Five Resources for Estimating Development Time
Are you unsure of how to answer the big question: How long does it take to develop one hour of online learning?
As you might expect, there is no one answer to this complex question because there are multiple factors to consider. Fortunately, our community has several resources that can help you with an estimate.
First, Consider All the Factors
But before you jump right to those estimates, analyze your situation, environment and project and consider all the factors. Some of the factors that will influence your time estimate are:
- Organizational need/deadline
- Your design and development model
- Complexity of the content
- Number and complexity of interactions
- Game-based, branching, linear
- Types of media
- Types of evaluations and assessments
- Delivery system
Also, consider the learning model you will use. If you plan on straying from the typical approach, such as using Thiagi’s Four Door Model or incorporating existing content from YouTube, you will need to modify the design and development hours accordingly.
Below are some general resources you can use to do your estimating. You’ll find that using a standard measurement of developing one hour of training works well for making larger or smaller estimates. Keep in mind that most of the resources are several years old.
Although this article from ASTD is a few years old, it is still relevant. Not only does it provide the detail many are seeking, authors Karl Kapp and Robyn Defelice delve into several of the contributing factors that will affect your time estimate.
This survey provides data it has collected from 249 organizations, representing 3,947 learning development professionals. The “time to complete” numbers are represented as ratios. Don’t miss the accompanying SlideShare presentation, which has helpful visuals.
This article by Desiree Pinder discusses a variety of factors you may not think to consider, such as priority, review cycles and availability.
Donald Clark provides budgets and cost guidelines here in addition to the time estimates, which he references from an older source.
The Dashe & Thomson’s Social Learning Blog cautions against blindly using the development ratios. They provide their own list of considerations.
If you have other solid resources, please list them below in Comments.