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Cost of Online Course Development

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According to a recent survey, the online learning market will be worth more than $325 billion by 2025. These stats aren’t surprising, considering more Americans than ever are turning to e-learning. Undoubtedly, the Covid pandemic has a lot to do with it. But if we’re objective, e-learning has been popular for a long time for the benefits it brings. Apart from the convenience e-learning offers users, it’s also time-saving, scalable, and customizable. If you’re thinking of joining the billion-dollar industry by hiring an online course developer, this guide is for you. 

Given the expertise and time involved when developing an e-learning course, you can’t help but wonder, what is the cost of online course development? You’re looking at anything between $4,000 and $15,000. The amount will depend on the number of educators, features, course complexity, interactivity, as well as class size. Let’s break down the cost for you based on each development stage.

Analysis Stage

How long does it take to develop an online course? That will probably be the first question you ask as you get down to business. Creating a virtual class is an intricate exercise, comprising various steps. For this article, we scale it to three key stages to help you determine the cost, with the first stage being the Analysis stage. As you can imagine, this is a crucial step that forms the program’s framework. 

Here, you must identify and analyze the key parameters you’ll need to design the course successfully. These include analyzing learners’ prior knowledge and mannerisms, available resources, and the educational environment, which are essential things to know before designing the course. Not only do they form the basis of the e-learning course, but they also determine the cost.

Three different parties are required to conduct the analysis stage. These specialists are the educator, project manager, and instructional designer. Each expert charges a separate fee for their role in analyzing the course. The educator will charge between $50 and $400, and a project manager may cost between $150 and $500. An instructional designer is the priciest of the bunch, as they’ll likely cost you between $200 and $600. Remember that the exact amount will depend on the myriad of factors mentioned before. 

Design Stage

Once you’ve completed the analysis phase, the next step is the design stage. During this stage, you need to identify the learning objectives for the e-learning course and how much it’ll cost to bring them to fruition. You must plan how you’ll create the material by establishing whether you’ll use audio, video, or text. The design phase is also where you decide on the software to use. Will you be using social media platforms or video-based content? 

Again, bear in mind that you’ll have to source different specialists to design specific content. Over and above the educator and instructional designer, you’ll need to bring a graphic designer on board. Developing visual content will cost you between $400 and $1,250, depending on the specialist and other factors. Designing practical tasks and tests will cost between $100 and $250.

Development Stage

After identifying the learning objective, the next phase is the development stage. In this case, you’ll need to decide how you’ll go about the content creation process. Will you be looking to outsource to a developer, or will it be an in-house project? You’ll also need to decide whether to load content onto a website or opt for learning management system (LSM) software. This stage also includes figuring out the cost of copywriting, video shooting, video designing, and the eventual editing of the videos.

Again, different aspects of the development phase will attract an additional fee. For instance, if you’ll be adding copywriting on the website, you should be looking to spend between $150 and $900. Shooting videos will cost between $50 and $1,500, and designing a video will cost $370 to $1,000. Editing the videos will cost between $400 and $3,000.

Implementation Stage

With the design and development stage complete, next, you need to put your plans into action. The Implementation phase is where you deploy the content or course modules using the software you picked. This phase will require an educator and Quality Assurance (QA) specialist. The QA specialist will charge you between $200 and $900 to assess the quality of the course.

Final Thoughts

Developing an online course is a demanding exercise that requires the input of different specialists. As you may have noticed, it occurs in phases, with each stage attracting a specific cost. And the prices will depend on various factors, including the size of the project. But when you add up all the fees, you’re looking at spending between $400 and $15,000.

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