How to Create a Website like Udemy or Coursera?

COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of the e-Learning industry which is anticipated to clock a market value of $840.11 billion by 2030 from $197.00 billion in 2020. The industry’s key players like Udemy and Coursera play a significant part in the rise of the industry.

Thus, it’s no wonder to see why budding entrepreneurs find Udemy a great inspiration to build their own e-learning websites.

So, if you’re interested in learning how to create a website like Udemy, keep reading.

In this post, we’ll dig deeper into things you should know to build a successful online learning platform like Udemy. But before getting to that, let’s first have a look at the LMS and e-Learning market in 2021.

Some Key LMS & e-Learning Stats to Watch Out

  • ⦁ As Per Brandon-Hall Study, learning via e-Learning typically requires 40%-60% less employee time compared to traditional learning


  • ⦁ 81% of US college students stated that digital learning technology was assisting them to enhance their grades.
  • ⦁ Udemy is trusted by 80% of Fortune 100 companies for employee upskilling and it includes industry leaders such as Apple, Accenture, Samsung.

elearning stats

Seeing the huge demand for e-Learning around the globe, if you’re thinking of building an eLearning website like Udemy or Coursera, you’re on the right track to building a lucrative business.

But building a successful online learning platform like Udemy requires a thorough market analysis to identify your target audience, picking the right business & revenue model and development approach.

Later in this post, we’ll get into more details. But did you know how e-learning started? Let’s first have a look at the interesting history of e-learning.

History and Evolution of e-Learning

In 1999, the term “e-Learning” was first introduced by Elliott Masie in the professional context during the TechLearn conference at Disneyworld. At the same time, other terms like “virtual learning” and “online learning” also started to emerge and they mean the same thing.

However, the history of e-learning can be dated back to 1924, when Sidney Pressey (Ohio State University professor) built the very first teaching machine known as the Automatic Teacher. Resembling a typewriter, the machine was designed to answer multiple-choice questions. Unfortunately, the machine did not get to taste success.

In 1954, another teaching machine known as GLIDER was introduced by Harvard Professor BF Skinner. It was used to teach students instead of testing them.

In 1960, the world witnessed the first computer-based education system known as PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations). It was built by Professor Don Bitzer from the University of Illinois. This tool became a backbone in modern multi-user computing and inspired e-learning systems such as Blackboard.

With the launch of the computer and interest in the late 20th century, e-learning systems expanded. In the early 1990s, many schools were built to deliver online courses.

Learning management systems (LMS) started to gain immense popularity worldwide at the end of the 90s. Certain universities built their own systems but most of them relied on already existing systems on the market.

In the 2000s, companies started leveraging e-learning for employee training. During this period, the world also witnessed many new terms such as “gamification”, “social learning”, “mobile learning”.

In 2010, Udemy – one of the most popular e-learning platforms worldwide was launched by a trio of Turkish professionals.

The traditional classroom-based setup faced a major transition stimulated by COVID-19. Schools and parents were forced to rely on e-Learning to not compromise students’ education during the quarantine period.

Considering the history and evolution of e-learning, one thing is for sure it’s right now on a track of exponential growth and will only continue to fast-track with time. At the same time, what it means for entrepreneurs is that it is the most ideal time to invest in e-learning website development.

So, let’s now get familiar with a step-by-step guide to building an e-learning website like Udemy.

How To Create a website Like Udemy or Coursera?

Here are the key steps you need to follow to create a website like Udemy or Coursera.

1. Conducting a Market Analysis

Without a solid understanding of who your target customers are, you’ll struggle to create an online learning platform that meets their precise needs. That’s why a market analysis is the first and foremost thing to do as it will help you better understand your audience.

A thorough market analysis involves the following three key aspects:

  • e-Learning industry overview: The current state of an online learning industry in 2022 and beyond (that you’ve seen it’s thriving now and, in the future, also – from above key statistics related to online LMS/e-Learning)
  • Target audience: The demographics of your target e-Learners such as their age, gender, education and the learning style of your e-Learners.
  • Competition: What other similar LMS or e-Learning websites are out there – check out their offerings, targeted audiences, identify their strengths and weaknesses (SWOT analysis)

2. Choosing a Business Model

The next important step is choosing the right business model for your e-Learning business. Here we’re going to talk about the two most profitable e-Learning business models.

  • Night School Model (Used by Udemy and Coursera)

In this business model followed by popular e-Learning websites like Udemy and Coursera, learners pay a one-time fee to access a particular course.

  • ⦁ Academy Model

In this business model that’s subscription-based like SkillShare, your LMS website functions as a virtual school. So, this e-Learning model empowers your target learners to access an extensive catalogue of learning materials rather than just a specific topic or course.

Just keep in mind that you can combine different business and revenue models within your LMS website to make money.

For example, Udemy combines various models such as the commission-based model, SaaS (Software as a Service) business model, B2B (Business-to-business) model and marketplace business model.

Also Read: An In-depth Guide on Udemy Business and Revenue Model

3. Key Features to Incorporate

To a certain level, each e-learning platform differs in terms of features and functionality. But there are always some must-have features that should be included within your e-Learning platform.

  • ⦁ Easy sign-up process for users
  • ⦁ Profile management
  • ⦁ Filters based on various criteria such as language, topic, categories, price and more
  • ⦁ Course description
  • ⦁ Admin panel
  • ⦁ Dashboard that provides analytical data
  • ⦁ Course creation for instructors
  • ⦁ Multiple payment methods
  • ⦁ Workspace to share and download files related to the course
  • ⦁ Video and text chat
  • ⦁ Feedback and rating systems
  • ⦁ Responsive website for smartphone users
  • ⦁ Blog to help users stay updated on new trends in the e-Learning industry
  • ⦁ Customer support

Besides these essential features, you can incorporate advanced features such as gamification, VR & IoT and live streaming to enhance the online learning experience.

4. Discovery & Business Analysis 

At this phase, you collaborate with the selected software vendor to come up with an action plan. Your vendor should conduct a discovery workshop to help you have a clear clarity on the technical requirements of the project, user journey mapping, target audience, time estimation, detailed budget, further cooperation and much more.

In short, the primary purpose of the discovery stage is to define a step-by-step roadmap to turn your vision into a product ready for launch.

5. UI/UX Design

The design of your e-learning platform should be focused on simplicity to make the learning process for the targeted users intuitive and enjoyable.

As people rely on smartphones more than desktops nowadays, it’s also imperative to make your e-learning platform fully responsive to work on all devices.

With 88% of online consumers saying they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience and 75% of people making a judgement on a website’s credibility based on its aesthetics, working with a specialized UI/UX design agency is now more important than ever.

6. Picking a Tech Stack to Create a Website Like Udemy

Last but not least is choosing the right technology stack for your website. There are many programming languages, frameworks, tools and plugins available for both front-end and back-end parts of your website.

Let’s have a look at what front-end and back-end technologies Udemy is built on.

6.1. Front-end 

For building the user-facing part of the website, front-end technologies used by Udemy include HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and AngularJS.

6.2. Back-end 

For the back-end part of the website, Udemy commenced with PHP as the primary server-side programming language with a custom MVC framework. With the introduction and rising popularity of Python, Udemy moved to Python.

When it comes to choosing band-end frameworks for building e-Learning portals, the Laravel framework is also an alternative option. In fact, Alison and MyRank are e-Learning websites built using Laravel.

6.3. Third-party Integrations 

Well, third-party tools and integrations are a must to deliver the best experience to your users. When it comes to Udemy, the company used many external tools including but not limited to Slack, Dropbox, Salesforce Sales, Trello and more.

6.4. Mobile Apps 

Udemy also has mobile apps for both Android and iOS. So, if you’re planning to build mobile applications as well along with a website, there are many app development programming languages to choose from.

For example, you can pick Java and Kotlin for Android and Swift for iOS. There are also cross-platform frameworks such as Flutter you can use to build mobile apps for both Android and iOS using a single codebase.

As a result, you don’t have to deploy separate teams for Android and iOS app development. This will reduce the overall app development costs to a great extent – you just have to bear the cost to hire a Flutter developer.

7. Selecting Your e-Learning Development Approach

Have a look below at common development approaches for e-learning websites to choose from.

Custom Software Development

A custom e-Learning website from scratch takes a great deal of time and money to get the end outcome exactly as you’ve envisioned. Thus, if you have a big budget and want an entirely unique setup, you can outsource end-to-end product development to a trusted IT company.

WordPress-Based e-Learning Website

If you’re on a budget and want to launch your website within a few days into the market, you can then hire WordPress developers who will help you create an online learning website using WordPress.

There are many free as well as paid WordPress plugins available to build an online learning website like Udemy.

You can work with WordPress developers to select the ideal plugin for your website like Udemy and then further customize it to meet the needs of your target audiences.

Build a Dedicated Remote Development Team

With a dedicated team model, you get to work with a team of remote tech specialists hand-picked as per the requirements of your e-learning project and they will work full-time on your project.

Your dedicated software development team can include front-end developers, back-end developers, UI/UX designers, quality assurance engineers, project managers, business analysts and others.

The outsourcing vendor manages the administrative aspect of the team; which includes onboarding, infrastructure, payroll, compliance and offboarding support. This enables you to fully focus on high-level tasks and core business.

Also Read: Guide to Build Offshore Development Teams

How Much Does It Cost to Create an e-Learning Website Like Udemy? 

Well, giving a precise estimate is not possible as several factors influence the overall development cost of creating an online learning website.

Whether you decide to build in-house or outsource to a remote development team, it can significantly affect the development cost. Building an in-house development team means paying developers as per local market standards, training costs and infrastructure costs. On the other hand, hiring remote developers is a cost-effective option.

With remote developers, you don’t have to bear training and infrastructure costs. The provider will deploy a trained remote development team to build your e-Learning website.

Hiring developers from the country with low labor rates can help you further reduce the overall development cost of your e-Learning website like Udemy.

If you’re interested in building a WordPress-based eLearning platform for your business, then you can hire WordPress developers from India on an hourly basis – $18-$40 per hour.

Also Read: Should You Hire an In-House Developer or Outsource?

How Can InfoStride Help You? 

Since its inception, InfoStride has been at the forefront of providing startups and mature companies with end-to-end product development expertise to build growth-oriented websites and apps.

We have various cooperation models to choose from.

You can outsource complete product development and we’ll manage everything from initial project analysis to deployment and the product launch.

Or you can hire dedicated remote developers or a full-scale remote development team from us to build your e-learning website.

When you hire developers for your eLearning website development needs from InfoStride, we take care of all concerns that arise with hiring remote developers – from onboarding to payroll & compliance.

No matter what your eLearning web development requirements are, we’ll deploy dedicated remote developers who will:

⦁ Adhere to agile development practices and MVP approach for on-time project delivery

⦁ Communicate with you on a daily basis to keep you updated on the progress of your project

⦁ Work according to your timezone

⦁ Equip with the necessary tools to work on your projects securely

If you would like to set up a development team for your project or outsource complete product development, feel free to contact us.


With more leading companies and universities investing in e-Learning, creating a website like Udemy can be a profit-making business idea to start this year.

But to stand out from other leading e-Learning marketplaces, it’s a must to work with the right development partner who can help you build your website better than other existing e-Learning portals to succeed in today’s highly competitive landscape.

Few Handpicked articles for you

About Author

Akash Singh

Akash is a senior digital marketer and has an acumen for business branding and marketing. He can tell you exactly what type of marketing strategies can get you in front of customers, right from inception to implementation.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Let’s talk about how digital can work for your business. We can work together to solve it.