That Common Question

This question I get asked time and time again. It is the most common question but also one of the most difficult to answer. At least, for customized training. Off the-shelf products have a fixed price and typically are less expensive, but you also lose the ability to tailor the training to your unique company. To answer this question for customized eLearning you must first understand what factors determine eLearning development costs. Factors used in determining an accurate price are:

  • Course size
  • Interactivity level
  • Tracking requirements
  • Multimedia

Course Size
Course size is a fairly straight-forward concept. The larger the course, the higher the cost. How you determine the course size can vary. You can either identify the length in minutes or by the number of screens. A 60-minute course typically costs more than a 15-minute course with all other factors being equal. A 45-screen course typically costs more than a 25-screen course.

Interactivity Level
The associated development costs typically increase as the levels of interactivity increase. A Level III interactivity course typically costs more than a Level I interactivity course. Answering straightforward multiple-choice questions is much simpler to develop than a sophisticated scenario-based application simulation.

Tracking Requirements
The more data you want tracked in the LMS, the higher the developments costs. The most common data tracked are pre-test and post-test scores, status/progress (Not Started, In Progress, Completed), and completion date. However, tracking the specific answers to questions, how long the learner was in the course, etc. will increase costs due to the programming logic and extensive testing required.

Development costs typically increase when incorporating multimedia elements such as audio and video. If no current audio and video assets exist, these must be produced. Renting a studio, hiring voice talent, and mixing the tracks can be an expensive endeavor. Especially if I do not have these resources available internally.

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