How much does it cost to develop one hour of learning?

Many different inputs are required to create learning content. The cost to develop custom learning content varies greatly based on the complexity of a given project. Some of the factors that influence complexity include the length of course, complexity of subject matter, medium of delivery and availability of subject matter experts. Here is a general guideline to how many work hours it will take to make one hour of learning content using three broad development levels. 

Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual (VILT)

  • Level 1|20-30 work hours per learning hour
  • A simple course covering very basic material or a refresh of an existing course where the content had already been previously delineated.
  • Level 2|40-50 work hours per learning hour
  • Standard ILT with all of the associated course materials, such as slides and student/participant guides. This type of engagement typically involves working with a SME(s) that has a clear idea of what they want to accomplish and has their source materials organized.
  • Level 3|60-90 work hours per learning hour
  • Complex subject matter and/or subject matter that requires a great deal of independent research on the part of the instructional designers. Highly technical courses that require a great deal of ancillary services such as custom animation and 3D modeling would fall into this category.


Elearning, Computer-Based Training (CBT)

  • Level 1|60-90 work hours per learning hour
  • Basic eLearning using rapid development tools and existing templates. Linear navigation and simple text-based assessments with very little custom graphic design work. Converting existing presentations or printed materials often falls into this category.
  • Level 2 |150-250 work hours per learning hour
  • The most common type of engagement involving rapid development tools, but with customized templates and imagery. This includes courses designed to be somewhat interactive with navigation based on user choice with basic interactive exercises.
  • Level 3 | 400-600+ work hours per learning hour
  • Complex material requiring custom animation/video and/or custom delivery implementation. Would include scenario-based learning with branching content, serious games, and VR simulations.


Multimedia selection, in-particular, influences the number of work hours significantly. This guide can help you gauge the best multimedia selection for your budget.



Are you trying to create some learning content? Our learning and development experts can quickly help you determine which level is best for your desired learning outcome. Contact us for more information.