Endless Question: What Percentage Of Your Resources Should You Invest In Corporate eLearning?

The Percentage Of Your Resources That You Ought To Invest In Corporate eLearning

The idea of learning via the internet goes back to the first platforms that offered distance education. This approach has little to do with educational DVDs or videotapes. eLearning is interactive and allows you to communicate with teachers and other students the same way as if you were sitting in the class. Now eLearning includes all sorts of internet learning and systems of computerized learning. However, even though eLearning is nothing new in the world of education, some questions about it are unlikely to become obsolete in the nearest future. One of such questions is how much do you need to invest in eLearning and what minimal budget is required?

Benefits Of Corporate eLearning

Any organization needs to estimate a profit that it gets from its investments. Corporate eLearning is a beneficial investment both in long-term and short-term perspective. Of course, the real effects of eLearning become visible within several years, because the new knowledge needs to be processed and incorporated, moving by the corporate chain. However, eLearning allows the senior managers to implement new business strategies and achieve important long-term operational goals much faster than traditional face-to-face approaches.

To realize the benefits of eLearning, we must think in terms of Return On Investment. Even though eLearning programs imply spending costs on content, personnel, and technology, they allow companies to reduce travel costs and offer a new level of flexibility. These programs also allow you to reduce training costs because you don’t need to buy printed training materials for the personnel and hire staff instructors. Compared to traditional methods of employee development, eLearning involves minimal upkeep costs.

Online training programs allow employees to get the necessary information when they need it. They can learn at their own pace, which increases the efficiency of training dramatically. Anyone can access the necessary module and refresh their memory in just a few clicks. All the materials are available within one learning platform. Every time you need to inform your staff about important updates, you can just add new information to the learning management system (LMS), with no need to print new manuals or guides.

How To Calculate Your eLearning Budget

To realistically estimate your budget, you need to take into consideration a few important factors.

1. LMS Costs

Buying an LMS, you need to prepare for paying all associated fees upfront. The preparation expenses also include an adjustment of the current training materials for the new training platform. It’s especially important to choose an LMS that fits your objectives. Some platforms can be used in a trial mode at first, so you can test them and assess their features. Another thing to consider is the necessity of LMS training that might be provided by a vendor in a form of online tutorials or face-to-face consultations with IT experts.

2. Team Payroll

The efficiency of LMS platforms directly depends on how people use them so you shouldn’t forget about the human factor. You need a tool that will help you monitor the training content, calculating total payroll hours. We suggest always overestimating this number so that you can spend the leftovers on the further training development.

3. Content

You might need to spend additional costs on integrating a new eLearning program with the old training management system. As for the content itself, the process of converting pdf files and eBooks into the necessary format won’t take much time. If your materials include diagrams and media content, along with interactive elements, you will need more development time.

4. Hidden Costs

Sometimes the software must be updated, which involves unexpected fees and additional payroll hours. You also need to estimate expenses associated with resource reallocations, team realignments, and personnel disruptions.

What Percentage Of Resources To Invest?

Planning your investments, you need to calculate the ROI. Return On Investment is calculated using a simple formula: net program benefits divided by program costs. The obtained number is expressed as a percentage and is usually recorded as an annual benefit. However, there is a difference between eLearning and traditional methods of training. The thing is, results of classroom training usually worsen after a year, while eLearning shows a long-lasting effect because online systems imply constant reinforcement of the knowledge. Thus, the classic ROI calculation model becomes somewhat outdated when used for eLearning programs.

Investment in online training should be calculated for each particular company, however, there are some distinctive features of eLearning systems that make it possible to compare basic LMS training with classic training systems. You spend a certain percentage of your resources on employee training, and there’s one thing you can be sure about—eLearning programs are cheaper. According to statistics, costs associated with participants usually don’t exceed 80% of the costs required for maintaining a traditional learning program. There is also a considerable difference in payroll hours because online training takes 60% to 70% less time. eLearning programs also allow you to eliminate so-called "training cycle time," which implies waiting for the completion of the entire course in order to offer one important piece of information.

Time is a crucial factor that determines the cost of a training program. To create one hour of online educational content, your team will need to spend in average 90 to 240 hours, depending on the type of the content. The overall cost of the online program to a large extent depends on the chosen LMS and pricing plan (learner free or pay-per-user). Thus, we decided to provide a range of prices, considering the professional level of specialists involved and the type of the content.

Content Development

  • Lecture notes — $150-1800, depending on hourly rates of lecturers
  • Graphic design — $375-2000
  • Video editing — $450-1000
  • Video operator — $30-150
  • Graphic design (intro) — $500-3000
  • Video editing (intro) — $600-1500

Content Implementation

  • Course upload — $600-2000
  • QA process — $300-2000
  • Project management — $20-150 on a daily basis

LMS Installation

  • QA expert — $600-1200
  • DevOps — $1500-6400

Team Involvement

  • Project manager — $400-2700
  • Instructional designer — $1000-3000
  • Marketer — $600-3000
  • Lecturer — $1000-7500
  • Psycholinguist — $300-2100
  • Director — $90-500

Thus, the overall cost of an online learning course varies from $7,400 to $35,500. If you have a limited budget, you may want to minimize these costs, and it’s a possible task. For example, you can combine some roles, hiring one person who will work as the operator, director, and video editor. You should also take into account that hiring experienced teams of contractors increases your budget by 20-30%. Instead, you can work with Upwork freelancers. Such an approach will lower the cost of each stage from our list by 25-30%.


Creating an eLearning program differs from creating content for traditional training programs. This method involves some upfront investments, but it offers a number of long-lasting benefits, as the online training systems have proven to be more effective.

The eLearning market is growing constantly, offering different pricing plans and types of training, which makes eLearning an affordable solution for different companies. Even if you have a limited budget, you can create an informative online course that will fit your objectives. You can prepare simple videos with lecturers or include interactive graphic elements—this choice only depends on you. By working with freelancers, you can minimize development costs and enjoy advantages of eLearning regardless of the size of your budget.