How Long Does it Take to Develop 1 Hour of e-Learning?

One of the most common questions I am asked by my clients as an e-Learning developer is – “how long will it take”?

Research conducted in 2010 by Bryan Chapman, Chief Learning Strategist at Chapman Alliance is commonly referenced in the context of development time for learning across several learning formats.

I have pulled out the information relevant to e-Learning from this research and compiled a guide to assist with estimating how long it may take to develop 1 hour of e-Learning.

Of course, each e-Learning project is unique – in this compilation of information the estimates are based on the complexity of interactivity, from passive through to limited interaction and then moderate participation.

View this SlideShare for more information.

2 thoughts on “How Long Does it Take to Develop 1 Hour of e-Learning?

  1. Very interesting analysis, thank you, and a huge range…from 49 to 716 (hours)! Do these figures work pro rata, or is there a notional minimum development time per project/module?

    1. Yes – a huge range, I agree – but there are so many variables that go into creating e-Learning that this is probably the only way to communicate this to clients in a digestible format. Keeping in mind that these are just estimates, and the recommended length of an e-Learning module is around 20 minutes, you could apply these same figures pro rata.

      Of course, this all depends on a number of factors, including whether or not you start with a design template and/or have sign-off on the look and feel of the course design up front, the complexity of the design and interactive elements, and the detail in the storyboard – ie is there total agreement on the content or will there be changes that result in reiteration of the final product. Ideally, to keep development hours to a minimum, there would be sign-off on the design and the content before too much time is spent in development. Even one or two small “changes” to the design once development has begun can blow out the development hours massively.

      I have worked on projects where there has been a ridiculous number of changes (both in the design and in the course content) once the development has started and this just becomes confusing and unnecessarily time-consuming for everyone involved. So the bottom line is, if you know what you want up front and have sign-off on the design and content, and don’t want too many complicated design features, you can dramatically reduce the development hours. I hope this answers your question Tony – and thanks for your comment.

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