Elearning and virtual classroom software development — what we do

by Polina S.

Developed a virtual classroom that competes with SAP, Dell, and Ericsson: Braincert.

It’s been the 1st in the world WebRTC + HTML5 classroom with a whiteboard. The jury compared them and 30 more products at Brandon Hall 2017, and BrainCert won bronze. They came to us as a startup with an idea. Together we led this eLearning platform to USD 10 million revenue per year, according to zoominfo.com.

See a full BrainCert case in our portfolio.

What we develop for e-learning with WebRTC and HTML5

  • Drawing — fast technology socket.io makes it feel like a pen and paper — so rapidly lines follow your mouse or finger. Your handwriting is now recognizable and not ugly.
  • Typing — with font and size editable.
  • Shapes — 2D and 3D: square and cube, triangle and pyramid and cone, circle and sphere, parallelogram, trapeze, line.
  • Color and width adjustment — for drawing, typing, shapes.
  • Dictionary — type a word, get a definition, examples, pictures. Among options to integrate we like Wolfram Alpha best.
  • Math formula editor — makes fractions 2-floor with a horizontal line and gives special symbols.
  • Images — upload and insert on the whiteboard, move, and reshape.
  • YouTube videos — pin on the board.
  • Poll — open and close questions, multiple-choice with 1 or more right answers.
  • Document sharing — we usually do pdf, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint but can add other. Write on top of the doc and use any other whiteboard tool.
  • Several whiteboards per class.

Your whiteboard should be equipped for your case and audience, and so we do: formula editor is not for language learning. The simpler the better, and the more cost-effective. Sometimes typing and drawing are just enough.

We like developing custom whiteboards. Node.js and socket.io power real-time interaction in our products. But to test the concept and save time and money in the short term, we can integrate a 3rd party whiteboard component.

Video chats and webinars on WebRTC

We use WebRTC for video streaming.

1-on-1 and up to 4 people video chats are good p2p, without a media server. You don’t pay for heavy video traffic, as it goes directly from one user’s computer to the other’s.

Webinars and video chats for 5 and more people require a media server. Feasible options are Kurento and Janus. Both are open-source means no license fees. But Kurento has a big community and detailed documentation. So with Kurento, it is easier and quicker, therefore cheaper — and we recommend it.

Lesson recording — class is shot as a video file. Download it on your device.

✉️ Text chat:

  • Raise hand — webinars would be too noisy if everyone could speak. So all but the teacher are muted. Click ‘raise hand’ is a signal for the teacher to unmute.
  • Send files — to the class or directly.
  • Private chat — when you do not want the whole class to read.
  • Access to the whiteboard — could be a mess if all drew at once. So the teacher gives access individually.

Screen sharing — share everything you do or just 1 application, a browser for example. Then when mom’s WhatsApp message pops up — nobody will see 🙂

Learning management systems LMS for courses

Create and edit courses. Add materials: videos, presentations, excels, word, and any format you need. Carry out tests with open and closed questions, marks, and certificates. Track attendance. Collect student feedback on discussion boards and forums.

Payment system

Split payment — % to the platform, the rest to the teacher.

Escrow — student pays before the class, the teacher gets the money after the class if all is fine. Student raises a dispute if there’s a problem, then the admin judges.

Coupons and discounts like 2nd lesson 10% off.

Booking — jump on the lesson right away with the online teacher or book. Show free slots based on other bookings and teacher’s preferences.

API — we can develop the API to sell the virtual classroom to others as an integrative component.

All pics are from real products we completed 🙂 See more in our portfolio. We develop eLearning apps for all the modern devices: web, iOS and Android phones and tablets, desktop, smart TVs, and even virtual reality (VR) headsets.

How much it costs to develop an online education software product

It means no way to tell the price before all functions have been planned. But to give a general impression:

✅ The simplest virtual classroom we did — video chat + whiteboard — took 3 calendar months and USD 24 800. It was not a fully working website with registration and scheduling, but a classroom component to integrate into an existing website.

✅ A simple eLearning website with a virtual classroom takes approximately 6 months and USD 60 000.

✅ Products like BrainCert we develop on an ongoing basis. In 2014 we developed the 1st version for 6 months. It was on Flash and Wowza and didn’t have all the current functions. The 2nd version took 9 months. We rewrote it on new technologies and added functions. It was the 1st in the world WebRTC and HTML5 virtual classroom. Now we work with them on an ongoing basis with a dedicated team. We listen to the user feedback: make the functions even more convenient and add new ones.

Write to us now to discuss and estimate your project. Happy to share the experience we gained for 15 years, come up with ideas for your product, and give advice.