eLearning Cost Per Minute: Is This The Right Measure?

eLearning Cost Per Minute: Is This The Right Measure?
Summary: Is your eLearning actually costing more than you think? Are the outcomes worth it? A look at the data uncovers potential consequences for your business’ cost per minute pricing model and the time it takes your employees to learn.

The eLearning Cost Per Minute Concept

Many vendors and eLearning providers charge for every minute of learning content… some as much as $2,000 a minute! Since Elucidat found that the majority of respondents claimed the ideal eLearning experience should be between 10-15 minutes, the costs can really stack up.

But what are you getting for your money? Within the industry, a common belief is that 1 minute of learning content equates to roughly 1 page of content. This is where the data comes in.

What Does The Data Suggest?

Over the past 4 years, Elucidat has delivered 64,483 pieces of eLearning to over 3 million learners who speak dozens of different languages. As you can imagine, a lot of data has been generated to give us some fascinating insights.

In actuality, the data suggests that on average, it takes learners just 44 seconds to complete 1 page of content*, not 1 minute.

*Time may increase for longer scrolling pages, although this is taken into account within the data.

If you follow the cost per minute concept, a 15-minute project should contain 20 pages rather than 15. This raises the question: Are you being overcharged by your vendor? Or, are you shortchanging your learners?

Cost Of eLearning Production

When we take a look at how long a page of content takes to create, we uncover more questions about ROI. Our data shows that it takes, on average, around 2 hours to create each page of content in Elucidat. So, for that 15-minute experience (20 pages), you’d be looking at 40 hours of work. Are you better off taking this on in-house, or outsourcing the project? When weighing this up, it’s also worth taking into account whether you need to manage variations and translations – depending on the tools at your disposal, you could see the costs skyrocket.

Really, the best type of eLearning will deliver the best learning experience in the shortest amount of time. So, it’s worth considering whether the cost-per-minute pricing model is driving the right behaviors. For example, it could drive a tendency to create longer learning experiences to justify the investment.

Time To Learn: Is The Cost Justified?

Just as the time spent creating content is money, so is the time invested in learning it. Consider productivity; learning is only effective if the required time that employees spend away from their day jobs is justifiable. If you’re looking for a demonstrable ROI, it’s important to monitor the “time to learn.”

To calculate the time your organization will spend on learning, you need to know the accurate learning time for the content.

Do the math before rolling out the learning, or there could be big consequences for your organization. For example, if you’ve got 25,000 employees and you miscalculate the learning time by only 3 minutes, that equals a total of 166 additional days spent on learning. Will the outcomes be worth it?

Ask yourself this: If employees are spending significant time away from their dedicated roles for the learning, are you confident that their behavior changes will be long-term and impactful enough to justify the short-term investment?

If, after the learning has been rolled out, you notice that it will likely take learners longer to complete—perhaps 25 minutes instead of 15 minutes—take action to ensure there is enough time allocated. Alternatively, adjust the content so that it does fit within 15 minutes.

Rethinking The Shape Of Learning

A foray into the data raises many questions about how we attribute value to learning and the knock-on impact of this for employers, vendors, and the learners themselves.

One area of promise is the momentum microlearning is gaining. Implementing a microlearning strategy can prove to be a valuable use of time, from the learner and producer perspective. Certain authoring tools, like Elucidat, can help by enabling you to deliver resources straight from an expert to your learners. Do an audit of your organization. Who in this business has valuable knowledge that you could extract quickly and share with the rest of your employees?

eLearning can be expensive – not only to produce, but to consume it as a learner. We must always think carefully about how we use a person’s time, and evaluate “time to learn” as an added cost in this equation. If you are charging for learner time, then perhaps you could consider different ways to measure the value of your products and services.

Use data analytics to understand how your eLearning is really being used, and make modifications to make sure it delivers the right length of learning experience.

Read more:

10 learning analytics that will help you deliver better ROI from your eLearning