5 Replies
Trina Rimmer

Hi Erin. I'm sure some of our community members will chime in with their experiences in this area, but you may want to check out this resource from Bryan Chapman. His firm did a pretty comprehensive survey in 2010 and wrote a report of their findings that's become somewhat of an industry standard in terms of estimating e-learning development time and costs: http://www.chapmanalliance.com/howlong

As someone who used to freelance, I would say that calculating a "going rate" is dependent upon many factors—the scope of the project and timelines for completion being the biggest factors. If you're just looking for someone to assemble courses in Storyline from a completed storyboard, the going rate may be a bit lower than if you're asking someone to design courses and then develop them as well. You can also expect to pay more for courses that are highly interactive, very customized, or otherwise complex. Again, the SlideShare from the Chapman Alliance does a nice job of explaining how the level of complexity impacts design and development time and subsequent cost.  

Laura Bunte

I have used development ratios for a long time to estimate effort and investment. Although it is by no means perfect - it gives you a way to begin the conversation about 'how long' and 'how much.'

For example, a well-known development ratio for Instructor-led courses is 40:1. This means it takes 40 hours to design and develop a one hour ILT course. The development ratios are different for eLearning. Karl Kapp and Robyn Defelice have studied this question for eLearning and recently updated findings on the ATD website. See 'How Long to Develop One Hour of Training, updated for 2017.'

Once you have the total hours of time it may take to design/develop, you can multiply that by the going hourly rate for freelancers in your area. Consultants/contractors have varying rates - an experienced eLearning ID who can develop eLearning may charge between $50-100/hr. 

You should also consider whether you need the assistance of a graphic designer in addition to the ID/Developer.

As Trina says, there are many variables. If you have a local ATD chapter in your area, reach out to them and ask this question. I'm sure they would be happy to assist.

christiaan botha

Hi Erin, it really only takes 3 things to work out.

1. You already have this - the estimated amount of learning time = 60 Minutes

2. You need to know the Fidelity Level of the learning content, Low, Medium or High interaction.

3. How much time it takes a Developer to develop 1 Hour of a particular level.

So as an example, if your need 60 minutes of learning time and the fidelity is say Medium with no voice or video that which is around 200 hrs of development for 1 hour of learning, then you just need to find someone with the best rate at the quality you want.

Here is an example calculations

2 hours of learning  X  medium fidelity content @ 200 hrs/per hour = 400 hrs @ example $50 p/hr then you are looking at a budget of $20 000, total.

I hope this gives you some direction