per-course costs

The first group of costs we must consider are those encountered on a per-course basis. These are the costs for each course you create and offer, regardless of how many times you offer it or how many learners take the course.

For our example, we will consider an 8-hour classroom course. We will assume that the WBT version is the same length.

First, we multiply the course length by the number of hours of course development required for each hour of the finished course. We will assume the classroom version requires 50 person-hours per course hour. For the WBT version we will assume a much higher development time rate: 200 hours of development for each course hour. This discrepancy reflects the newness of WBT, the requirement for computer tools to do development, the lack of validated templates and models, and the inexperience of developers.

Then, we multiply the development hours by the development cost rate, that is, the cost for each hour of development. For this example, we will assume a cost rate of $50 per hour for developing classroom training and $100 per hour for developing Web-based training. The difference represents the difficulty of developing multimedia and the relative scarcity of knowledgeable WBT developers.

Multiplying up all these factors yields a per-course cost of $20,000 for the classroom version and $160,000 for the WBT version. Shifting to WBT would require the up-front investment of an additional $140,000 per 8-hour course.

This calculation is obviously quite simple and we need to add some caveats about it:

  1. First, as you notice here, most of the per-course cost is for development. However, we have only considered direct development costs. There may be other costs associated with the course as a whole, such as a one-time announcement of its availability.
  2. Second, again as you notice here, the WBT version costs more than the classroom version. This is almost always the case. For the foreseeable future, WBT will be more expensive to develop. We have had thousands of years to perfect our techniques for creating classroom courses.
  3. Third, we have not explicitly included design and analysis costs but have rolled them up into the development time rate. If these costs are substantial, you may want to break these costs out and handle them separately.