What does it cost to develop e-learning?

What does it cost to develop e-learning?

Before reading this, you should read How long does it take to create e-learning?. It will give you an idea whether you're looking for the price of an "E-learning Ferrari" or a more price-conscious version of e-learning.

In the survey mentioned above, "How Long Does it Take to Create Learning?" by Chapman Alliance, there was also a question about the estimated average INTERNAL cost. Here are the figures:

  • Instructor-led/Classroom teaching (ILT): $5934 (33,230 DKK)
  • E-learning – Level 1: $10,054 (56,302 DKK)
  • E-learning – Level 2: $18,583 (104,065 DKK)
  • E-learning – Level 3: $50,371 (282,078 DKK)

(Price in DKK in brackets (exchange rate 5.60))

Since the survey is based on primarily American and internal prices, it may be relevant to try to put it in a Danish context. (Price level and wages are generally lower in the USA).

Let's look at what it could cost, if instead we start with the survey of how much TIME it takes to develop e-learning. If we assume that we want to create an hour of e-learning that is at the high end of Level 1 and the low end of Level 2. That means an hour of "standard e-learning" which takes between 80 and 140 hours to develop. Let's say 120 hours for the sake of example. Now you can multiply that by your or your supplier's hourly rate and you have your price... Simple, right? Unfortunately, it's also too simple, but let's play with the idea:

If your supplier charges 1000 DKK per hour, then it costs 120,000 DKK to create an hour-long e-learning course. If you do half of the work yourself (Analysis and Instructional Design, etc.), then it only costs 60,000 DKK. If you do more, it costs even less. If you do all the work internally at a cost price of 300 DKK/hour, then it costs 36,000 DKK.

As said, it's highly simplified, there are several factors to consider. For example, hourly rates vary depending on the tasks to be performed. Typically, analysis and design will be more expensive than graphic work and image processing. Furthermore, you often get what you pay for. It may be more cost-effective to hire a highly skilled graphic designer for 1250 DKK per hour if he/she is twice as good and twice as fast as someone charging 800 DKK per hour.

Another factor is that suppliers often charge for uncertainty, i.e., if a project is poorly described, the supplier will add a buffer – especially if a fixed price is to be given.

If you are soliciting bids from different developers, you should also set aside time to manage that.

Another factor is that it typically takes more time for project management the more people are involved. Projects can go wrong for various reasons, especially if you have no previous experience or if it's new technology, etc. So, in a worst-case scenario, a project might run up to double the cost or more, and half in the best case. So there's a lot of flexibility in the answer, but we still hope it can be useful.

Would you like to learn more?

If you are interested in reading more about the brain and learning, these articles might interest you.

If you want to know more about digital learning and e-learning, you can start with our Elearning FAQ.

If you're looking for help with e-learning development, or if you'd like to take a course on Elearning, where you learn to create e-learning yourself - we can also help you.

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