eLearning Course Authoring Software Hidden Costs
When you sign up for an eLearning course authoring software, you might naturally assume that the price tag includes any and all expenses. However, you may be surprised to learn that there may be other costs you haven’t even considered. These additional fees can add up quickly and throw your eLearning estimate off balance. This can make it difficult to stick to your eLearning development budget. In this article, I’ll shed light on the 6 most common hidden costs of eLearning course authoring tools.
While many people focus on the startup or sign up costs of the eLearning course authoring tool, many overlook the fact that there may be upgrade fees involved. In fact, this is where some “free” eLearning authoring platforms earn their profits. They may not require any payment up front, but you will have to pay when it’s time to upgrade the product. For example, if they come out with a new version a month after you sign up, you might have to dig into your eLearning budget to be able to upgrade so that you can get the latest and greatest features. This is why it’s always a good idea to ask about upgrades in advance and, if possible, go with eLearning course authoring software that includes free upgrades for existing users. Also, if you are already utilizing the specific eLearning course authoring software and they release a new version that isn’t covered by the initial fee, then carefully examine the new features or functions to see if it’s really worth the added investment.
Even if you’re a tech-savvy eLearning professional who knows their way around an eLearning course authoring tool, there may be times when you need some assistance with the software. There might be a glitch in the program or you may be unsure about how to work a particular feature. In these instances, support services are essential. The trouble is that some eLearning course authoring tools charge extra for support and don’t include it in their monthly or annual fee. So, if you do run into a problem, you’ll have to either find another way to work around it or pay more to speak to a representative or chat with them online. Before you sign up for the software, double check to verify which support services they do offer and if they are covered in the startup costs. Are you able to contact them via email and phone, or do they only offer an online contact form or FAQ? Do they offer a premium package for a bit more that includes more extensive support?
- Licensing fees.
They key to choosing the best eLearning course authoring software for your eLearning project is knowing as much as possible about their pricing model. While some products only require an initial investment that grants you unlimited access to the software in perpetuity, others offer limited time licenses that expire after a certain time period. For example, after a year you will have to pay the licensing fee again, or a renewal fee, to keep using the eLearning course authoring platform.
- Software maintenance.
As a general rule, these maintenance fees are roughly 15 to 20 percent of the purchase price. This covers new software installation, on-site support services, and anything else that is par-for-the-course when it comes to maintaining an eLearning course authoring software. There is also a secondary cost that has nothing to do with the vendor. This is the staffing and monetary resources that you’ll have to put into your eLearning course authoring software to upkeep it on a company-wide level. Do you have to update your eLearning content on a regular basis? Are you going to need to modify it over time to meet the growing needs of your organization?
This is an essential cost that many eLearning professionals may not even consider. No matter how user-friendly the eLearning course authoring tool might be, there is going to be some sort of learning curve involved. You will need to train your eLearning development team or users on how to utilize the eLearning course authoring software so that they can take full advantage of its features, which improves your ROI. If you’re flying solo, then you will also have to factor in the time and effort you need to invest in order to master the tool. After all, time is money! More difficult tools may offer a vast array of features, but are they ideal for your eLearning development team, or should you opt for a more basic tool that cuts down training costs?
- Excessive fees.
Overage fees may, unfortunately, be hidden in the fine print in some cases. For example, certain eLearning course authoring software vendors may charge an overage fee for every extra user or GB of storage that you use beyond your cap. Check to see how much usage is included in your package and if the vendor charges overage fees or simply blocks your access to the tool until the next billing cycle. If possible opt for an eLearning course authoring option that far exceeds your usual users or GB usage, just to be safe. Otherwise, you may end up paying much more than expected if your eLearning course is a resounding success.
Avoid going over your eLearning budget and find the eLearning course authoring software tool that offers the features you need at a price you can afford. Use these tips to steer clear of hidden charges when selecting your next eLearning course authoring software.
Want to learn more about eLearning authoring software pricing models, and how to choose the best eLearning course authoring software for your eLearning project? Read the article The Insider's Guide To Authoring Tools Pricing Models to find out about the basics and benefits of each price structure to determine which is right for your eLearning needs and budget.