More Online Learning Pricing
Posted by Ellen on December 26, 2007
If you read the previous entry on “Online Learning Pricing,” you saw the general questions posed to help you get an idea of what you and your staff bring to the table, including your skill set and technical capabilities (within people and hardware).
Pricing online learning is complex, and I need to stress that general industry standards simplify a process into basic numbers. The fact is that an online course can be very expensive (hundreds of thousands of dollars) or very inexpensive (less than a thousand for basic software, plus a staffer’s time to pull something basic together). You could end up with something elaborate and polished, with embedded demonstrations and practices:
branching exercises leading learners through a decision-making process so they can see the results of their decisions
interactive spreadsheets that give learners the chance to try out different financial scenarios and see their impact on the bottom line
simulations that recreate a working environment so learners can practice skills such as taking manufacturing equipment off line or practicing lock out procedures
games that help learners retain facts and data such as product details for sales calls
When designed and developed correctly, interactions will enhance the learning experience. They also cost more than a “page-turner” that’s basically an article on the screen. There’s a place in the online world for each extreme, and it’s important to know when each is appropriate. Otherwise you’ll commit to a course that won’t get the job done, or you’ll overpay for interactions that add little for the learner (“eye candy”).
So you can expect that the range for an asynchronous, instructor-independent course can be vast, and it is. Using a development company that employs offshore developers can run as low as $10,000 per course hour; using a high-end company that films video especially for your course, creates elaborate simulations, or other expensive options can cost well into six figures per course hour.
On average, for a well-designed, engaging course with a moderate level of interactivity, you should expect to pay $25,000-$30,000 per course hour. You should also allow for any legal fees (for example, to create an agreement of terms with content providers, to conduct a content review, etc.), any costs associated with working with your content providers (for example, any in-person meetings or conference calls with volunteer subject matter experts to pull the content together), marketing materials, software, hosting, hardware, and implementation or integration fees (for example, if you will be routing registrations through your membership database and back to the course).
It can add up — but don’t assume it won’t pay for itself! (see my separate entry, “Talking Strategy and Measurement”)
Vendors out there — do you agree or disagree with the industry standards regarding pricing? What do you see as significant factors in determining price? What do you think organizations can do to make the most of their limited dollar, when it comes to online learning?
This entry was posted on December 26, 2007 at 3:38 pm and is filed under aLearning Strategies, Asynchronous Learning Types, Justifying aLearning. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.