Research found that 48% of learning & development leaders expected budgets to increase in 2022. As businesses look to invest in developing their people, a common question that often gets asked is “How much does eLearning cost?”.
Given recent economic conditions, that question is being asked a lot more frequently as managers are being forced to cut their cloth and reduce costs. Over a quarter (26%) of businesses in the UK saw a fall in turnover during the last quarter of 2022. So, how much does eLearning cost and is it worth investing in?
Like with most things, the answer to that question depends on a number of different factors. Before exploring these in more detail, we first need to understand what eLearning is.
What is eLearning?
eLearning is a term used to describe learning material that is accessed via online, using different forms of electronic media including desktop, tablet and mobile. Within eLearning, content can be presented in a variety of formats, ranging from interactions and quizzes to animations or video.
eLearning is available in two different formats: off-the-shelf training and bespoke eLearning. The first is better for companies who need more generic training on common topics, like fire safety or team building. But bespoke eLearning provides more customisation, allowing companies to tailor it to their business and focus on specific areas of their industry or sites’ or needs – it’s what we specialise in creating here at Olano.
More businesses are investing in eLearning than ever before, with the market expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2028. It’s the fastest growing area in the education sector, so it’s a big deal.
When creating an eLearning course, the cost depends on a number of key elements; length of the course, learning objectives and content selection. Let’s break each of these down to see how much it would cost with Olano.
Length of the course
At Olano, we work on a cost-per-project, meaning eLearning courses follow a typical costing model. One of the main considerations is that more content equates to a higher cost.
If the course needs to cover one or two key areas, it’s quicker for our instructional designers to create a storyboard ready for development. But if it needs to cover five or six sections, more time is needed which affects total cost. Writing a longer course that engages learners throughout takes time, which costs money.
Also, consider that a longer course is going to be less engaging so more consideration is put into how to keep the learner’s attention throughout – this adds to the development time.
Following storyboard approval, a course is then moved into the development process. Here, our specialist team of designers build the course slide-by-slide, creating a variety of content including video, animation and quizzes to engage learners throughout. It can be a long process developing original content, especially if lots of illustrations and animations are included, which may lead to a higher cost. Once the course is built, it moves into a final review with the business – longer courses usually result in more amendments following review, adding to the eLearning cost.
However, do not think eLearning is unaffordable or discount it for your next program. We are talking about days or weeks longer rather than months, so it’s not a major problem.
The true eLearning cost depends on learning objectives that need to be achieved throughout. If it’s a refresher course, the content will not need to cover as much information. But if it’s a totally new course, chances are it will require more in-depth detail that achieves understanding.
Learning objectives determine how much focus is needed in particular areas. If it’s refreshing information, not as much new content development will be required and therefore costs will be lower. But for original content, a variety of animations, videos or characters may need to be created which results in higher costs.
Perhaps the most important factor that decides the full eLearning cost is the content selection of a course, which depends on set learning objectives. For example, a food manufacturing that wants to demonstrate how their supply chain operates will have lots of documentation detailing this, which could include pictures or videos supported with a professional slide deck. That means most content already exists, so our team wouldn’t need to create as much.
However, within a logistics company a new department wants to inform the rest of their business about a new method of working. It’s highly unlikely that the business would have content already demonstrating this. It may exist in someone’s head or potentially in a raw format somewhere, but content would need transferring into different mediums to be used within the course.
We would therefore need to create illustrations or/and animations of machinery or visit the workplace to take photos or videos showing how processes work. If we were required to visit a site to take photos or film some footage, this would be accounted for in the total cost.
When building an eLearning course, it’s important to use a variety of content to ensure learners are engaged throughout. Naturally, we try and include a mix of animations, video, photos and text to keep audiences switched on and shorten some of the less engaging areas.
What does that equate to?
Given our experience, every project is different and you cannot put an average price on bespoke course development. However, we have found a typical 30-minute course to cost in the region of £7000 – £16,000 depending on whether the course is a build with existing content or a complex fresh build with lots of animation, video and interactions.
If you consider that this is a one-off cost of development that your business will own and run year-on-year, it will pay back on its investment quickly, and the more learners you have the faster return will be. We will be publishing more content outlining the return on investment very soon, so keep checking our LinkedIn page for updates on this.
Are you looking to invest in an eLearning course? We would love to hear from you, so please get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can meet your needs!