What does it cost and how long will it take to produce? These are questions asked by every buyer of eLearning development services. If the buyer’s requirements have been well thought out before asking, a time and cost response is likely to be quick and accurate. Otherwise, the answer is: it depends.

Development time and costs are, of course, calculated based on the specifics of each project. For stand-alone eLearning programs (i.e. no online facilitation or blended learning elements required), the major cost categories are (not in order of magnitude):

  • Project management
  • Client and stakeholder liaison
  • Requirement analysis
  • Content capture
  • Instructional design
  • Scriptwriting / storyboarding
  • Graphic production
  • Video production
  • Audio production
  • Animation production


  • Simulation production
  • Programming / implementation
  • Quality assurance testing
  • Program validation (pilot testing)
  • Program evaluation (after implementation)

There may also be costs for on-going content updates, off-site hosting, and other services, if required.

The time requirements and costs are also directly related to the sophistication and complexity of the end product. In ball-parking an estimate, it’s helpful to think of three levels of stand-alone eLearning programs: basic, full-featured, and advanced.

Each level entails a different amount of effort per finished hour of programming, which is often expressed as a ratio:  for instance, 100:1 means that 100 hours of production time are required to produce 1 hour of instruction.  The average cost per hour of development time also varies with the sophistication of the end product because a blend of more expensive inputs is typically required for a full-featured program than for a basic one. 

In Canada’s National Capital Area, production ratios and costs for a finished product in one language are in the ranges indicated below.  Add 40-60% for second language versioning.

Clients can help to reduce these costs by providing:

  • Clear guidance on instructional goals and objectives
  • Existing media assets (slides, photos, videos, animations, illustrations, logos, simulations, etc.)
  • Complete, well-organized subject matter
  • Samples of questions that learners should be able to answer upon course completion
  • Translation services
  • On-screen talent (making suitable employees available for on-screen roles)

When it comes time to develop the budget for your next eLearning tutorial, we can help by working with you to enter the details into Androcom’s production planner. You may be surprised at how affordable your project really is.