How To Accurately Calculate The Budget Of Your Rapid eLearning Content Development

How To Accurately Calculate The Budget Of Your Rapid eLearning Content Development
Summary: Rapid eLearning content development may be more cost-effective. However, you still need a spot-on budget to prevent overspending.

Tips To Calculate A Spot-On Budget For Rapid eLearning Content Development

Many organizations choose rapid eLearning content development because it doesn’t put a strain on their L&D expense sheet. That said, it still costs money, not to mention time and energy, even if you’re reusing archived resources or already own a rapid eLearning authoring tool. There’s still payroll and content upkeep to consider, among other things. Fortunately, this budgeting checklist can help you create an accurate rapid eLearning design budget for your team. It even includes those pesky hidden fees that everyone seems to forget about.

Checklist To Calculate The Budget For Rapid eLearning Content Development

1. Take Stock Of Existing Assets

A big part of rapid eLearning design is reusing what you already have, whether it’s a rapid authoring tool with an amazing asset library or resources in your online training repository. Thus, you need to take stock of everything before creating your budget. This helps prevent redundant content and allows you to zero in on relevant materials. You also need to take it a step further and organize content by training topics, objectives, or skill gaps. That way, you have everything in one centralized location and it’s easy to find reusable assets because they’re all tagged or sectioned off within the database.

2. Set An Implementation Timeline

As a general rule, the faster the timeline the more it’s going to cost as you typically have to hire more people or purchase pre-built assets to make up the difference. The exception is rapid eLearning content that’s hyper-targeted. For instance, you only need to create a bite-size compliance training module and you already have all the resources. It’s simply a matter of compiling everything and adding a few digital elements like a pop quiz or new images. If you plan to outsource, bear in mind that tight time frames may increase your budget as the provider must move things around in their schedules and possibly bring other collaborators into the mix. But I’ll talk more about outsourcing later in this post.

3. Tally Team Payroll Expenses

More organizations implement a rapid eLearning content process these days because it’s easier on the budget. Faster turnaround times also mean that you can stay ahead of company changes and emerging issues like new policies or compliance challenges that may impact your bottom line. However, one of the most significant expenses they overlook is payroll. It’s not just compiling existing resources and putting them into a template. Consider all the prep work, curation, and revisions that go into the process. SMEs, IDs, graphic designers, content creators, and admins need time to develop meaningful rapid eLearning courses.

4. Calculate Tool Costs

Rapid eLearning authoring tools are one of the most obvious tool expenses. However, you also need an LMS to deploy and track content. Some organizations even spring for video conferencing tools to host and record live events, which gives them even more material for their rapid eLearning strategy. As such, you need to research pricing models and deployment types. For example, some vendors offer a one-time licensing fee, while others have monthly subscriptions. Other software fees to keep in mind are add-ons, upgrades, and additional asset packages like a cut-out character package or more branching scenario templates.

5. Consider Long-Term Maintenance

A common application for rapid eLearning design is training topics with quick expiration dates. For instance, you’re working on permanent task protocols to streamline the sales process and improve customer satisfaction. In the meantime, employees need to know how to perform the basic steps and explore all the skills involved. Thus, a rapid eLearning module provides a quick and concise overview, then you can roll out your comprehensive course when the time is right. On the other hand, other rapid eLearning applications require ongoing maintenance. You must update content to reflect company changes and make it more relevant for modern staffers. Maintenance also applies to your rapid eLearning tools and online training archives.

6. Factor In Seat Time

Training off the clock is usually frowned upon, particularly when it’s mandatory online training. Therefore, seat time is also an essential part of your rapid eLearning content development budget even though it has nothing to do with the design process, per se. You still need to calculate how much time it takes employees to complete the course, then incorporate that into your payroll expenses. Another factor to consider is the software learning curve. Some staffers are familiar with the LMS while others need a little time to acclimate.

7. Create A Separate Outsourcing Budget

It’s best to create a different budget for all your outsourcing tasks for comparison. As an example, this is how much it will cost to develop rapid eLearning content for onboarding internally, and this is how much time you should allocate for your L&D department. Then move over to the outsourcing expense sheet and determine if it’s more cost-effective to hire a content provider. Separate budgets also make it easier to adjust spending and measure ROI. Finally, sit down with your L&D team to see how much of a buffer you need. Should you overestimate costs by 10% just in case they require additional tools or resources?


A clear rapid eLearning content development budget sets you up for L&D success. However, you also need to re-evaluate from time to time. You may need to purchase new tools to keep up with tech changes or outsource more tasks to lighten the workload. So, pencil in a budget deep-dive every few months just to make sure you’re still on track and making the most of available resources. After all, that’s the main reason why you chose rapid eLearning design in the first place.