BudgetingInternal Media Resources

How much does it cost for industrial eLearning production?

Use this sample budget to help get up to speed on typical outside production costs for your industrial eLearning program

Training departments are typically over-burdened and occasionally need to rely on outside contractors. Before beginning a discussion with a contractor, it’s handy to be familiar with the production process and their associated costs.

This ‘typical’ industrial eLearning production budget is based on the following parameters of the course:

  • Self-paced e-learning
  • 30 minutes in length
  • Supported with narration
  • Level 2 interactivity – Active learning, simple interactions with basic learner control, practice and feedback
  • Authored for delivery to desktop
  • Developed as a first in a series, original program

The estimate uses rates typical of mid-sized cities in the Midwest market and assumes that an Instructional Designer is in-house and their cost is not included in this budget.

SCRIPTWRITING AND STORYBOARDING – A good e-learning scriptwriter will be able to craft your raw content into a concise working script that achieves your learning objectives in an effective manner. They will work with your instructional designer and may call in a programmer for consultation during the storyboarding process.

Approximate Cost: $3,600

Savings Tips

Develop program goals, objectives and a content outline before meeting with a scriptwriter

Budget Buster

Meeting with large groups of non- stakeholders or excessive meetings with Subject Matter Experts

AUDIO PRODUCTION – Budgeting for narration is pretty straightforward. Included in this amount is a professional narrator, recording session at a professional studio,  edit time and a session producer.  . Be prepared with final copies of scripts for everyone and be sure to know the correct pronunciation for everything in the script.

Approximate Cost: $1,425

Savings Tips

E-mail your script ahead of time to the talent so they can become familiar with it

Budget Buster

Making script changes during or after an audio session

GRAPHIC DESIGN/PRODUCTION – The graphic designer will establish an attractive, easy to navigate interface, based on previous programs, that adheres to your brand guidelines. They will also develop any custom graphics necessary for the program.

Approximate Cost: $1,500

Savings Tips

Re-use, but freshen up existing graphics and templates to save money

Budget Buster

Designing an entirely new look and graphics library for a program

AUTHORING – Authoring is where the bulk of the expense of an e-learning project is spent. It’s where the blueprint of the script and storyboard is brought to life.  Provide a s much detail as possible in your storyboard and select a development company or freelancer who is well versed in your authoring platform.

Approximate Cost: $6,000

Savings Tips

Involve the primary person responsible for authoring in your storyboarding meetings

Budget Buster

Non-essential interactions, games and simulations

PROJECT MANAGEMENT – A good project manager add value to the project by making sure deadlines are met, communication is occurring amongst all team members, client concerns are addressed and the overall project continuity is adhered to . Project management fees are usually 10% – 20% of the total project.

Approximate Cost: $1,875

Savings Tips

Keep materials organized and revisions well documented

Budget Buster

Missed deadlines, scope creep and on-going changes

The total estimated cost for this 30 minute course is $14,400 or $480 per minute. Since this estimate is based on development of a new template, additional programs using the template will have decreased cost per minute. Likewise, a longer program will be less expensive per minute as a benefit from overhead cost savings.

Keep in mind, YOUR actual program costs will be different. This is merely a starting point to provide familiarity and get you in the budgeting ballpark.

Let me know if you have other Budget Busters to avoid or helpful Savings Tips to share.

Ron Trilling
Author of Learning Lines | Founder and Partner, at Media Dynamics
Ron is a great source of information when it comes to eLearning. He has a background in instructional design and has worked with many companies to help develop their eLearning content and courses.
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