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eLearning Blog

What affects the cost of eLearning development

What Affects the Cost of eLearning Development?

Every year, an increasing number of organizations use eLearning to deliver more of their training. As eLearning tools evolve, they continue to offer more functionality at a lower cost, making eLearning an increasingly attractive alternative – or complement – to traditional training methods.

So, how much does eLearning cost? What variables affect eLearning development costs? When we scope eLearning projects, we use three main scoping levers as a guide: the seat time, the level of instructional design required to collect, sequence, and design the material, and the level of interactivity and creative design desired. Other factors can affect cost too, such as custom illustration, professional voice-over talent, and the number of review cycles during the development process.

Here’s how these scoping levers and other factors play out:

Levels of Instructional Design

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How much instructional design is needed from your eLearning development partner? How much of your content is already prepared? Here’s how we estimate instructional design levels.

Very Low

Work performed by your eLearning partner is limited to programming and production, meaning all instructional design has been completed and approved by the client prior to programming. You provide finished and approved storyboards and any related documentation.

Low

Existing course materials, such as classroom training sessions and supporting documentation are available as source material. Minor instructional design modifications are required by the eLearning vendor to transform the content to an eLearning format.

Medium

You provide source material and supporting documentation, but it’s not in a classroom or other teaching format. Your eLearning partner works with designated client contacts, course owners, or subject matter experts to collect any missing content, design the eLearning, and create the storyboard.

High

Your development partner provides comprehensive instructional design. Course content is either non-existent or the eLearning partner must pull from a variety of sources, including interviews with subject matter experts. Course objectives, outlines, designs, and storyboarding are all completed by the vendor.

Levels of Interactivity and Creative Design

How much interaction is desired in your eLearning? How creative and unique do you want the design to be? The levels of interactivity and creative design include Interactivity, User Interface, Graphic Design/Animation, and Audio. Here’s what affects each level: 


 Levels of Interactivity and Creative Design

Level 1

Interactivity

Minimal interactivity: may include knowledge checks or quiz questions.

Interface

Basic navigation controls: minimal elements with custom interfaces. (Most slides are limited to text/image type content.)

Graphic Design/

Animation

Graphic design and production are basic; using primarily client-supplied images or stock photos. Fade-in timeline animation included.

Audio

Includes quality audio voice over.

Level 2

Interactivity

Content includes interactive learning activities such as discovery exercises, drag-and-drop comprehension checks, and simple games or scenarios.

Interface

User interface controls are more sophisticated, including elements such as custom menus, interactive timelines, and tabs.

Graphic Design/

Animation

May include custom graphics and simple animation.

Audio

Includes quality audio voice over.

Level 3

Interactivity

May include in-depth multi-path branching scenarios, game-based content, and simulations.

Interface

Extensively customized, engaging, and varied graphical interfaces such as custom menus and simulations.

Graphic Design/

Animation

Highly customized graphics. May include design of badges, avatars and/or interfaces. Custom video animation—may require multiple programming tools (After Effects).

Audio

Includes studio quality audio voice over.

 

One of the major benefits of this structure is its flexible application. Let’s say you need eLearning on workplace safety for your new employees. You could use a level two interactivity and interface, but level three graphic design and audio. Here’s an example of how we used level two interactivity along with level three graphic design for a healthcare compliance training:

Number and Length of Review Cycles

Every eLearning project will follow a development process or methodology. Our standard development process starts with a content outline and/or storyboard and allows for two drafts for each deliverable, followed by the final version. This process requires that certain elements are finalized at the designated stages of the process. Making changes to these elements later in the process may result in a change of scope and the potential for additional development cost.

For example, if you need a second or third beta version of a deliverable or if a project timeline is abnormally expedited, it’s safe to expect the overall project cost to increase.

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With increasing training costs and decreasing attention spans, the cost of employee training can add up quickly. This why one of your company’s greatest assets is eLearning. Not only does eLearning save you money, but it also boosts employee morale, and a provides an efficient and cost-effective training solution to fit the needs of your growing company. 

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