Development Estimate

Oct 05, 2012

I know this is a broad question, but what is the development time for an e-learning course using Storyline? My company is looking at developing several e-learning courses for another company using Storyline as our 3rd party software.  We are trying to figure out an estimated design time for the product. Example: 30 hours of development time to 1 hour of e-learning....We already have all of the content and will be making several courses. We're just looking for a broad range development time building a  single course from start to finish. Any estimates or advice would be greatly appreciated!

10 Replies
Bruce Graham

Hi Hannah,

When you say " have all the content...", if you have all images, text, video and voiceover files etc. the process can be extremely fast. I have built, short (20 slides), linear courses in 3-4 hours before now, if they are literally just "bolting it all together..."

That said, if I was trying to build a course with a few more tweaks, branches, interactivity etc., I would guesstimate a ratio of 1: 20/30, so a 20-minute course might take you around a (long) day to produce.

The best thing IMHO to do here is do one, explaining that it is not a science, more of an art... and see how it goes.

Hope this helps.


Bruce Graham


Having more of a think about this, I think the quality of your estimations relies on the detail that you allocate to the process.

  • Have you allowed time for QA after build #1?
  • Do you know exactly who is going to check and approve the course? Bruce's Rule of Exponential Checkness states that "Every 1% reduction from 100% in terms of understanding the QA and signoff process results in about a gazillion extra hours being added to the project".
  • Have you got all the correct server permissions and accesses to deliver the project to the client.
  • Have you built in time for random complaint fixing, and the addition of that "extra, and VITAL information..." (which was forgotten even after 19 rounds of SME input?

These are (usually...) the things that will negatively affect the timing of your project and your invoicing cycles, not the thing that you are good at - building courses, where most (!) of the time you understand the variables that are in play (excuse the Variables pun...).

Once again, (much to the annoyance of the tecchies...), I believe the answer to your question relies on having an understanding of business and business processes rather than purely understanding the nuts and bolts of Storyline features and functionality.

Hope this helps your thought-processes around this, and hope your company is successful in your bid. If the bid is a "formal" one, even the addition of this sort of planning can add to the validity of your Proposal - it makes people think "Hey - THIS company understands MY business, and is not just trying to promote their own...".

Bye for now.


Sara Rice

I'm always a fan of under-promise and over-deliver. My message tends to sound something like, "For a project of this size and scope, and assuming I have EVERYTHING from you that I need (including script, process, images, maybe audio?), I can turn deliver a finished product in 3-4 weeks; however, that assumes that we all stick to the agreed upon parameters of what edits can be made at the various feedback cycles AND that I get that feedback in a timely manner."

And then, if they're ACTUALLY motivated to hit whatever deadline you proposed, you probably can deliver ahead of schedule -- in like, 2-3 weeks.

BTW, 3-4 weeks wasn't a specific timeframe -- I have no idea how big or complex your course is. I've been operating under a 15 minutes of mostly-linear coursework with quiz taking 4 weeks to produce from start to finish, with the assumption that I'm a half-time employee who only gets to develop 50% of the time (so, roughly 10 hours a week). And that's in Articulate Studio, not Storyline -- I'm still terribly slow on Storyline

Ejuana Mitchell

Thanks! I looked at the Chapman Alliance report and it's very helpful! The levels of e-learning are useful when explaining to clients. I can use that to define the level my courses are in and help justify the scheduled time! More interaction will make the course more effective, based on learning theory, but it will also take more time! 

Thanks for your responses and resources!

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