So you have decided that you want to get some elearning developed. You look online and find 3 elearning developers and send out for 3 quotes. And then you get 3 wildly different prices back or a heap of questions that you don’t understand. What’s going on?
The cost of elearning development varies based on the amount of work required to develop. A 2017 study by the Association for Talent Development estimated the number of hours required to develop one hour of elearning was between 42 and 143 hours. There are a number of factors that influence this. The main factors that you should be aware of are addressed below.
MATERIALS THAT YOU PROVIDE
The amount of content and detail that you provide will have a major impact on the cost of the project. Are you providing a powerpoint presentation with presenters notes or have you just told the developer that you want a 20 minute elearning course developed on risk assessment principles? Always make sure that the developer understands what you are able to provide and, if possible, send them the material so that they can provide you with a more accurate estimate.
THE LEVEL OF ELEARNING REQUIRED
Do you just require a simple course where the learner navigates from the beginning to the end and perhaps answers a couple of questions or do you want something more complex where the learner has multiple options and each option takes them on a different path? Or perhaps something in between with a moderate level of interaction? The level of elearning required will have a major impact on the cost of development. If you are not sure, ask your developer to explain what is included or, if possible, show you some examples of different levels.
Inclusions will also affect the cost of the development. Do you need pictures to be supplied by the developer? Do you need video to be shot or edited? Do you want animations in our project? Or a professional voiceover? But having a good understanding of what you want included will avoid any nasty surprises at the end.
THE FORMAT OF FILES SUPPLIED
This is a really important one. Are you going to receive the source files from the developer? The source files are the files from the program that has been used to create the elearning. Common file types are Captivate and Storyline. You cannot edit these files unless you have the program that created them, but here’s the catch. The files that you will run on your LMS are published files (usually in a zip format) and they cannot be changed. To make any changes to the files, you will need the source files. So even if you have no intention of ever developing or changing the elearning course yourself, if you ever need to change developers and you don’t have the source files, everything will need to be recreated from scratch.
One of the most important things is for you to be comfortable with the developer and share the best possible understanding of the scope of the project. If it is your first project, chances are there will be some surprises and learnings. But as long as both parties have a good base of understanding and open lines of communication, these surprises will be manageable. Good luck.