E-learning has never been so in-demand as it is now in 2021. Suddenly, online courses became better and more informative than in-door studies. More and more users engage in online courses to acquire, accumulate and enhance professional skills. Statista claims that 50% of students in the world have taken at least 1 online course throughout the last years. For instance, in 2019 the size of the global e-learning market was lower. At present, the world experiences a massive transition toward learning computerization. And, it is predicted to grow, and reach $370 billion U.S. by 2026. Demand for e-learning is skyrocketing indeed.
Courses for various purposes and covering different directions are released in packs. The Open University found out that e-learning course development takes 90% less energy when compared with traditional offline courses. To add, e-learning increases learning retention rates by 25% – 60%. And, what’s more, according to IBM which switched to e-learning recently, it is cost-efficient with up to $200 million of savings.
Thus, the benefits of online courses are bigger than those of traditional education. But, how much does it cost to develop a training course? How much do online courses cost?
What stands behind an Online Course?
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According to a glossary, online courses are conducted over the Internet learning management system. The system allows students to view course details such as syllabus and course instructions as well as their academic progress. The benefit of LMS (LMS vs LCMS) is in the online communication between the peers and course teachers and flexibility in watching online material or carrying out tasks at your own pace. Online courses are divided into MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These courses are produced by large organizations such as edX, Prometheus, Coursera, Udemy. And traditional courses by universities like Purdue, Stanford, Harvard, etc., are more private and only for specific audiences.
How to develop an Online Course?
There are various training models developers use to develop a course, one of which is the ADDIE model. The model includes 5 stages:
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These are the basic stages to adhere to and they may vary according to the stakeholders that create a course together, and their preferences. If there is just one author of the course, the steps taken will be based mainly on the audience needs analysis. For example,
Step 1: Conduct the Research
If you have a niche, conduct solid research on the topic. Do not target broad knowledge sharing. It is best to narrow your topic to a certain point and produce valuable information that the course listeners will consider relevant, up to the point, and goal-focused.
Step 2: Plan Your Content
Content Planning is essential. You are a guide and your course is a map. With the help of your course, learners should be able to get from point A to point B by a straight line. Every piece of information or video lesson should lead your audience closer to the goal of the course.
Step3: Choose a Format
What will the format of the course be? Be sure to make research, gather questionnaire data according to the most preferred format to consume information. The way you’re going to interact and communicate with your audience from behind the screen can motivate them to engage further or start looking for a new course. Always try to make information interactive as it adds valuable points to user satisfaction.
Your social reputation matters as well as the reputation of your course. Try to build a strong brand and promote it among the others.
Step 5: Sell your Course
Create a page that sells. To sell your course to the students, it is best to make them truly interested. So, create a page with the basic info about you, your source, bull point the main questions your course answers and don’t forget to wrap your seamless content with catchy design. This way you’ll be able to build an online audience.
Step 6: Create the Content
Create content for the course. When you know your audience, the format of your course, and have a strong brand, it’s time to think about the correct course content. What style it would be: formal or informal? Would it be filled with complex terms or easy explanations? Think outside the box and create something smart enough for users to ask for its sequels.
Step 7: Set a Price
Your course should have a price. Pick wisely and choose the one that will justify the cost of course development, your time, and your efforts.
Step 8: Launch the Course
Test your course and speak about it. Beta-launch is obligatory to understand whether the course you offer is flawless and meets user demands. If it’s ok, start talking about the course on social media to gather attention.
How much does it cost to create an online course?
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To start counting the cost of e-learning development, it is essential to make up a list of the most needed things that will assist you in course creation. So, the list will include:
A webcam and a microphone
A few years ago, these recording tools were considered expensive, but today both will cost you around $100. Of course, it depends on the devices you’ll be eager to choose. The more your cam or mic will have additional features, the costlier they will be.
To make sure your video is filled with the much-needed light, you can invest in a lighting kit, which is also around $100. For instance, just a lamp for cameos might cost you $30, and a bigger softbox lighting kit will cost about 70$.
Text, video, and image recording/editing tools
To save costs, your number one text editing platforms are Google Docs and Google Drive. The first is used to ensure you produce quality content and transform it into the most favorable format, e.g. PDF. Google Drive is the best and secure place to keep all your lectures together.
To record your video, you can find the free-of-charge software on the Internet. For instance, TechRadar made a list of completely free video recording programs: OSB Studio, FlashBack Express, Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder, Debut Video Capture, and ShareX. Here are the first five, but if you need more options, you can always visit TechRadar for that purpose.
To edit the video you’ve created, choose a tool like Lightworks. If you are a beginner, this is exactly what you need to cut and shape your video accordingly. To edit images within the video or any other you’ll use, try Canva – one of the easiest and most creative image editors today.
It depends on the platform you’re considering uploading your course to. For instance, YouTube is free, but there are some privacy concerns to think about if your course should be for a specific audience. If you consider Vimeo, it will be quite cheap if you use it the whole year round, e.g. $7 per month for a small course and up to $50 for a larger one.
What if you want to create your website and stream your course there? Consider such spendings as for the domain – $10. This price is not final as it includes only basic website features. If you need more features to be there, expect higher pricing packages.
Popular platform to host your course
This option might be a 2-in-1 solution for course video hosting and web hosting domain. But, it will be costlier as well. Every platform has its paid plans, which vary from $250 to $350 per year, and more. Of course, you can choose the one that suits your course idea and budget the most. Let’s take Udemy as an example. As Udemy allows becoming a teacher on the platform and gives guidance on how to develop your course. But also, any software development company might help you with creating your own custom e-learning course development platform.
Marketing and advertising
To make everything simple for you here, use Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to make your course known to the public. What’s more, these are completely free. If you engage in a more profound advertising campaign by the following social platforms, it’ll take up some budget.
Traditional Courses and MOOCs Cost Comparison
Here’s an example of the major differences between MOOCs and traditional courses.
Based on the given budget, how much do online classes cost? Let’s take Coursera – the #1 e-learning platform worldwide. How much do Coursera courses cost? The cost of each course varies from $29 to $99 based on course complexity and popularity. What about Udemy? Here, any course can cost as low as $11.99 and reach $129.99 or even more. It depends on the initial e-learning development cost.
To compare online courses, let’s investigate how much does an online degree cost? The BA degree at Arden University (UK) will be no less than £14.500. At the University of the People, a BA degree will be around $4800. The GSBS Global Business School has a tuition fee for one academic year of €8,750. So, the cost of online course development and the course itself after it is released looks unbelievably low.
If you’d like to have a visual cost comparison of the developed courses, MOOCs, and Traditional Courses, here’s the comparison table.
Of course, the numbers presented highly depend on the course longevity and complexity, and the monthly fee you have to pay for the course hosting platform.
How to create an online training course?
The method of course creation differs in every software development company. Inoxoft has experience in providing short-time workshops and presentations and even external courses in 2018 for the personal growth and skill enhancement of our employees and external participants through our AcademyX Education HUB. Recently, the company decided to go further and organized more of our external online live training courses in Data-Focused Programming and Quality Assurance Testing. These courses have not been launched yet, but we definitely have some insights to share about the process of course development. If you’d like to know how to create an online training course, online course development costs, and how we managed to do it, read on.
Assessment of Needs
Every great journey starts from taking the first few steps. Hence, in the case of course development, our first steps were to analyze the market and plan the training’s niche. Analytical research requires time and has to be performed profoundly to understand what courses have already been offered by the other companies if these courses are popular and in-demand among society, what kind of aim the courses pursue, and what is the final output projected. The better you conduct your research the better is your course market understanding and the ability to implement your own educational training. Thus, we have investigated our local competitors to gain knowledge about what students want from online courses and what they plan to achieve.
Also, there was a potential need to understand whether the courses could bring benefit for Inoxoft internally and what exactly we wanted to achieve by starting our custom training sessions. If the course has more disadvantages than advantages, it wouldn’t be reasonable to launch it. For Inoxoft, the benefit of launching a course and the ability to teach students is in having the opportunity to communicate with people, see their reactions and responses (soft skills), their perception of the material (hard skills), and based on these features understand whether these people can be a part of our corporate culture, and share our vision, mission and values. This is done for a long-term perspective, and after the courses will be over, we might hire some of the trainees that match our expectations the most.
Learning Objectives and Style
Further steps in online training creation are to visualize the course’s aim and the way it will be conducted. Here, Inoxoft’s goals of the course are in
- forming a group of students according to an interest/values
- sharing valuable knowledge
- advancing the company’s teaching practices
- growing potential field experts
- enabling an opportunity to hire smart people afterward
- making a solid input into the local software development sector
The style of the course is chosen according to the company’s preferences, experience, and students’ convenience. In the midst of pandemics and strict quarantines, the best choice is the online sessions with both theoretical and practical parts equally conducted.
Delivery Mode, Style, and Timeline
The mode and style of course delivery are going to be conducted online via the most convenient platform (Zoom, Google sheets, etc.). Also, the delivery will be dependent on a particular time, fixed days, and a specific timeline of 2 – 2,5 months.
What concerns custom eLearning course development cost, the budget of the course depends highly on the market research, public needs, and the business needs of the company. For now on, as the courses are our first trainings during pandemics, Inoxoft decided that they will be free of charge for the enrollers.
Inoxoft believes that the biggest interest to enroll in our courses will be for students engaged in technical studies or the ones having completed a technical education. At least, our planning and marketing stage of the course development focused on this kind of audience. However, we understand that a lot of people, who want to change their career paths or are willing to try something new should have a chance as well. So, we are open to review an application from anyone determined to become Data Scientists or QA professionals. The applicants will have to pass an interview in English, show their hard skills in the field and values. The interview’s success will be defined by the level of English-speaking knowledge that has to be not lower than B2. The course of Data-Focused Programming will be conducted by the native speaker and the comprehension part is among the core pillars of successful participation in the course.
The part of content development belongs to the course instructors, who understand clearly their target audience, and the audience’s level of knowledge in the field to produce a meaningful outline. The content is developed in English. Both lecturers of the courses have outstanding knowledge in their areas of knowledge, more than 10 years of technical experience, and the experience of providing knowledge-sharing presentations and workshops. Thus, the content they will offer for their students has a solid background of hard skills and profound expertise in “teacher-student” interaction. So, the lectures will be divided into theoretical and practical sessions, where students will be able not only to receive valuable information but also to put it into practice. And, if there are practical lessons, there is always a chance to correct errors on the spot.
Training communication will be done through the chosen platform as well as an e-mail. Here, students should not feel the lack of communication and that the lecturer is not fully committed to the eLearning process as each of the training instructors are open to additional questions after every course session.
The stage of effectiveness measuring is still under production as the process of course creation involves pre-analysis, assessment in the midst, and aftermath analysis. As the course is something new for Inoxoft, this stage will be completed after finalizing the first course’s stream. However, if the course is considered engaging, the role of the lecturer is not only to provide the material but to carry students through the processes as approximate as possible and the high ROI will point out to the excellent course conducting quality and overall success.
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Online courses are a good way to make an impact and their curriculum development costs, as well as costs for additional features and devices, are relatively low. Compare these costs with the ones of the traditional courses for a BA degree and you’ll agree with us completely. So, if you are the author of a digital course, but still wonder how to develop online training courses with the help of your own LMS, contact us. We have expertise in building LMS solutions and accumulate experience in online training course development.