform, speed and performance are important factors to consider. A tech stack offering high speed and performance will provide a better user experience for tutors and learners and will be able to properly manage student data and course material.
It is very crucial to consider the system load requirements while choosing the tech stack for your platform. The system load is the amount of processing power, memory, and storage required to smoothly run the platform. In order to ensure that the chosen technology is able to handle the demands of your platform you must choose a robust tech stack.
Flexibility refers to the ease with which your tech stack can help you modify, adapt, and customize to meet the changing needs of your platform. A flexible tech stack should allow easy integration of new features and tools without disrupting overall operations.
The tech stack is considered scalable when it doesn’t need to be redesigned to sustain effective performance after an increase in the workload of the platform. A reliable tech stack allows you to accommodate more storage and users quickly with scalability. IT experts use various languages and frameworks to ensure the scalability of the platform.
This directly affects how much information is available about the implementation of the tech stack you are choosing. A strong and active community can provide numerous benefits like access to knowledge, quick resolution of technical issues, access to skilled developers, etc. This helps you ensure that you have access to the resources and expertise you need.
It is very crucial that your development team has the technical expertise to handle and use the tech stack. They should have relevant experience in the field and must be able to troubleshoot any issues that arise effectively. Although this won’t be much of a problem if you opt for a ready-made solution for the development of your platform.
Depending on the needs and requirements of your online learning platform you must choose the tech stack that is best suited and provides the necessary features and specifications as per your needs. The latest modern technologies offering trendy features should be considered for the optimum success of your platform.
It is always advised to choose the tech stack where technical support is widely available. You should be able to easily communicate your problems with a reliable team of experts. The team should provide immediate support via emails, calls, live chat, or online forums.
The server costing will depend on the complexity of tech stack you are opting for your online learning platform. You must choose server architecture depending on its scalability, performance, reliability, features, maintenance and costs.
It is very crucial to carefully evaluate the maintenance cost of the tech stack you are considering and choose a technology that offers a good balance of cost and quality. The maintenance cost will entirely depend on the elements in the technology stack. You will get charged depending on the platforms complexity, and overall maintenance performed.
Suggestion: One of the best development technologies available around is PHP, which is best suited for developing a platform like Coursera.
Defining the tech stack wont be enough, further you would need to know about the right hosting and server requirements for your platform.
Choose the right host and server depending on the size, the number of users, the amount of content, and the level of security and reliability you want on your platform. For an online learning platform, a server that offers scalability, security, and reliability would be an ideal choice. A dedicated server can be used depending on the complexity of your platform.
To build a feature-packed online learning platform like Coursera there are two options. One is to build it from scratch or to choose a ready-made software solution. A custom-developed solution needs more time, effort, and investment. You would need a well-experienced team of designers and developers to handle the development process. However, a ready-made solution is hassle-free and takes less time and effort. Yo!Coach Plus is one such ready-made solution that can make this whole process of development easy for you.
This solution offers best-in-class features to streamline the operations of your online learning business. Yo!Coach Plus can effectively build and launch a course-based platform like Coursera. It offers relevant features and technology to seamlessly connect tutors and learners on the platform.
There are no fixed figures one can stick to for the cost of the development of an online learning platform. Below are the estimated average rates for custom development depending on the locations around the world.
North America — $60-250 per hour
United Kingdom — $60-150 per hour
Western Europe — $40-120 per hour
Eastern Europe — $20-100 per hour
India — $10-80 per hour
Whereas, the cost for a readymade solution can start from $2000 which can increase depending upon the customization and functionality you want for your platform.
It is to be noted that these figures are just an approximation. A comprehensive discussion must be done with the development partners to know the actual cost.
In this ever-evolving education industry, establishing an online learning platform is the need of the hour for any entrepreneur. eLearning platforms like Coursera are becoming popular among learners and so is the demand for such platforms. This constantly increasing demand means an amazing opportunity for edupreneurs to enter this industry and establish their online learning business.
Thus, if you have a brilliant startup idea and want to build your own online learning platform like Coursera and need assistance, contact our experts to discuss.
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