How do you estimate how long it takes to build a course?

Hi all - we're moving some of our online trainer led classes to eLearning, and my manager is being asked (and therefore asking me) how long it takes to build a class.  I honestly have no clue where to even start figuring that out... 

  • Do I count interruptions? (I'm not only the elearning designer, but also our intranet person, plus the general "go to" person when someone needs help with Microsoft office programs.)
  • Most of the information comes in PPT, from when the trainer and I created the trainer led classes, but the information is very static, so I need to figure out how the class is going to be presented, what interactions are needed.
  • We have no true SMEs - usually the other departments say, "We need a training on XYZ!", and it's my department that has to figure out all the content necessary to create the training.  We always ask for input throughout the creation process, but usually we get a, "Yeah, yeah, this looks great!" from the department leader until it's being used in the real world (at our store level), and we find out that we missed a step we knew nothing about.

Honestly, I want to say, "No interruptions, 4-5 days; with interruptions, 3 weeks."  Is that unreasonable?

ETA:  I've used Storyline 2 (and older) before, but have just gotten the go ahead to buy Articulate 360.  (Also, we don't have any LMS system, so I'm STILL trying to figure out how to track the usage of the courses I create. )

6 Replies
Scarlett Brooks

Hi Karen: The rule of thumb by which I have always estimated time is 4 hours of time on task to one minute of finished content. This would be a maximum, if a module is interactive (not just scrolling through screens) and fully narrated. Building interactions and editing audio can take awhile. I wish I could cite the source for this information, but I do recall it was a reputable one -- from an elearning training course I took. From my experience, the formula has been pretty accurate. Good luck!