eLearning Project Management

6 Tips To Calculate Seat Time In eLearning


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Determining how long it will take learners to complete an eLearning course, gives eLearning professionals the opportunity to get the most out of their eLearning strategy. In this article I'll share some tips to calculate seat time in eLearning.

How To Calculate Seat Time In eLearning

The seat time is the time it takes a learner to complete an eLearning course. Knowing the seat time is particularly important if you are designing corporate training deliverables because it will give you a general idea of how much time employees will need to set aside from their work, in order to complete their online training.

  1. Traditional classroom vs. eLearning.
    If you are creating an eLearning course with learning materials that were previously used in a traditional classroom setting, keep in mind that seat time in eLearning can be reduced by about 50%. Of course, this greatly depends upon the types of eLearning activities you integrate and the nature of the subject matter. However, as a general rule, eLearning can accomplish much more in a shorter amount of seat time.
  2. Use focus groups.
    Using focus groups may be time consuming and may require additional resources, however it worths the investment since it will allow you to calculate your seat time more accurately, given that you can determine how long it takes the group to complete your eLearning course. To do this, you can simply ask the focus group to complete the eLearning course as they would normally do. It's key that they understand that they should go at a pace at which they successfully acquire and absorb the information. Once every member of the group has completed the eLearning course, you just add the individual seat times and divide by the number of participants. This will give you the average seat time per learner.
  3. Consider the nature of your eLearning activities.
    When trying to calculate the seat time of your eLearning deliverable, you will need to consider the type of eLearning activities you've included. For example, if you have integrated an abundance of text-based modules, then the seat time would be less than that of an eLearning course with many video lectures, given that learners tend to read faster than someone who is speaking in a video lecture. However, it's important to choose the nature of your eLearning activities based upon the needs of the learners, rather than just the seat time. For instance, if your eLearning course needs to teach learners a new skill, then they would probably benefit more from interactive scenarios or simulations, even though this would take more seat time than just reading the text with the instructions. More interactive elements may require more time, but they also offer greater benefits for the learners.
  4.  Always leave room for learner reflection and critical thinking.
    Your learners are humans, not robots. Therefore, they are going to need some time to think, reflect, and absorb the information you are giving them. This is why you need to always leave room in your seat time estimate for these mental processes. Some tasks and learning activities may require more critical thinking time, such as assessments or simulations, so keep that in mind, as well. Also, if you have an abundance of text in your eLearning course or plenty of emotionally-compelling stories, you will need to give them time to actually think about the topic or ideas and to emotionally connect with the content. Analyze every eLearning activity and module within your eLearning course, so that you can accurately gauge the seat time for every learning experience within the eLearning course.
  5. Remember that different learners acquire information at different rates.
    No two learners are alike. Just as every learner will respond differently to various eLearning activities, so will they acquire and absorb information at different speeds. While one learner might complete your eLearning course in half an hour, another might take 45 minutes to make his/her way through all of the modules. As such, it's important to get a diverse group of individual learners involved in your focus group. This will allow you to calculate a seat time estimate that accounts for different learner behaviors and needs. Other factors to consider when estimating seat time, especially for corporate training deliverables, is the age of your audience and their educational and/or professional background. For example, if you are creating an online training session for more mature professionals who are new to the industry, this will boost the required seat time, and it will be higher than if your audience was comprised mainly of younger or more experienced employees.
  6. You don't have to be precise!
    You shouldn't stress about being precise when calculating seat time in eLearning. In fact, it's perfectly acceptable to just give a rough estimate of how long it will take to complete it. For instance, you could estimate that it will take about 20 to 25 minutes to finish the eLearning course if you would prefer to give a time window rather than a specific number. Also, don't forget to adjust the estimate if any additional eLearning activities or materials need to be integrated into the eLearning course, or if items need to be removed.

Use these tips for calculating seat time in eLearning to figure out just how long it will take your learners to complete your eLearning deliverables, while also ensuring that you offer effective and meaningful eLearning experiences.

Moreover, in the article Tips To Estimate Your eLearning Course Length you will find 6 additional key factors that you'll want to bear in mind when estimating your eLearning course length. This will allow you to create eLearning courses that are just long enough to achieve the desired learning objectives, but still short enough to avoid learner boredom and frustration.

Do you want to know all about the important considerations when estimating your eLearning course development time? In the article, 6 Tips to Estimate Your eLearning Course Development Time you will find everything you need to know to estimate the development time of your eLearning course as accurately as possible.

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