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This is how exactly you can start your own E-learning platform

College education is getting more expensive, making it difficult for people to study in universities of their dreams. For many of them, virtual learning is becoming a perfect way to obtain knowledge and earn a degree. Virtual learning or e-learning gives opportunities for people from all over the world to study based on the disciplines of world-class universities remotely. The global virtual learning market is predicted to grow to a $275 billion value by 2022.

The virtual learning market is getting enlarged with more courses and genres and is becoming one of the most trending businesses in 2020. The best way to establish your virtual learning business is to use the power of e-learning platforms. By starting your own e-learning platforms like Udemy, edX or Udacity, you can grow your online learning business to make better money.

The business model of e-learning platforms

The key to making money with the e-learning business is to create standalone courses or allowing educational institutions or teachers to create courses in your online platform. Before we move to how to create an e-learning platform like Udemy, let’s see how e-learning platforms make money. As the popularity of online education and the number of reputable universities who join the trend increases, many business models are evolving.

Here are some of the popular business models often used by e-learning platforms.

Monthly subscription

In a subscription business model, students get access to your entire online courses and lessons for a monthly recurring fee. You can either offer access to the entire library or for specialized courses alone. For example, Coursera has exclusively introduced a subscription plan for specialization courses.

Students can pick what to learn, when to learn, and build their education. When they cancel the subscription, they lose access to your platform. You can offer a trial period for 7 days or more and once the period is over, the fee will be deducted automatically on the continuation of the course.

Paid certifications

Best online e-learning platforms generate revenue by selling verified course certificates upon course completion. For example, edX collaborated with MIT to issue an online course on Big data where over 3500 students enrolled and they generated over a million dollars in just a month. Most of these courses would cost students an average of $12-$20 when taken online. Whereas, studying in a world-class university can cost them up to $430,000 or more for a 1-year or 2-year course. When offering paid certifications, you can offer it as a free course and charge for certifications alone so that students can pick their choice accordingly.

Commission fee

If you are running an e-learning marketplace, you generate revenue from commissions that you get from educators who put up their courses on your platform. You can also take a share of commissions from learners when they conduct financial transactions on your platform.

Corporate e-learning

The trend of corporate e-learning is popular among big corporations where they use the service of online learning platforms to train their employees. For example, Both Udemy and Coursera offer services for businesses that allow big companies to collaborate with them.

Affiliate partnerships

Yes, e-learning platforms can also generate revenue from affiliate programs. You can take the share of the total transaction made when students purchase the books recommended for a course via the link you place on your platform. However, to make a decent amount of money from affiliate partnerships, your e-learning platform must have a good number of consistent users.

How to create an e-learning marketplace?

Before creating an e-learning platform, you need to consider the different aspects of a profitable business. The basic step is to research the target market before facilitating your e-learning business plan.

Here are some of the best practices that will achieve great success in building your e-learning platform.

Study your target audience

Before developing your e-learning platform, you need to understand your niche and target audience. Ask yourself the following questions to develop a good business plan.

  • The subjects you want to embrace
  • Ways to improve the knowledge and skills offered to learners.
  • What is your target audience interested in?
  • The average age of learners and what content is interesting to this demographic.

Research the competition

Once you know the target audience you are going to target, research your competition and analyze which platforms are already targeting those audiences and see what they offer. By conducting a competition analysis, you can see which e-learning sites are successful and which are not. This will give you some ideas about features and functionalities you need to integrate into your platform to gain a competitive advantage.

Provide an excellent UX

The popularity of an e-learning platform depends greatly on the usability of your e-learning platform and how it looks like. When building an e-learning platform, ensure that the interface elements are designed in a way it is easy to access, have a simple page layout, easy to navigate structure, and contain a soft tone content. It is recommended to apply a minimalist design to your e-learning platform and focus on accessibility, usability, and richness of the content.

Engage good educators

Great educational content is delivered by skilled teachers and educators. To run a successful e-learning business, consider partnering with reputable educators who are passionate about their subjects. This helps in creating a unique brand image for your e-learning platform. Only passionate educators can engage students so that they will tell others about your platforms, serving as a great marketing tool.

Set rates

If you are creating an e-learning platform, you can set the commission rates you will deduct from both educators and students. The commission fee can vary according to the number of participants for a particular course. You can also charge a percentage of the total cost of an online course. Charging an hourly rate is also another great alternative worth implementing.

Build a rating system

Course creators will love it when their efforts are recognized and appreciated. Design a rating system that allows students to rate the courses they attended. This also helps the students to choose their course according to the ratings given to users who have already attended the course.

Follow a multi-lingual approach

If you are planning to grow your platform to a global level, you need to offer your users the ability to switch between languages. Taking a multi-lingual approach will help you grow your business at a bigger level.

Promote your e-learning platform

To grow your e-learning platform successfully, promoting your e-learning space is really important. You need to find effective ways to market your course and platform to make your site known to the public

Building an e-learning platform

When it comes to building your e-learning software, there are different options. The traditional way of developing a learning platform is to develop it from scratch. It is one of the most elaborate and expensive ways as well. It is best suited for launching a large scale e-learning website. However, if you want to take an easier and affordable approach, consider building your e-learning platform with a white label solution.

Development from scratch

Being the traditional way of developing a website, development from scratch takes a lot of time, effort, and money. When developing your platform from scratch, you take complete ownership of the entire project and all the aspects including monetizing your business.  The scalability, flexibility, and personalization of your e-learning platform completely depends on the skill of your development team. The overall cost of developing your e-learning platform depends on a lot of factors, including the size of the development team, and the requirements of your project.

Build your e-learning platform using white label solution

If you are thinking about how to create an e-learning platform flexibly and affordably to grow your e-learning business, there is no other choice better than a white label solution. A white label or a turnkey solution is a ready-made script that helps to upscale your e-learning platform by adding essential tools and payment gateway according to your requirements. A white label solution facilitates building your e-learning platform with your own brand identity. It uses the best technology framework to ensure a seamless and dynamic web experience and performance.

You will get access to the source code so that you can customize it according to your unique business requirements and goals. You can also add new features or remove any feature if you have basic coding knowledge. The cost of a white label solution is negligible compared to the overall cost of development from scratch and you just have to make a one-time payment.


E-learning platforms are complex in operations and require a lot of attention if you want to create one. It is important to understand your niche market well to decide what software solution you can offer to your target market. Best e-learning platforms must not only be easy to use but must also have rich content and proper management systems.

Allow your users to leave feedback to understand where your e-learning platform appeals to them. After completing the course, give your students relevant honors especially to those who have performed exceptionally great. Start small and expand as you grow.


by Shirley C. Stewart

I’m working as leading experts on building and implementing the learning strategies. I have led learning & performance improvement projects form last few years.

Currently marketing consultant at