How long does it take to build e-learning courses?

How's that for a loaded question? But seriously, I found a few sites that talk about time to develop for various levels of courses but I really don't know where our courses fit in those ranges.

I'm guessing the higher-end courses are what we see in the Articulate Showcase (http://www.articulate.com/community/showcase/). I'm interested in the time it took to build those, but I'm really asking about average courses with quizzes and Engage interactions.

Also, how do you estimate course design times? Do you wrap the writing and development together? Or do you estimate those separately?

Thanks for any info you can share!

9 Replies
Christine James

for me it depends on the content and what they want to do.  A simple course that's linear might take me about a week from start to finish.  But if I have to make ti interactive I need to spend more time with the content, subject matter experts and users to get the right activity and then build it.

Ardi Collins

Carla - 

One thing that works for us is to really hold our business partners to their stated business goals for each project - ILT or elearning. Projects were taking longer because partners would keep adding new content needs as our analysis continued.

Why do you think the upfront works is tougher to estimate? 

Bruce Graham

John Nixdorf said:

How long does it take to build a house?

Figure starting at 80:1 for development:runtime ratio. It can go as high as the sky though. Good luck.


Wow!

No wonder I am so knackered, I'm working FAR too fast! 

For basic I start at around 1:40 ratio.

My "record" for a 30-slide linear from 1st call to launch was 17 hours.

80:1 seems awfully high to me, let alone 2-3 weeks, especially if you have all the content.

I would quote on the safe side and say 2-3 days if it were my gig.

Bruce

Rich Calcutt

Bruce Graham said:

John Nixdorf said:

How long does it take to build a house?

Figure starting at 80:1 for development:runtime ratio. It can go as high as the sky though. Good luck.


Wow!

No wonder I am so knackered, I'm working FAR too fast! 

For basic I start at around 1:40 ratio.

My "record" for a 30-slide linear from 1st call to launch was 1 hours.

80:1 seems awfully high to me, let alone 2-3 weeks, especially if you have all the content.

I would quote on the safe side and say 2-3 days if it were my gig.

Bruce


Bruce - stop raising the bar!

Seriously though, I'd say that a linear 30 minute course without a ton of bespoke graphics and interactions could be achieved in a week or less. 

Start adding in learning design, complex interactions, quizzes with feedback, branching scenarios and custom graphics and video, and that will turn into 3-4 weeks, easily. 

Oh, and don't forget you SMEs availability. SMEs have a habit of holding up projects considerably, in my experience. 

Nancy Woinoski

I'd say Bruce's estimate is right if you are just building the course and have all the content but if you are writing the content it will take longer. The length of time will depend on what you are given to work with up front. In my case it is usually a set of horrible pp slides or nothing. Today I laboured all day on a project and managed to write 4 sentences. Not a good day.

Bruce Graham

Nancy Woinoski said:

Today I laboured all day on a project and managed to write 4 sentences. Not a good day.


LOL - we all have days like that.

It will all be fine when I find a legitimate and acceptable way to invoiced for "...downed tools after severe case of ID-block and took dog for a long walk".

Bruce

PS - noticed I had written "...1 hours..." in my post above - please note that should have read 17 hours (now amended). I am not THAT good

Bruce