Budgeting for eLearning

Start Here: Select Your Learning Level

eLearning budget

When organizations reach out to me for a quote on eLearning design, the first question I often ask is: For what level of learning?

If you’re not sure what that means, you’re in the right place.

Your level of learning corresponds to your interaction expectations. Each level signifies different commitments to learning design, media production and interaction design – so you can build an appropriate budget. Browse the levels below and think about which best describes the outcome you seek for your programs.

Level 1

Basic passive eLearning. Typically manifests as PowerPoint eLearning lectures; incorporates basic screen design, static visuals, simple assessment design, and basic linear navigation. May incorporate some audio and visual media. No screen interaction. Examples: screencasting, plug-and-play PowerPoint with audio presentations, recorded webinars, basic video eLearning. Level 1 is a passive learning format where learner receives information.

Average learning design & production time: one-hour design/development per one minute of finished training

Also budget for: Visuals (stock photos, graphics, any custom art); media software to produce your MP3 or MP4 course assets

Level 2

Interactive eLearning. Offers screen interactions, branching, custom graphic design and higher production levels for audio and visual media. May include animations, drag-and-drop interactions, and interactive multimedia. Typically produced in eLearning development software such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate.

Average learning design & production time: three hours design/development per one minute of finished training

Also budget for: Visuals, media production (if producing video courses), voice talent, media software (edit and process your assets if producer is not doing this for you), eLearning development software

Level 3

Immersive eLearning. Highly interactive immersive learning experiences incorporating, simulation, game design, avatars, custom interactions, and high production level courseware. Involves extensive media production to produce a complex scenario-based interaction experience.

Average learning design & production time: eight hours design/development per one minute of finished training.

Also budget for: The above, but budgeted for a more complex and media rich course project

Level 4

Custom Immersive eLearning environments. Departing from eLearning production software like Captivate or Articulate and designing custom immersive digital learning environments that take Level 3 to a whole other level. Integrating AR, VR, or MxR into the learning experience to create immersive simulations. May allow multi-learner synchronous simulation interaction.

Average design & production time: More. Cannot estimate without project requirements

Also budget for: The above in addition to custom developers and the tools they need to generate your intended immersive experience.


Selecting the level of learning for your course assists in defining your production scope and budget. Reach out to me with questions about your eLearning project!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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