How long does it take to create a course?
Calculating development time for an eLearning project of course depends on the type of project and is therefore not a precise art. At LINC-Learning we use industry figures and our own experience to provide a good estimate of the time involved. The work to create eLearning is often split between an instructional designer and developers, but in practical terms the tasks involved are:
Creating a template
A template will contain the styling information, i.e. the colours, fonts, logo’s, buttons, icons, common graphics, frame size etc. If multiple courses are to be created or a large project has multiple modules then these will benefit from re-use of the same eLearning template, hence reduced setup time and lower cost.
Researching the subject
The research time, such as talking to SMEs (subject matter experts), reading product documentation, attending demos etc. can be a LARGE variable in the time taken. For product training, if a product is fully developed and SME(s) are made available, then this time can be kept to a minimum. In this case a rough guide would be 20-30% of the total development time is taken up with research.
Developing the training
Content development very much depends on the type or style of training. The most interactive and highly polished content could involve all these tasks:
- Design the workflow,
- Capture screen shots,
- Create graphics,
- Write a script,
- Record the voice-over,
- Build animations,
- Create interactions and quizzes,
- Build simulations,
- Render output,
- Conduct user testing and LMS testing.
As you can see from the graphic below we can separate eLearning into at least three types or levels, from basic level1 up to advanced level3.
Learning type vs development ratio
At LINC-Learning we have also included the hand drawn whiteboard animation as a fourth style, as this has its own unique advantages and requirements. The levels of eLearning are determined by the amount of interaction required. For example, to create an interactive quiz with high quality graphics and a variety of question styles can often take almost as long as developing the subject content.
The number ratio’s indicated below each training type are the number of hours it takes to develop 1 hour of content. These figures are based on the Brandon Hall reports together with our own experience. Level1 basic eLearning is estimated to take between 80 and 120 hours per hour of content. The range within the band is primarily down to the complexity of the graphics involved as these take time to prepare and layout. At LINC-Learning level1 basic eLearning content also includes screen captures, graphics, voice-over, an interactive table of contents, flash or HTML5 output with iPad download option.
Whiteboard animation or hand drawn style is new and unique for eLearning. These videos are extremely compelling to watch and research has shown that viewers are not only far more likely to watch these to the end, than most other styles of video training, but memory retention is better and they enjoy the learning experience more. As you can see by the figures, they are also labour intensive to create. This is because every graphic is actually hand drawn or outlined by hand. At LINC-Learning we recognise this increased development time can be restricting to some budgets so reduce our rates by 20% for this style content.