How Much Does eLearning Cost

This question is asked time and time again. It is the most common question but also one of the most difficult to answer. At least, for customized training.

Offthe- shelf products have a fixed price and typically are less expensive, but you also lose the ability to tailor the training to your unique company.

To answer this question for customized eLearning you must first understand what factors determine eLearning development costs. Factors used in determining an accurate price are:

  • Course size
  • Interactivity level
  • Tracking requirements
  • Multimedia

Course Size

Course size is a fairly straight-forward concept. The larger the course, the higher the cost. How you determine the course size can vary. You can either identify the length in minutes or by the number of screens. A 60-minute course typically costs more than a 15-minute course with all other factors being equal. A 45- screen course typically costs more than a 25-screen course.

Interactivity Level

The associated development costs typically increase as the levels of interactivity increase. A Level III interactivity course typically costs more than a Level I interactivity course. Answering straightforward multiple-choice questions is much simpler to develop than a sophisticated scenario-based application simulation.

Tracking Requirements

The more data you want tracked in the LMS, the higher the developments costs. The most common data tracked are pre-test and post-test scores, status/progress (Not Started, In Progress, Completed), and completion date. However, tracking the specific answers to questions, how long the learner was in the course, etc. will increase costs due to the programming logic and extensive testing required.


Development costs typically increase when incorporating multimedia elements such as audio and video. If no current audio and video assets exist, these must be produced. Renting a studio, hiring voice talent, and mixing the tracks can be an expensive endeavor. Especially if you do not have these resources available internally.

You may be thinking cost is not that hard to determine based on the descriptions listed above. But, this is where it gets more complicated. As you might have noticed, the word “typically” is used throughout the descriptions. This was done by design. When using one factor to determine cost, it is straightforward. A 30- minute course costs more to develop than a 15-minute course. However, when you incorporate more than one variable, identifying the applicable costs is more difficult. For example, is a 15-minute course at Level III interactivity more expensive than a 30-minute course at a Level I interactivity? Or, does a 15-minute course at Level III interactivity with an audio production requirement cost more or less than a 30-minute course at Level I interactivity having existing audio clips? It is difficult to say one way or the other.

The costs associated with the different levels of interactivity are variable. However, general guidelines exist.

Approximate Cost per hour in Indian Market

  • Level I - 75,000 – 1 lakh
  • Level II - 1.Lakh to 1.5 Lakhs
  • Level III - 1.5 lakhs – 2. Lakhs
  • Level IV - 3- to 4.5 Lakhs

The most important aspect in determining accurate development costs is having well-defined requirements. Customized eLearning is essentially a software development process, so it does not have a specific pricing matrix. Anyone who tells you that it does may not have all the facts and could be undercutting the actual price or overcharging you. You do not have to be an expert in eLearning, but you should have a clear understanding of what you want. Identifying and understanding the course requirements result in you getting the most for your budget and standards.