One hour or 60 minutes or 3600 seconds, the hour is the standard by which elearning development costs appear to be measured. I’ve read with interest several blog posts about development cost per hour but what exactly is an hour of elearning and how is it measured?
In an industry it is valuable to have a benchmark or standard against which price and quality comparisons can be made but with the advances in technology and the range of development tools available is the hour still relevant?
We read and are told that learners work at different speeds at different times and in different ways yet the one hour matrix is readily applied. I’m interested in what constitutes the hour? Is it the time the learner uses the course? Are we using an average? For the development company is it number of screens x number of minutes? I’m not sure of the answer but I’m conscious that as we deliver on different platforms in different modes to an ever wider learner group that an hour used as a standard could be misleading if it’s not applied consistently and everyone knows how it is measured.
Often I read a blog post about company x who are paying £ 000’s for an hour of elearning and want to know whether it represents value. I don’t think that you can make an accurate assessment without knowing more information including the full details of what the developer is being asked to do. Development time using Rapid tools is widely regarded as being less than custom work and its only when you factor in all of the development tasks only then can you start to make an assessment.
In a creative industry like e-learning benchmarking costs will always be a challenging task but perhaps it’s time to think about a basic formula that will provide a base for suppliers and developers to work from.