Time Frame Question

May 01, 2012

When I bill hourly for one-off clients, I am always afraid that I am working way too slow in comparison to other developers.  Could some of you give me an idea of how long it would take to do the sample project listed below so I know whether my time frames are on track?

Sample project:

Elearning softskills course.  Client provides outline, list of online resources, and PowerPoint template.  Finished course (no exam, minor interactivity) should be in Articulate and should be approximately 45-60 slides.

7 Replies
Kimberly Read

Hi Katie G,

Good question and I’m looking forward to seeing other responses on this as well. It’s always difficult for me to ballpark until I get my hands on the content. I guess I have a few more questions that spring to mind:

1.       What type of media will you be using? Lots of audio takes more time. Some places can’t have audio as a media option. Video can be pretty time consuming but I’ve seen it used effectively for soft skills content.  Flash can also take more time.

2.       Also, what’s the learning curve for the audience? Have they had any exposure to the material, or is this all new to them?

3.       What’s the estimated course length? I know you said 45-60 slides, but slide length can vary greatly.

4.       What’s your level of expertise with your tools (Articulate)?

I’ll make some assumptions so I’m not just sending you questions. Assuming you are an expert user, using audio and only your own voice, no video, you need some animation but you’re using Presenter to animate, the course length is 20-30 minutes, you are the only developer on the course, you have images readily available but you still need to decide on your images and edit them, and you are given content references only (not actual SME written content in a PowerPoint), I would estimate 40-60 hours to storyboard and 80-90 hours to develop a working prototype for review. If you use Presenter to storyboard then you could cut down that development time. Time for SME review would need to be built in too, and time to alter the prototype based on SME review/feedback.

Katie L.

For simplicity's sake, I'm just asking about the time to create the content and the slides...no audio or video...and submit it for first draft review.  Assume it's a softskills topic that everyone is basically familiar with...time management or communication, something like that.  For an average 30-minute course created in PowerPoint, and then thrown into Articulate for the client to review, how long would it take you to write that much content and then put it into the slides?  Also, would you actually do any formal storyboarding for a course like this?

Rich Johnstun

Katie G said:

Is what I've described outside the realm of what most people here do, or is it just that nobody wants to answer?

I just think that without seeing the content and needs analysis, there are too many variables to answer the question. A slide with 20 graphics and animations on it is going to take a significantly different amount of time than a slide with 2.

If you are looking for a "standard" answer, we've always used the guideline that 1hr of elearning = 100hrs of work.  

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