Magic Matrix: eLearning Time & Cost

magic e-learning matrix

Magic e-Learning Matrix

Determining how long an eLearning project should take and what it should cost starts with an appreciation for the type of specialized expertise you will need and the number of work hours required to achieve your objectives. Use this matrix to document and understand and calculate the estimated level of e-Learning development effort your project will require. Whether you hire a company like or you develop projects in-house, the largest cost factor that goes into custom eLearning is human labor.  When you are paying others to assist you, the higher the level of effort you need from these outside resources the more time and budget generally will be required. The hours estimated in the Magic e-Learning Matrix are ballpark ranges based on producing 30 minutes of finished audio/visual eLearning. often beats these time estimates and delivers superior eLearning designs and programming, so contact us for a free quote and compare to any other quotes you may receive.

Task Task Description
Instructional Design
  • High ( 20-30 hrs):  Client needs assistance identifying instructional design strategies including documenting learning objectives, selecting training delivery modality, analyzing current and proposed business processes, etc.
  • Moderate (10-20 hrs): Source content includes general concepts, ideas, and flow, but a formal instructional design document (content flow, learning objectives, test questions, etc.) does not exist and client requires assistance developing this.
  • Low (0-10 hrs): Client will supply a complete content outline mapped to learning objectives, test/quiz questions and answers, design ideas for activities, and other instructional design elements requiring little-to-no additional instructional design.
Content Writing
  • High (60+ hrs):  Client has little source content and requires assistance writing the course from scratch. (Raw Content)
  • Moderate (15-60 hrs): Client-supplied source content is accurate and complete. Content is ready to be inserted into an eLearning storyboard. The narrative may require some limited re-writing and expanding upon concepts including performing light research, subject matter expert interviews, and other limited fact-finding. (Design-ready Content)
  • Low (0-15 hrs): Client-supplied content is prepared in a detailed storyboard fomat that include accurate and complete narrative, graphic design requests, on-screen text, and other specific development instructions. The content essentially is delivered in a rock solid “blue-print” fashion that simply needs to be developed into audio/visual eLearning. (Development-ready Content)
Visual Design
  • High (40-70 hrs):  Requires that most or all graphics be or look to be custom created by an experienced graphic artist. Little-to-no use of stock imagery “as-is”.  Stock imagery may be used, but is modified by a graphic artist to fit the look and feel of the eLearning course.
  • Moderate (15-40 hrs): Some custom imagery including charts/graphics, which are supported by some royalty-free stock photography modified by a graphic artist to match client’s branding/style guide.
  • Low (0-8 hrs): Use of client-supplied imagery or royalty-free stock photography with little-to-no professional graphic design work required.
Activity Complexity
  • High (40-70 hrs):  Complex interactivities such as multi-step branching scenarios, hot spot, drag-and-drop, custom point tracking system, and other interactive elements and custom programming as requested by client and agreed to by developer.
  • Moderate (15-60 hrs): Custom drag/drop, labeling, categorizing, and other custom designed activities that match client branding and utilize custom graphic design and programming techniques.
  • Low (0-8 hrs): Any activities included leverage built-in activity types (e.g. native Storyline activities) or that make use of 3rd party eLearning activity templates.
  • High (40-70+ hrs): Commercial-grade web video production using tools like Adobe After Effects, Premiere, and other advanced tools. May also include custom 3D objects and animations using tools such as Maya and 3D Studio Max, VRAY, etc.
  • Moderate (10-40 hrs): Consumer-grade web video production using tools like Camtasia and Captivate for screen capture and subsequent editing in Premiere or comparable tools.
  • Low (0-10 hrs): Simple and rapid screen captures with little-to-no post production/editing required – or no video whatsoever. Most animations are simple animations synchronizing text and images to audio using the built-in features of tools like Articulate Storyline or Captivate.
QC Review
  • High (30+ hrs):  Supplier will assign a dedicated internal QC expert to exhaustively review and test all aspects of the courseware and endeavor to catch most or all errors prior to client review/sign-off.
  • Moderate (15-30 hrs): Supplier will perform initial QC review to catch standard functional and obvious grammatical errors and fix these items prior to client content review. Supplier and Client then collaborate closely to QC the courseware together.
  • Low (5-15 hrs): Client will function as the first and primary content reviewer and provide change/fix requests.


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