A Learning Management System (LMS) has become a staple in building an effective educational journey both offline and online. Introducing an LMS in schools, universities, industrial entities is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity.
In one of our previous articles, we spoke about what LMS stands for and why you would need one for your company. In this article, we'll explore the peculiarities and the true LMS development cost.
When facing the question of adding an LMS in their processes, organizations have two options: either to go with a system available on the market or build their own platform from scratch. Developing a custom solution means hitting all the pain points your company has, but it also comes at a certain price.
Peculiarities of building a custom LMS
Building an LMS from scratch is like baking a multi-layered cake with a few tiers. The exact pricing will depend on every single detail: from the set of desired functions and a visual representation of the platform to the number and seniority of specialists involved or the desired timeframe for the platform launch. Let's review all the tiers one by one.
Learning Management System Development: Key Features
Building an LMS includes developing core functionality, which will be the same for any organization regardless of its specific needs.
A learning management system usually consists of at least two functional parts:
- an administrative panel for all activities related to content and user management, tracking and analyzing learners' performance
- a student's account where users have access to study materials and can perform different tasks.
When developing the LMS, a school or a university might want to add a teacher's account as a separate space for faculty members to work directly with the students enrolled in their classes.
Given its structure, these are the key learning management system features you'd be looking for to implement:
- user and role management: creating/editing users, assigning roles to them
- learning content management: creating and editing lessons and courses, support of different types of content, uploading content
- testing and assessment: test and quizzes, displaying learners' progress, certification
- analytics and reports:notifications: reminders and alerts about upcoming lessons, courses, checked assignments, and tests.
The process of building an LMS
Building a custom LMS is a complex process consisting of several phases carefully curated by the technical team. The process usually consists of:
- a Discovery phase to identify and collect all the requirements for the platform
- a Design phase to create user experience and interface. Design dictates the whole functionality of the system
- a Development phase that includes actual coding, testing, and bug fixing conducted in iterations
- a Post-Development stage of publishing the platform in a production environment where it'll be accessed by users, as well as further system support, maintenance, and improvement.
To cover the development process, it is necessary to engage not just one or two developers, but a whole team of specialists with each of them performing a dedicated set of work along the way. A typical development team includes:
- a business analyst
- a UX/UI architect (designer)
- a project manager
- a back-end developer
- a front-end developer
- a markup developer
- a quality assurance specialist
- a DevOps engineer.
What framework to choose when building an LMS?
Developing the best learning management system requires technologies that are fresh, constantly upgraded by their official vendors, and work well together. Therefore, we would suggest opting for modern frameworks that will ensure flexibility and security for your platform in the years to come.
Building an LMS: additional expenses
Aside from the coding itself and the team involved in the process, developing an LMS brings a number of additional items you need to pay attention to before starting the project. Each of them may influence the final budget of LMS pricing. The additional items include:
- Hosting. Once the development process is completed, an LMS needs to be published on a server where it will be available for users. For this purpose, you will need to purchase a hosting package that will provide server space for your platform to be stored and operate. There are a lot of hosting companies with a variety of options catering to your specific hosting requirements. You can ask your development company for advice, and they will share a few suitable options of service providers
- Integration with third-party services. You need to be ready for additional expenses if you consider connecting your LMS with paid external tools (e.g. Grammarly, Dropbox, Zapier, Amazon services)
- Design. While the design is one of the initial steps in the development process, it is necessary to stress that visual effects, animations, etc. will contribute to the final cost of the platform since implementing such features will require more time and effort from the team.
Building an LMS: time and costs estimation
So now that we know basic LMS features, the team required to create the system, and other details, how much time is actually needed to develop a working platform?
According to the breakdown above, the basic platform development will take around 1000-1500 hours.
To calculate the approximate cost, let's multiply the number of hours by an hourly rate of $35:
So, the cost of an LMS with basic functionality might range between ~$37000-$53000.
How Piogroup can help
As a service provider in the edtech area, PioGroup Software understands the challenges around building an effective learning environment in different organizations. Our team is ready to start a conversation and help you build a system that will cater to your specific needs and have the best LMS features. What you can expect from us:
- a full-cycle development process that includes covering all the phases outlined above
- an in-house team of specialists working in sync to cover each step of the development
- a proven experience in building learning management systems.
Developing an LMS is a challenge. But its equally exciting if there is the right team navigating the process from the very beginning. Contact us if you'd like to start, and let's embark on this journey together!