Online course creation involves a wide range of tasks, from writing course content to recording videos and putting the course live. The process of creating an online course involves several decisions, which makes estimating the cost rather challenging. Most importantly, there are a lot of different factors that go into determining how much an online course creation will actually cost you. The complexity of the course, its length, and who will develop it (you or a third party company) will affect the total cost.
What Does the Cost to Create an Online Course Depend On?
Budgets cannot be calculated on the spot for an eLearning course. Developing an estimate for the costs of online courses is not an easy process as multiple factors affect the price. Hence, be prepared for some hefty prices if your course includes interactive elements, practical tasks, plus videos.
In contrast, if you decide to do most of the tasks yourself, you will save considerably on costs compared with outsourcing. In addition, you can save significantly using free online course creation tools. In most cases, these decisions will be based on your skillset, your budget, and the amount of time that you have available to you.
Components of an Online Course
In case you intend to develop the e-course, the following cost components need to be considered:
For motivational courses and training, a detailed script is essential. A complex subject can easily be explained, and learners can be engaged if storytelling techniques are used. A literal “scenario” is not necessary if all you need to do is, for example, inform companies’ sales reps about the release of a new product.
Instructional designers, who create training programs, usually create scenarios for courses in eLearning. The writers of e-courses are not only experienced screenwriters but also educated in pedagogy and the psychology of learning since the storyline should be both entertaining and educational.
How much does it cost?
It is reported that instructional designers earn an hourly rate starting at $50 on Upwork. With a simple plot and central character, a simple scenario can be written in 20 hours. So, the work is at least $1,000. It gets more expensive as the task becomes more challenging. Make sure to allow for extra time for editing and proofreading the text because when you see the first version of the scenario, you will likely have some ideas for improving it.
Design elements that are often overlooked, such as the font or color scheme, contribute to supporting an idea. So, putting the design in the same category as pictures would be a mistake. It is possible to make your text easier to read, highlight the points to remember, and manipulate the learners’ attention, even if it is mostly text.
The design and illustrations for branded materials are usually expensive because such materials form the company’s image, such as onboarding courses. For example, Alpina Publisher designed The Young Alpinist Course, an intro course for new employees that includes information on the history of the company, its structure, published books, a detailed office guide, and a FAQ section – all beautifully crafted and interactive.
How much does it cost?
In general, freelance designers charge around $40 per hour. Besides, the design of a slide-based course on the brand book of a company might take about five hours, adding up to $200. Creating illustrations and drawing characters and locations, depending on the style of artwork you need, will increase the cost of the project. The cost may be as much as five times greater if you need to create illustrations. Typical charges for this type of online course creation begin at about $1,000.
In general, instructional designers do not just send pictures to their clients; they create complete slide presentations. As part of this process, course developers must customize the navigation and add buttons, an interactive menu, as well as practical tasks such as quizzes, training games, and interactive simulations.
How much does it cost?
Normally, course developers are paid on an hourly basis, starting at $60. Within five hours, you can complete a course on your company’s product line and take a test including 20-25 questions.
For example, creating a business simulation that boosts working with software, dialogue simulations for learners to practice communication skills, or a serious game with multiple difficulty levels, characters, and rewards needs a lot more time and programming skills. It is possible for someone with this skill set to charge up to $80 an hour.
The final rehearsal before finalizing an online course creation is called quality assurance (QA). As an alternative to getting employees to start training right away, you test the course on a small group first. These employees will provide feedback, identify errors, and help to improve the course. In order to do so, participants complete a questionnaire that consists of five criteria:
- Suggestions for improvement: Is the course easy to understand? Does all the information make sense? Is there any additional information that should be included? Does it contain any typographical errors?
- Relevance of the course: What did students learn? Does the material apply to their everyday lives?
- Illustrations and photos: Are they able to understand the subject faster if they see illustrations and pictures?
- Structure: Is the information presented in a logical and consistent manner? Does it contain any errors or inaccuracies?
- Practical tasks: How realistic are the tasks? Can feedback be provided when simulating? Does any task seem difficult?
Final Cost Of The Online Course Creation
As a result, it is recommended to include this cost in your budget, not for the testing itself, since you don’t have to hire additional people for it. Instead, include this cost for processing the QA results and fixing bugs. Consider it like an insurance policy: you might not use it, but it’s essential to have.
If you intend to create your first online course, be clear about your goals, the potential audience, and the value it will bring. Most importantly, a good course without a good design can be a waste of time and resources. Developing an online course is a multi-step and complex process, so it is impossible to determine the cost in advance. Hence, the final cost of the online course creation is subject to several variables.
Image sources: Cost vector created by studiogstock at Freepik