Over the past decade, 98% of small businesses have increased their use of eLearning. A majority of this increase in eLearning is owed to freely available learning management systems, authoring tools, and eLearning courses. Also, 72% of organizations say that online learning gives them an edge over their competitors. eLearning has been the new normal for years now and companies are leaving no stones unturned to seek courses that deliver the best training value to their employees.
Moreover, they seek the best eLearning courses that are laced with appropriate features and functionalities. These not only make the courses attractive for the learners but also add to their existing knowledge and expertise. It goes without saying that a lot of effort, time, and resources are involved in the creation of these courses. And all that incurs a cost.
Why Limit the Use of Free eLearning?
1. Content Creation
Content can be easily considered as one of the most critical elements of eLearning courses. This is because researching, curating, and collating the right content is a time-consuming and effort-intensive process. Even when firms do have some of the content ready with them, the course-creators need to separate the wheat from the chaff. They need to determine the appropriate course content for the desired training impact. However, when firms need extremely requirement-specific course modules, the costs tend to rise. Finding the same quality or expertise in the subject is something free eLearning fails at.
Custom course creation, that requires pulling in the expertise of industry experts and researchers, is time-consuming and costs money. The effort is not just in creating the course. It’s in deciding what elements need to make it into the course and the impact they should drive. For instance, introducing gamification to explain the concept of a product or a service could go a long way in making the learners grasp a concept quickly. But gamification itself involves multiple brainstorming sessions, application of the best technologies, and much A/B testing before it becomes a part of the course. This increases the cost of the tailor-made courses.
2. Course Interactivity
eLearning courses thrive on interactivity that goes beyond just a handful of videos and chapters to read for the learners. There is an entire array of interactive options out there, including animations, interactive infographics, games, decision-making trees, live-chat, quizzes, etc., which can generate interest in learners. More interest will drive greater engagement. That, in turn, will make the learners incline towards exploring information on their own time and want to complete the course.
That said, highly interactive courses may end up costing more than the basic courses. This is because creating interactive components means using the latest tools, techniques, and technologies. These tools may need licenses. Creating courses that use this interactivity is also harder and hence more expensive.
3. New Tools and Technologies
New technologies and tools are not just the mainstays of interactive courses but also for several other course features and functions. These help facilitate better communication between learners and offer detailed assessment and reports. But most importantly, these will drive an enhanced learning experience to all the users by engaging them in better ways.
Say, for instance, if the course has a live-chat feature, it may require the use of AI, (Artificial Intelligence) that can understand and respond to the user queries, provide information and suggestions to first-time users. While this is a great feature to have in the course, the inclusion of AI will drive up the costs considerably.
Another case in point is AR and VR, which offer improved, immersive, and intuitive learning experiences to the users. Since these technologies are still at a nascent stage, there will be only a few experts who can help create quality course modules using them. The end result? The course will cost more than other simpler courses available.
4. The Development and Design Team
The capabilities of the development and design team that builds eLearning courses are crucial. Without them, it may prove impossible to bring any good eLearning course into the hands of the learners. From Instructional Designers (IDs) and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), everyone in the team has an important contribution to make. Often, the following professionals come together to help create stellar eLearning courses:
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
- Instructional Designers
- Project Managers
- Graphic Designers and animators
- Quality Analysts/Testers
The cost of efforts of the team members makes up a significant part of the total cost of the eLearning course. And when an organization hires the best of these professionals or opts for the best consultants, it is a given that the costs will be higher.
These are the factors that take an eLearning course from ordinary to extraordinary. And of course, that comes with a price tag. But the best eLearning courses are worth the money. The organizations that make that investment will reap the benefits in the form of more engaged and enabled employees who drive better business outcomes.
As eLearning specialists, we try to achieve the sweet spot between affordable courses and quality content. Reach out to us to know more! Get in touch here. You can also reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org