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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How Long Does It Take to Develop One Hour of E-Learning-Updated for 2009

Ever wonder how long it takes to design and develop one hour of e-Learning? Lots of people have wondered and there are a few resources on the topic:

Here is a good one by Bryan Chapman
How long does it take to create learning?

Here are survey results from The eLearning Guild
The e-learning Development Time Ratio Survey

And here is my attempt at a measurement from 2003.
How Long Does it Take?

And now, I have partnered with Robyn DeFelice of DishingDesign and we have updated the article for 2009.

Time to Develop One Hour of Training Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is the comparison of 2003 and 2009 numbers. If nothing else, check out the chart.

For example: in 2003, the low estimate for developing One Hour of Instructor-led, Web-based training delivery (using software such as Centra, Adobe Connect, or WebEx-two-way live audio with PowerPoint)was 30 hours and the high estimate was 80 hours. In 2009, the low estimate is 49 and 89...both higher. Is it taking us longer to develop e-learning than it did six years ago??

Additionally, I know a number of people don't agree that the measure of "one hour of e-learning" is even valid...if not, then what measure do we use? How do we speak to stakeholder if we can't give an estimate...?

What do you think, I'd love to have your feedback on "one hour of e-learning development time."


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Anonymous said...

I know I have higher expectations for e-learning courses now than I did back then. Perhaps others are spending more time to create better, more engaging content as well.

Manish Mohan said...

It will also be interesting to know what people consider as one hour of training. Any pointers to that research?

Kathryn Korostoff said...

I create online courses using Helius (previously known as Pointecast). The courses are Flash-based, self-paced and many are one hour or so (this is for Now, I have the content in my brain already--so my course development time does not include much researching, fact checking, etc. Given all of that, I find that the time to develop a 1 hour course is 12-16 hours. This includes:
Creating the course outline
Designing the graphics/selecting clip art
Preparing to narrate (HUGE)
Narration (HUGE)
Editing audio
Editing graphics
Proof reading and editing all text
Publishing into Flash

Ayesha Habeeb Omer said...

We at CommLab develop 1 hour of elearning in 4 weeks. 2 weeks for ID and storybording and 2 weeks for development. Roughly we take about 160 hours to develop a 1 hour of learning (Level 2). Hope this helps.

Joe Deegan said...

I agree with the anonymous comment that designers may be spending time creating more engaging content. We've got the technology down so now we are working on avoiding the "Click next" course which ends up taking more time in the design phase.

Karl Kapp said...

In terms of one hour of training, in the survey, we left it up to the responder to determine. Usually, we talk about the average amount of time it takes a learner to progress through the training. However, you've hit on one of the big obstacles...who is the average learner and do they really take an hour.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēna koe e Karl!

During full-time research I did (2000 - 2002) into the development of elearning material for junior Science, estimates I made were of the order of magnitude that you link to here. That, of course, embraces a margin that can be within 1 and 10 times the time required, depending on the complexity of the learning and other factors. It varied a lot, as the reported estimates confirm.

In the work that I did, I recorded only the time I spent in developing the resources. I did not take into account the time spent by those who willingly assisted me in planning and with ideas, approaches etc.

I was given carte blanche to use whatever authoring tools as I saw fit. I built the resources myself as well as doing all the brainstorming, planning and consulting. I probably saved a lot of time that otherwise could have been spent in consultation and communication etc with developers/designers.

I also had access to the server (and still do) for making resources available on the web site, for part of this research involved input from learners who were using so-called beta versions of the resources.

Cost effectiveness? Of course, if the resources were made available to hundreds of learners there is a cost efficiency factor here - but that is another consideration.

Kia ora e Manish

In my estimates, the '1 hour of learning' was based on what was considered an hour of learner study on the equivalent print-based resource that was in use at that time. The elearning material was designed to replace the equivalent print-based resource, and so an estimate could be made this way.

Catchya later

Alan said...

One question I have and I hope people might be able to comment on for me, is what makes up the 1 hour.
We have classes that are today taught in instructor led Web classes in 2 hour slices. If we have a class that currently takes 3 of these 2 hr slices, is there any industry info out there of how much 'seat time' this would translate to if we create these classes as self paced CBT using something like Articulate?

kate said...

I think it is realistic that it could have gone up as the demand for integration of more sophisticated elements to support the material has grown. I think this may also be determined in part by the type of content. We are developing a specialist course for microbiologists with a team of context experts who are novices of e-learning, and we have found that due to complications of interpretation of roles between ourselves and the 3rd party development team, it has taken a lot longer to even get the content to a manageable size! That said I was fortunately able to report that our team have performed well within industry standards at under 80hrs/hr of seat time and the course is just over 7 hours. That said we have been dissappointed that we had to a lot more structuring and re-editing than we were led to understand we would have to do. So the e-learning learning curve has been quite steep on both sides!