Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design
Training Cost Guidelines
Listed below are some various estimates for estimating training costs. Remember, these are only estimates, as they will vary with experience, type of training, skill level, etc. After implementing a few training programs, you should adjust these estimates by taking into account your actual training costs. This is one reason for maintaining a well-organized audit trail.
Estimating Development Hours
With most instructor led classes, a lot of the material is put into outlined form as it is expected that the instructor will fill in a lot of the blanks, such as integrating or leading the learning methods. With elearning, you have to put in all the content and get it to perform the learning methods by itself. Thus, elearning has traditionally been a lot more expensive up front as it cost more to develop. However, the real savings come from other factors, such as travel, seat time, and administration costs. It generally takes at least four times as long to build elearning, than it does classroom training. Of course, this depends on such factors as the tools you are using, learning methods, and what content you already have that are learner-friendly, rather than instructor-friendly.
If the elearning looks more like a PowerPoint presentation, then a 1:1 is probably close, however, the more elearning moves away from looking like a PowerPoint presentation and looks more like an interactive package, then the more the ratio starts to increase.
Development times to create one-hour of elearning:
Instructor Preparation Time
Seat time is the time spent by the learner in a learning environment. For many types of content, elearning clearly offers an advantage. The research generally shows that there is at least a 50% reduction in seat time when a course is converted from classroom learning to elearning. Brandon Hall reports it is a 2:1 ratio.
Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI)
200 to 500 person-hours for each instructional hour of IMI. If your organization is inexperienced, expect your average developmental person-hours to be closer to 450-500 man-hours per instructional hour.
Percentage times allotted for complete project:
Example Interactive Courseware (ICW) Development Costs for Multimedia and Computer Based Training (CBT):
Category 1: Baseline Presentation. This is the lowest category of interactive courseware development. It is basically a knowledge or familiarization lesson, in linear format (one idea after another), used mainly for introducing an idea or concept.
Estimated Average Cost per Hour Of Instruction - $1,901.00 to $2,170.00
Category 2: Medium Simulation Presentation. Involves the recall of more information than baseline presentations and allows the learner more control over the lesson presentation.
Estimated Average Cost Per Hour Of Instruction - $3,768.00
Category 3: High Level Simulation Presentation. This is the highest level category and includes aspects of categories 1 and 2 while using the full capabilities of interactive courseware. A high level of learner interactivity characterizes this level, with extensive branching capability. This level does, however, fall short of the use of artificial intelligence to guide presentations. This category is capable of real time event simulation.
Estimated Average Cost Per Hour Of Instruction - $7,183.00
Baseline estimate from which you can begin the process of determining the total number of hours it will take to design, develop, and evaluate one hour of ICW. The table shows a baseline estimate based on experience from Air Force ICW projects. The estimates are broken down into level of presentation and type of training. Program management time is included in the estimates. Estimated Hours of Development for One Hour of ICW Level of Presentation:
Next Steps Going Forward