If you are skilled in a topic or you like to teach, creating an online course is a great way to showcase your expertise and earn some income along the way.
Sharing your knowledge and skills with people through an online course is a great idea, however, it’s hard to gauge the time needed to develop and create a solid online course. You don’t want to start developing an online course only to leave it mid-way due to other important priorities in your life.
You also don’t want to offer users an “ordinary” online course that doesn’t provide value. Ideally, you want to put in all your effort so your online course has more value and is something people would be willing to pay for. It also helps to incentivize them to buy your next online course or sign up for your membership program.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some factors that can help you estimate how much time it can take to develop your eLearning course.
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Factors to consider when estimating eLearning development time
Here, we’ll go over various things you should consider when estimating the time it will take to create your online course, according to your audience and your content.
#1. Brainstorming content ideas
The first thing you need to do when developing your eLearning course is to brainstorm content ideas and the structure of your online course. You need to ask yourself questions like: Does this content achieve the goal in mind? Does this content help solve people’s problems? Who is this content for? Is this content going to be long enough to provide value to learners?
Deciding on what content you want to create and what your online course will help achieve is important. Offering unique and engaging content can help provide value to people who will pay a one-time subscription fee for it. In addition to this, you also need to make sure the content is different from previously released content. Coming up with unique content ideas and ways to implement them into your eLearning course can take a lot of your time and effort. You also need to consider the time it will take you to research various topics and compile them into content that’s familiar to your audience.
A great way to boost up the whole process of brainstorming content ideas is by arranging staff meetings. This way, you will have more minds thinking about the same goal instead of you doing all the work yourself.
#2. Audio recording and editing time
Once you’re done adding in the time taken to come up with content ideas and going through them with your team members, you need to consider the time it’ll take you to record the audio for your eLearning course.
The length of the audio recording or the total audio clips will depend on your content and the total length of your online course. If you’re looking to create a detailed, in-depth, long online course, it will take you more time to record the audio files compared to if you were looking to create a short and concise online course. In addition to this, it’s also important to factor in the extra time needed to do retakes of audio clips. For instance, if you mess up the voice-over for a long continuous section, you’ll have to do the whole audio clip again. This not only takes a lot of extra time but also makes it very challenging to record the entire audio clip without messing up, especially if you’re in a time crunch.
But before you jump into recording the audio clips, you also need to consider the time it takes to set up the audio recording equipment. It can be a tedious and lengthy process to set up all the microphones, cables, and software needed to record quality audio clips for your online course.
After you’re done producing the audio clips, you need to start editing them. Assuming you know how to, it can take a decent amount of time to optimize the audio levels of each audio clip, especially if there are a lot in number. You can also choose to hire an expert to do the job but that can also take even more time depending on the expert’s time availability. You have to wait on the expert to send you back the final, edited audio clips before you can move on with the eLearning development process.
#3. Video recording and editing time
Adding video clips to your online course is a great way to enhance the learning experience for users and provide more value. If you’re considering adding video clips to your online course, it’s important to factor in the time it will take for you to record the video clips.
Depending on your eLearning course, you might need to video record or screen record content. You need to decide what works best for you and what’s much quicker and easier to do. Video recording can be a hefty process as it takes a while to set up cameras. You also need to set the appropriate camera settings and lighting to record quality video clips which altogether is a very time-consuming process.
On the other hand, screen recording is much easier to do, especially if you know how to use handy screen recording software. But if you’re not very tech-savvy, it can be a challenge to screen record without compromising the quality of your online course. You don’t want to deal with bugs with the screen recording software or accidentally exporting the video clips in the wrong format. These types of mistakes are not only frustrating but also take a lot of extra time and effort to fix. In addition to this, by screen recording video clips yourself, you can also run into device complications. This means that if you have a lower-powered device, it might have a hard time processing higher-quality recorded screen footage.
After successfully recording video files, you need to start processing and editing them. This makes the video clips usable for your online course along with your other content. For instance, you want to make sure your video clips don’t contain any extra bits and the audio clips overlap perfectly with them. Depending on your content, online course, and your tech-savviness, it can take a while to edit and render video clips, especially if the video clips are larger in size. Additionally, you also need a faster, more powerful device to render your final, edited video clips in higher resolutions. The slower your device is, the more time it will take to render the video clips.
#4. Building the course
Now with all content ready to go, you should consider the time it will take you to build your online course. This means that you need to factor in the time needed to combine all content including audio clips, video clips, written text material, and other content into one online course.
It can be a time-consuming process to ensure that all content is in the right order, format, and according to the time limit of your online course. This will ensure the final product which is exactly according to the goals and plans you’d set before eLearning development or during the brainstorming phase.
Additionally, online courses usually contain additional content such as tests or quizzes, MCQs, and checklists as it helps enhance the learning experience. This means that you also need to consider the time it will take you to create and add this content to your online course.
#5. Test-piloting the course
Before launching your online course and making it live on your site, a great way to ensure your online course works exactly the way you planned it to is by test piloting your online course. You can let team members and valued clients test your online course to give it a quick run-through before you launch it.
This is one of the best ways to get feedback before you officially launch your online course. It can give you new ideas for creating content, making it more user-friendly, and easier to understand.
Although it’s one of the best ways to make important changes before launching your online course, it can be a time-consuming process. You also need to factor in the time it will take for people to get back to you about the online course.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is instructional design?
A: Instructional design is the process of creating effective and engaging learning experiences by applying principles of learning and cognition to the design and development of instructional materials.
Q: What does an instructional designer do?
A: An instructional designer is responsible for analyzing, designing, and developing elearning courses. They work closely with subject matter experts (SMEs) to create learning objectives, develop content, and design assessments and activities.
Q: How long does it take to develop an elearning course?
A: The time it takes to develop an elearning course can vary depending on various factors such as the length of the course, the complexity of the content, the level of interactivity required, and the availability of resources. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Q: Is there a way to estimate the development time for an elearning project?
A: Yes, there are elearning development calculators available that can help estimate the development time based on factors such as the number of hours of training, the level of interactivity, and the number of slides or modules.
Q: How can I estimate the length of an elearning course?
A: The length of an elearning course can be estimated by calculating the total number of hours of training and dividing it by the average time it takes for a learner to complete one hour of elearning.
Q: How long does it take to develop one hour of elearning?
A: The time it takes to develop one hour of elearning can vary depending on the complexity of the content, the level of interactivity, and the availability of resources. On average, it can take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours.
Q: How can I allocate time for the design and development of an elearning course?
A: It is recommended to allocate time for various stages of the elearning development process, including needs analysis, content gathering, instructional design, storyboarding, content development, quality assurance, and project management. This helps ensure that each stage is given adequate time for planning and execution.
Q: How can I estimate the development time for a training project?
A: To estimate the development time for a training project, you can use a ratio of development hours to the length of the course. For example, if it takes an average of 40 hours to develop one hour of elearning, a 2-hour course would require approximately 80 hours of development time.
Q: What factors can affect the production time of an elearning course?
A: Factors that can affect the production time of an elearning course include the complexity of the content, the level of interactivity, the availability of resources, the number of reviews and revisions required, and the efficiency of the development process.
Q: How long does it take to develop an elearning course from start to finish?
A: The time it takes to develop an elearning course from start to finish can vary depending on the factors mentioned earlier. On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Estimating eLearning development time is hard, but if you consider important factors including the time taken to brainstorm content ideas, time taken to record and edit audio clips, time taken to create, edit and render video clips, the time needed to compile and test pilot the online course, you’ll have a better understanding of it.
Developing your online course in a short or long time also depends on your content, your online course, and your tech-savviness. These factors combined can give you a better estimate of the time it will take for you to develop your next online course.
Do you know of any other factors that can help estimate eLearning development time? Let us know in the comments box down below.