The answer: learn from the gurus. Listen to those who have done it many times before.
The nice thing about building educational apps is that the financial models for them are different to normal consumer apps. Success is judged by how useful they are, as opposed to the revenue generated by shifting millions of copies. This is shared with in-house enterprise apps, where quite often the employee gets them for free, allowing the developers to focus on making apps as useful as possible, rather than stressing about pay-per-download.
What's the connection with our top tips?
The connection is that Apple have recently released an excellent guide for in house app developers, listing top tips, and advice that - although aimed at iOS developers making in-house apps, are in fact useful to ALL app developers, across ALL platforms.
The guide is divided into the four key stages of app development:
Starting with Planning: make sure you, and your people know what you are building, and all sign up to it.
Then looking at Design: great tips to help you simplify, and prioritise features, as well as interviews from gurus in this area
Next the actual Development: All you need to know to get started. The specifics here are obviously pretty Apple / iOS centric, but the sections on Web Development, and Back Office Integration are great advice whatever your platform
Finally, Deployment: This section is pretty much 100% Apple. Very helpful if you are new to iOS development, but only of of brief interest to other app developers.
Learn from the masters. It is a great overview that we recommend to any aspiring app developers.
If you like to print stuff out, go for the PDF version, otherwise dive in and get exploring on the online accelerator site.