We see price tags attached to almost every product we purchase. For most tangible commodities, the final selling price includes the material cost, the labour cost and production-distribution rates too. Something similar goes behind determining the price for services, software too.
eLearning, in general, is considered to be a high-cost undertaking. But recently there has been a surge in eLearning requirements owing to the many benefits it offers. In the growing list of cognizance, it is good to add Project estimation too, as it can not just help in finding the right solution provider but also assist in identifying which solution works best for your organizational learning requirements.
We are content service providers and understand the ins and outs of eLearning development. Based on our experience, here are some key tips to consider in eLearning Project Estimation.
Tip 1# Research and Analysis
This is where it all begins. Be it any process model, research is an inevitable step. The analysis is required to understand the audience, the demand for eLearning in general, the general readiness of the organization, for comparison with existing eLearning and also for the most important content collation part if legacy content is involved. Each part here requires investment, time and cost of the expertise involved. The rates here can be hourly or per-day basis.
The research and analysis also can contribute in revealing whether an off-the-shelf eLearning or a custom development approach will work best for the aforesaid requirements and within the set L&D budget.
Tip 2# Resources and Management
eLearning development isn’t as simple as casting a spell. It involves infrastructure in terms of devices, development and testing tools, storage requirements etc. all of which must sync with the existing IT infrastructure, both for in-house development as well as eLearning purchased from an eLearning service provider (outsourcing). Along with that, the time and cost of utilizing the expertise of SMEs and Instructional designers in the project design stage, developer or eLearning specialist in the development stage and QA specialists, additional members in Development Operations too must be calculated. Management too is an essential component of any eLearning project, and that involves Project managers, content manager, and supporting staff.
Cost estimation hence should include: Time and money spent on course design, development and deployment, plus the cost incurred in case of large infrastructural changes, change management should be considered too.
Tip 3# Testing, Revisions and Implementation
While the QA specialists are an inclusive part of the project team, at times based on the device requirements there may be a need for external expertise for testing. The cost estimation should consider this aspect too in case the eLearning design calls for it. As far as testing itself goes, creating a flawless eLearning course happens only on paper and so, revisions after testing are inescapable factors of an eLearning project cycle. The project estimate should cover this aspect too. In addition to the cost for deployment and implementation, it is important to consider the LMS cost (if need be) or the integration cost in case of an existing LMS.
But, even with all that, the estimate should have room for addition in terms of slight modifications that may be required based on user feedback, content changes that cannot be overlooked, or changes due to slight compatibility issues in spite of all the testing efforts. In addition, there can be unforeseen errors, overlooked in the rush, issues pertaining to devices, authoring tools etc. that cannot be anticipated.
The eLearning course length is an important aspect too that greatly influences the overall cost. While custom eLearning development is often considered a costly endeavor, the benefits often surpass the cost. And as far as open-source tools go, there is always a hidden cost. So, weigh all the options well before making the final decision.
And, in case you are still unable to make the choice in spite of all the information available online, then you know where to find us.