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Things to know- Building Efficient Educational Mobile Apps

Education is now not limited to classrooms. Smartphones have almost taken over this industry. There is no limit to what Smartphones today are capable of doing. There is a mobile app for almost everything we do in life – shopping, booking tickets, counting calories and the list goes on. Recent statistics reveal that the mobile app revenues amounted to 69.7 Billion US dollars in 2015 and is projected to generate 188.9 Billion USD by 2020.

Educational mobile apps are the third most downloaded applications on mobile phones according to the recent study – 8.5% as of June 2017

Some of the best-selling paid apps in the education category are targeted towards children.

Following this trend, now the teachers have to mirror this rapid increase in the use of technology. Their teaching methods have to incorporate digital devices and methods of learning in their classrooms. Therefore, the growing demand for apps for educational purpose – from a teaching perspective.

Making the right choice:
While there are many educational applications available in the app stores, only a few have the enhanced features to give teachers and students the extra competitive advantage.

As users of the educational apps, students, parents, and teachers have the question- How to find out which one is better? Someone who aspires to develop a successful educational application would ask – What features sell best?

Education is a broad-spectrum term – it includes younger children learning basics, high-school students, to-be graduates, learners who need assistance on select topics, teachers and the list goes on. Also, there are mobile apps that cater to specific subjects – like history, business, music, learning a new language or even cooking. Some apps offer online courses and provide professional coaching and certification. For example- with EdXone can earn a certificate from institutions like MIT and McGill with the help of their smartphone. Another example is Byju’s app which offers any subject from kinder garden to Grade 12.

Hence it is essential to be specific about what is required to be able to point the apt educational mobile application that can best fit one’s needs. As someone developing an educational application, one should be very specific on who the target audience would be and to know what they expect from the mobile app.

Some checkpoints can be useful in this decision-making process.

Attractive presentation (look and feel):
According to an article in the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation, Smart Devices accompanying applications (apps) can create exciting and productive learning environments for learning and instruction in early childhood.

Children tend to pay more attention to attractive things that capture their attention at first glance. Considering that the majority of educational app users would be students/children, it is very important to keep them consistently engaged. If you wish to develop an educational app, this will ensure that the app is downloaded a greater number of times that other competitor apps. Word of mouth works very well with children! And children would like it if their learning material is –

 Not full of lengthy verbose stanzas rather interesting and to-the-point content.
 specific (in terms of depth of content) in catering to the needs of the target audience
 Simple in language and appeals to all learners – considering that all learners do not have similar grasping powers.
 Creative in simplifying those topics which are hard to catch. This can boost sales as the learners are more likely to quote these topics while they refer the mobile apps to their fellow learners.

Interactive learning methods:
It’s a mobile application and not a lecture. Hence to promote the app in the competition, interactive content is essential. The virtual atmosphere should imitate the classroom set-up where the students can ask teachers questions, and teachers respond. Such a set-up could be achieved by providing live tutorials or chat options.

Practice tests and downloadable exam papers:
Students would like to judge their understanding before the examination. Allowing online tests and downloadable mock exam question papers can attract the learners.

Allows personalization and progress tracking:
The educational mobile application should enable the learner to have access to the dashboard of the quizzes and tests that they have taken. This will allow the learner to understand the areas they have done well as well as identify the session that they need to focus on. They should be able to save the selected topics for future quick reference (an option similar to bookmark or favorites).

Robust Database:
From the perspective of developing an educational application, the key to creating a popular educational mobile app has an exhaustive database in place. A well- researched database with current and updated information, statistics, facts, and even exciting videos and quick quizzes would make a difference.

Further, the structure of the database should allow a smooth process of learning with access to all the information that the student or teacher requires on a particular subject.

Speed:
The transition between screens as well as changing the settings to a different subject should be smooth and not take time making the student wait for the screen to load. The transition of any kind should be designed in such a way that the database should not hang even if the internet slow. No matter how robust the backend database and content are, the students tend to lose interest if they have to wait a long time for screens to load each time they click a new button or link.

Conclusion:
A good app developed for the educational purpose should be able to make kids smarter by making learning fun and exciting. Web application for the education industry should be designed in tandem with the education instructors and curriculum developers. Overall, they should be able to enhance the teaching experience of instructors and the learning experience of the students. While it may seem a very tricky job to identify the most suitable educational application, there are lots of useful apps to choose from.

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