Are e-Learning Professionals becoming the new "hip discounters" of the professional world?

Mar 22, 2017

I was browsing a few of the freelance sites and came across several Storyline developers offering to design and build courses for $10.00/hour, $16.00/hour, and $20.00/hour.

Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy?

Pricing is not a sustainable competitive advantage. Someone will always come along and offer their product/service for a lower price than you! I realize that a client who selects some of the “low price” developers will “learn the hard way” but what impact do you see for our industry in the long-term?

Are we destined to become the Walmart, the Target or the “hip discounters” of the professional world?


31 Replies
Richard Watson


That's a great question. I looked at those rates as well. In 2016, the average base salary (U.S.) decreased to $80,359 which was down .89% from the previous year. In the 2017 survey, the average salary was $83,139 which was up 3.46% compared to the national average of $80,359.

Note: The base salary does not include benefits such as education reimbursement or vacation for example. It also doesn't really focus on freelancer statistics which is an entirely different world.  My guess (just a guess based on the salary levels) is that most of the people surveyed work FT in corporate learning environments.

So, the question then becomes, "Do freelancers impact what corporations pay their FT employees?"  I don't think so but it will be interesting to hear what others might think about this.

According to this article,  by 2020, 40% of U.S. workforce will be independent workers. Perhaps as time passes and freelancers become a larger percentage of the workforce, it could impact the salaries companies are willing to pay their FT staff. Time will tell.

On the other side of things (e.g., freelancing FT), I once read a post by Bruce Graham that stated, the price you quote clients is a mixture of the following:

  • The value you bring to the client project
  • The local rate for your skills
  • How well you can negotiate ABOVE that rate
  • How large their budget is
  • Your skills

In the end, it comes down to your ability to scope the project correctly. If you get that wrong, as they say, the hourly rate is pretty much useless.




Kevin Thorn

Late to the conversation, but in the end it's also about the relationship. Sometimes coming in low or negotiating a lesser fee for the same output results in higher value with return business. 

I've invested a LOT of unpaid time for new client relationships. They don't know what they don't know. So, I can either stand firm and lose a potential great client or I can negotiate within their budget knowing I'm going to invest a lot of unpaid time to 'educate' them on the process.

If you're hiring a Storyline developer to develop, then don't expect them to be instructional designers. If you're hiring an instructional designer who has decent Storyline skills, don't expect them to be graphic designers. 

Know what your project is and the skills you need to make it happen. If you don't want multiple freelancers/contractors to various bits for the project, then expect to pay a premium for one shop that has all the skills you need...including good business acumen.

Alexandros Anoyatis

For all the legitimate points raised above, I can't help but wonder whether e-learning is going through a paradigm shift.

Content, regardless of type, used to be a paid commodity. But these days everyone's is effectively a producer. This makes it harder not just for a vendor to sell, but for a lead to invest in the first place.

Some time, in the not too distant future, I see Articulate 360 being freely available for all, with a "compulsory" ad viewer timeline widget feature, and a "made with articulate 360" splash screen.


Richard Watson


Very interesting perspective.

I read somewhere that every minute over 300 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube and on Instagram, users post more than 80 million photos every day. When you combine that with millions of blog posts going live on a daily basis, you can see the challenges we face.  In order to stand out in this avalanche of information, I think we still must do the following:

  • Identify where our competitors fall short and fill those gaps
  • Build rapport with our clients early on
  • Understand their industry; show how your services fit in and complement theirs
  • Be authentic
  • Be consistent with customer service
    As the saying goes, "You are only as good as your last interaction/transaction with the client."

As far as Articulate 360 being freely available for we get to opt in to the type of advertisements we want to see? :)





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