How much, on an average, does it cost to develop e-learning? The answer, of course, is neither easy nor straightforward, the most accurate being the frustrating old stand-by “It depends.” … Argh!!! – this answer is not good enough.
A study reveals $30 of productivity for every dollar invested in online training, predominantly because learners can resume work conveniently and apply their skills immediately.
E-Learning is a vast industry, so why is it that the cost of making ‘some’ feel so furtive? Content development, marketing and target audience research are usually regarded as the most important elements of developing a successful eLearning course. On a granular level, average eLearning development costs (and time) are, of course, a function of the specifics of each project; there’s no “one size fits all” solution with each organization and situation being unique.; what, then, might some major costs look like? – Project management, Requirement analysis, Client and stakeholder liaison, Content capture, Scriptwriting/storyboarding, Graphic/Video/Simulation/Audio production, programming, Quality testing, pilot testing, evaluation etc. Additionally, the average costs of eLearning development programs are also directly related to the sophistication and complexity of the end product – basic, full-featured, and advanced, in terms of the magnitude of effort invested. Clients, however, can help reduce these costs by being enablers of clear guidance on instructional objectives and goals, a well-organized subject matter, samples of questions for learners to answer upon course completion, to name a few.
When organizations contemplate switching its Instructor-led Training (ILT) to eLearning, it makes sense justifying the investment. Here, the cost of existing training programs as well as the opportunity cost for those attending the training, needs to be accounted for. It is imperative to point out that upfront costs may not tell the entire story – ILT training can be more effective for small groups, while eLearning can be duplicated, reused and scaled without additional costs or loss of quality. Sometimes, a recipe of both works best.
So, what really justifies the upfront average cost in eLearning development? It eliminates the costs on instructor’s time, thereby significantly lowering ongoing costs. It also reduces the amount of time learners spend training, eliminates travel costs, provides significantly lower administrative costs and reduces training’s opportunity cost. “It costs money to make money,” – a saying as true for online programs as for any other business endeavor. The solutions to cost related aspects are usually vast and rough at the outset and then become more granular as the project comes into focus. A needs analysis forms the tip of the iceberg, but important needs are often not reflected until the organization has deliberated on the implementation.
When weighing the factors and making decisions about e-learning, it is critical that one has: a clear understanding of your overall education strategy and the role that e-learning can play combined with a concrete understanding of how interactivity options (and/or media) can support countless styles of learning outcomes. With the clarity and perspectives on the factors mentioned above, leading an organization to a prospective investment in the average e-learning development cost keeping desired learning outcomes, available budget and strategic objectives, would essentially mean that it really does “depend” …. but on You!