Is there any formula to estimate articulate content development?

Apr 14, 2013

Hi Guys,

I got this question the other day - here is my 2 cents worth response - hope it helps.

You should have a series of interactive Learning Objects (LO) that you can repurpose and again and again - like you own set of editable “Engage” interactions.  (LO0 -Text and draw/find Pictures, LO1 simple click and reveal, LO2 interactive with a linear path, LO3 Interactive with Branching and multiple paths, LO4 immersive 3D environments.

Have a good understanding of the time to build these LO (Learning Objects) ie:

LO0 - 5hrs - reformat text and find or draw pics/graphics

LO1 – 10hrs - click and reveal text - pop ups, interactive timelines

LO2 – 20hrs - interactive elements ie decision Trees ie: users make a choice and branches off and make another selection

LO3 – 40hrs - 3D models etc etc

If your client has content, typically in the form of the powerpoint – Then do Instructional Design (ID) cut (map out a course) - go through the content looking for ways you can collapse or remove verbose or irrelevant content and replace it with an interactive elements or learning objects (LO). In this way users can interact with the material, even get users to find the information about HR policy or visit a mentor out-side your course and then return to the course to continue.

In an Compliance Induction example ('bread n butter work' for eLearning developers) : So an existing client 30 page induction powerpoint could end up say 10 screens (after the ID cut) in storyline (or AP) containing say 5 Learning objects of different LO mixes. In  this example: 10 pages of text LO0 ie: 50hrs, 3 x LO1 = 30hrs, with 2 x LO2 = 40hrs. Total up you hours ie approx 120 hrs x your hourly rate (utilities, cost, profit etc) say $150 per hour or $18,000. Now it probably won’t take 5hrs per page for LO0.  Remember it cost least 15% of the total quote just to keep you door open and light on.

You need add time for interface design if the client wants a customisations, ask them about who has the backups, who owns IP/Copyright, hosting etc etc - Get client sign off before starting, if you need a plan B, reduce the LO mix in the ID phase. So the outcome will tied to the amount of interactivity the clients wants 

Cheers Garry

3 Replies
Garry Hargreaves

Hi Jill,

I can tell you the way to make money in eLearning is:

1: Know what your costs are (elect, s/w, upgrades, your time etc) and at the very least cover your costs on every project 

2: Try to make at least 15% profit on each project

2: Get clients to fund you to build a library (or suite) of interactive learning objects.

3: REUSE and customised those learning objects as much as possible to increase profitability

4....and sadley, outsource to a cheaper 'labour base" if possible and if the quaility is suitable.  However be aware your project management effort will go up so use clearly defined templates and pre-set designs ect to lessen any miscommunication.  Another advantage or disadvantage (depending on you point of view) of outsourcing is the time difference - they build while you sleep, you make edits during the day and the outsource team re-edits.  To make real money you have got to let go of you doing all things for all clients unless you want to stay boutique.


Hope it helps


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