By Joe Didonato
This is a question that everyone usually gets asked when they set out to build an e-learning course, but it’s not an easy one to answer. It really depends on many factors:
1. The number and types of media objects used;
2. The level of interactivity planned;
3. The amount of instructional design time required;
4. The amount of SME (subject-matter expert) time required;
5. The overall length of the e-learning course; and
6. The people assets needed.
And of course, within each of these four main categories, you’re going to be faced with choices. So let’s take each of these areas and rank the relative cost involved from low to high, as shown in the chart below.
The Overall Length Of An E-Learning Course
Once you have a handle on the above categories, the next factor that can impact your overall cost is the length of a course. If the topic matter is readily available or well-defined by clearly written laws or mandates, and the amount of material to be covered is limited, then your costs are going to be pretty low. As the topic matter gets more complex, highly specialized and more technical, then the course duration is going to need to be extended to cover that broader range of complexity.
The People Assets Needed
These assets can vary from a single person effort to a complex team of e-learning professionals; a project team; SMEs; graphic artists; programmers; quality-control specialists; multimedia personnel; video, audio, or animation crews; and project managers. As the scope and complexity of the e-learning course grows, so too will the costs. These costs then have to be weighed against the size of the population that has to be trained to determine whether this is the most cost-effective approach.