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Why is elearning so expensive?

First up. Don’t pay too much for that elearning project.

OK, you are not going to get the project completed for £500 but it’s time to think about just how much you are buying and what some elearning projects or that elearning course you are trying to source is so expensive. 

Have you ever got the quote back from that elearning project that you wanted to develop and wondered what it is so expensive to create a course?

Perhaps you’ve been tasked to go and find a course for the company Learning Management System and you’ve got the quote back for 500 learners and just can’t work out why it’s thousands of dollars or pounds? 

You’ve probably been used to buying content from the Google Store, App Store or have Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+ at home. Lots and lots of choice at the fraction of a price and the pricing is simple, why is elearning to complex? We agree!

Is is tree that some of these platforms do have significant financial backing behind them that allows them to have low subscription prices but still do you still think that piece of elearning that you are trying to buy is just too expensive? 

If you’ve been tasked to develop that custom project for the business you’ve probably already spoken to a number of companies or you’ve already gone through the process of buying elearning in the past. Did you think it was expensive?

You might have had a superb experience and the final project might have delivered incredible ROI but it still might have been over priced and cost more than it should have? Why do we speak to so many people who are receiving quotes for off the shelf content and custom projects that are incredibly high? 

Custom elearning work, like in many industries, is difficult to benchmark. The price points vary so dramatically that it’s difficult to get a consistent price model across the industry. For years developers and companies have used the Level 1,2,3 and now 4 to describe the level of complexity but there are a number of variables that are still left to understand and quote.

A number of companies have tried to develop their own calculators and these will take all of your ‘inputs’ and will provide a price. This will include the number of screens, interactives, video etc. to help estimate a price. This is an interesting and helpful way to price, but again will vary from company to company. But do you get access to the calculators?

The off the shelf or course library sector has a similar set of challenges in that each company is pricing in a different way. You’ll come across per seat, per user, per course, per licence and often a mix with companies trying to use a combination to increase the overall project price. The challenge then is trying to compare prices across vendors or suppliers and to work out if you are getting a decent deal.

If you are reading this you are most likely to be looking to be one of things things:
1. Custom Content

2. Off the shelf content

Let’s look at custom content first. There is no doubt that you can rack up the costs if you are building a custom project

If you’ve ever watched the TV programme Grand Designs, the host Kevin McCloud walks around at the end (this takes about 5 minutes) showing the beautifully appointed project doing the reveal, the property looks amazing, you wow at the multiple features and the design elements that have been incorporated.  

…and then most episodes they explain how much they’ve gone over budget! 

Rarely do we watch someone explain all the amazing things they’ve incorporated into the build and how they’ve either remained under budget or stuck to the original budget. 

Check out the Grand Design YouTube channel to have a look!

If you’ve received a quote that you can’t believe, check the day rate that you’ve been charged, we’ve seen elearning projects where people are getting charged up to £1,200 per day across the project and that’s an incredible fee for any project, let alone an elearning project. 

Do consider your project and the size. If you are working on a large project for a multinational company with multiple courses and resources and you want a full service solution then you might pay more. But, still consider your costs. 

If you have a custom project and it’s specific to your project or company you’ll need to factor in the specific requirements that you’ll need including script writing, graphics and interactions. 

These do cost money, but with careful consideration and managing your budget you can still keep things under control.

Working with most suppliers you need to know what your costs are and how the review process works. What are you getting for money and who pays for what if your delivery is not what you were expecting. Read your contract carefully!

If you starting understanding where the money is allocated your project might not be as expensive as you first thought. 

Off the shelf content or Course Libraries

If you are looking to buy an off the shelf course or a course library things can be as confusing.. 

Seats, licences, lack of clarity, per user, per course, per modules are all ways in which you can buy the course that you’ve picked. Some companies will ask you to use a complex per user, per seat model or want to go away and give you a quote. Why? If you know the course and the number of users a quote should be easy to get. 

When you are picking the off the shelf course make sure that you understand the license and there are no restrictions that you didn’t know about at the start. It is normal to have a licence but it should be clear, open and easy to understand. 

If the price matrix is difficult to understand then ask why? The price matrix for off the shelf products has become increasingly difficult to work out with price per user, per seat and per module all calculated. You might also be offered an LMS or a support contract – it is just an elearning course so you should be able to drop it in your LMS without the need for much support. 

…so what’s the conclusion, why is elearning so expensive? It doesn’t need to be. If you are buying custom content make sure you spend time getting your spec together and understand your budgets and your costs. Treat the budget as if it’s your own money. ROI is great but do you really need to spend 150k on an elearning course? You might be reading this and saying yes – but checking through all of those numbers before you start. Equally don’t expect someone to develop a custom project for you if you have a £3,000 project and you want animation, interaction, custom graphics and voiceover.

If you are looking for that off that shelf course or course library, most courses are over-priced, have too many licenses and too many restrictions. Do you really want that?

Is elearning expensive? It doesn’t need to be, you just need to find the right people. Speak to us. We can help you with your custom project and with your custom library. 

We’ll provide clear and concise pricing. 

Whether you've got a project needing some extra resource or you've got an idea we might be able to help with.
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