Guide to Custom eLearning Costs

How much does an eLearning course cost?

According to our experience in the custom learning industry over the past decade, the average cost to build a course depends greatly on several variables. Prices can vary dramatically depending upon the elements of time, skilled labor, and the duration of the course.

Most eLearning courses are part of an overall training plan, and therefore, it is important to understand that an eLearning course’s cost is not a one-off budget item. Yes, there will be an initial cost to publish the course, but you should also plan for ongoing costs such as employees’ hours, scheduled updates, routine maintenance, and report tracking.

Have you done a needs analysis?

If this planning seems a bit overwhelming at this point, the best way to get a handle on things is to analyze your training needs. Give some thought to the following questions:

  • What is the business purpose?
  • Who is it for?
  • What do I want my audience/employees to accomplish?
  • How much can I invest?

Unfortunately, some people only focus on the initial price of the course with the goal of finding the cheapest vendor. Because of this focus on price alone, people end up with courses rife with errors, weak in writing, and content with a short shelf-life. Remember, you are not creating a course for one-time use. You are building an experience that will evolve over the life of your organization. Evaluating the costs of skilled labor will help you identify if your vendor of choice will meet your needs.

When you choose an eLearning vendor, you are hiring a team of skilled laborers to work on your project. Some of the most common roles include the following professionals:

Learning Consultant Video Producer Audio Engineer
Project Manager Camera Operator Professional Voice Artist
Instructional Designer Grip Professional Actor
Art Director Makeup Artist Localization Manager
Graphic Designer Photographer
Developer (Programmer) Video Editor

When someone receives a proposal from our company, we carefully explain the need for the various services listed above. We want to select the most important people that will lead to the success of the project. 

How much does custom eLearning cost?

The average price for an eLearning course depends on the complexity of your training/learning needs. In order to estimate how much custom eLearning costs, let’s look at the average costs for each of the three levels of eLearning.

Level 1: Basic

A basic eLearning course averages $8,000. At the basic level, interactivity is limited to clicking “next” and selecting multiple choice answers in a quiz. Text and images are static. There may be narration and a limited number of videos. PowerPoint converted to eLearning is common at level one. Single course costs are $3,000 to $12,000 depending on the length and visual complexity.

Level 2: Intermediate

An intermediate eLearning course will average around $18,000. The intermediate level course features more opportunities to engage the learner with interactive elements ranging from drag-and-drop exercises to single path simulations. Professional narration is standard, as is the use of video and animation. Video is live-action that features talking heads in limited scenes. The on-camera talent is usually a mix of internal employees and professional actors. Animation utilizes off-the-shelf graphics and pre-made motion to aid in learner engagement. Text is often dynamic, meaning movement is added for emphasis, along with visual depictions that feature pre-made iconography.

Level 3: Complex

The average price of a complex eLearning course is $30,000. At the complex level, the interactivity features branching simulations that lead to multiple paths for the learner. The branched simulation can provide the most realistic workplace environment in the computer-based training world. By allowing the learner to make decisions and fail, you will have created the best form of instruction available on a computer. The complex course features professional video and animation at the highest level.

If you decide to move forward with the project, we practice a proven development process that has been refined from years of making content.

How you can affect the cost of a custom eLearning course


Hire Chris Karel – Learning Strategist –  $150/hr

Does the idea of creating a single eLearning course overwhelm you? Is the cost of custom eLearning too high for your organization right now? Are you facing resistance from your leadership team due to cost?

Then I urge you to consider utilizing Learning Carton’s learning or video consultant services to shape your internal planning. By bringing in an experienced expert who has served businesses of all sizes—from Fortune 10 to small businesses—you can start educating your team so that they can take on the duties of eLearning course creation or bring in a vendor that aligns with your business needs.

The consultant can offer thought leadership directly to your team that will provide:

  1. Advice on how to get started with video and eLearning
  2. Recommendations on learning modalities
  3. Guidance on software and hardware tools
  4. Marketing tactics for promoting your learning
  5. Content development planning
  6. Internal and external sourcing of skilled labor
  7. Instructional design process, implementation, management
  8. Measurement strategies to evaluate effectiveness
  9. Methods to calculate the ROI or value of eLearning

Are you ready to bring in an expert to get things going? Fill out the Consulting Service Request Form and start learning today.

Purchase a custom course package

As mentioned above, variables affect the price range of each level. For the most accurate assessment of cost, choose your level of eLearning and complete a request form to learn more. 

Basic Course – $3,000 – $12,000

With the basic course package, we can elevate your existing eLearning content by applying instructional theory and professional visual design. A basic course can be completed in 4 to 10 weeks, depending on the level of instructional design needed.

We recommend you create a basic course if you have an existing instructor-led course in PowerPoint or webinar format that needs to be “leveled up.”

A volume discount is common with basic courses. Sometimes, you can reduce programming and visual design costs by developing multiple courses simultaneously.

Intermediate Course – $10,000 – $25-000

With the intermediate course package, you can certainly still bring your existing instructor-led training to the table as a baseline, but the focus is on creating an entirely new learning experience. The process is managed and guided by instructional design experts with experience in creating effective learning experiences for your specific department in your specific industry.

An intermediate course can be completed in 10-16 weeks.

We recommend you create an intermediate course if you are looking to change behavior, improve skills training in customer service or sales. The focus of an intermediate course is on creating lasting change in your organization. Ready to get started?

Complex Course – $25,000 – $40,000

The complex course package is for the organization that has very clear training goals and needs a custom eLearning vendor to handle all parts of the development process. Featuring simulations, interactive games, and fully immersive experiences, the complex course is the best transformative educational experience the industry can provide.

A Complex course can be completed in 12-18 weeks.

We recommend you create a Complex course if you are looking for a best-in-class, long-term solution that will lead to ongoing learning for everyone involved. Does that sound like a good fit for your organization?

This post is updated continuously. We welcome your feedback to help us provide the most useful information during your content creation.

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