Rapid Custom eLearning Development – The Cost & Time Element

It's only human to measure things in terms of cost and time. Though quality and quantity are more important factors, services are usually measured in terms of the time from project initiation to delivery and its corresponding cost. Rapid custom eLearning development, as the name indicates is comparatively a faster process than custom development. However, the cost and time aspects can be equated in the similar terms as for custom eLearning. So, the next time when you plan to do a cost estimate , you may want to give this blog as reference.

Here's an example to understand how all of this works.

So, let's say you need basic/level 1 eLearning, 1 hour long, and you already have the raw content required for the same and you wish to use a template design already present in a particular Rapid Authoring tool.

According to the study by Bryan Chapman (How Long Does It Take to Create Learning? published by Chapman Alliance LLC), an average 1 hour level 1 eLearning would ideally cost $10054, and would take about (±)79 hours for completion. This would ideally include: Front end analysis, Instructional design, storyboarding, graphic production, video production, programming/development, SME/stakeholder reviews, testing, and some ad-hoc tasks. Chapman's study mainly focused on custom development and level 1 covers: Content pages, text, graphics, simple audio, simple video, test questions.

However, as our example is about Rapid custom development, and according to the example the content is already present hence, the analysis step can be cut down or minimized. The same goes for graphic & video productions as rapid learning is created using authoring tools that come with interface templates, video library, on-screen recording features etc. The overall programming/development also goes down as authoring tools do not need extra expertise or special programming skills to operate. That's a reduction of anything from 20-35% in terms of cost as well as time. So let's say 1 hour level 1 of rapid custom eLearning would cost around $6500-$8000.

This however is a rough estimate, as the costing slabs vary from vendor to vendor, region to region, and also depends on the type of customizations that are being added and also the number of revisions or changes made during project approval phases.

If we were to consider the same example, 1hour of a level 2 custom eLearning according to Chapman's study would cost around $18,583, and an average development time of (±)184 hours. In level 2 eLearning is ideally more interactive, covers all aspects of level 1 along with an increased percentage of interactive exercises and multimedia. So, when we focus on how the cost would vary in case of Rapid eLearning the values could go down as much as 39% in this case. However, as mentioned before the cost and tie are subjective to various other factors.

There are evidences that indicate that long-term association with a particular eLearning vendor can also help in bringing down the overall development cost and time. This greatly owes to the level of understanding between the organizations during the long interactive phase that in turn smoothens many processes.

Level 3 eLearning can be very tricky for either of the organizations. For the success of such eLearning clear understanding, and a good mode for relaying such information is crucial. Level 3 custom eLearning usually includes: Highly interactive, simulations or serious games with avatars, custom interactions etc. 1 hour of such eLearning would cost about $50,371, according to the study and would take about 490 hours for completion. As the rapid authoring tools that can give such outputs are still at the infancy, the variation in cost could be relatively low. However, there will be a relative decrease in time taken, and at least 5-10% decrease in the overall cost.

The cost however would depend the individual pricing set by some individuals involved in the development process, the type of content available, the amount of additional research that may be required. Steve Flowers, an eLearning Performance Consultant and Producer has even created an estimator of sorts to help us with the estimation.

At Knowzies, we take pride in cost effective, quality rapid eLearning development and follow an AGILE process to ensure minimal errors. So, if you are looking for reliable partnerships and rapid custom eLearning, do contact us.

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