e-learning courses and associated costing?

An independent professional recently asked me a question:

“Not sure what everyone means when they say instructional design. What if I have several programs that I would like to put on the web as a step by step course and products? How would someone like you handle and develop such a request? Furthermore, what are the average cost for doing so?”

My Response:

About Me:
Honestly, I am engineer who stumbled upon the field of instructional design and e-learning when I got out of grad school 9 years back. I may not be good with the perfect academic definition of instructional design, but throughout my career I have been able to come up with instructionally sound e-learning materials across all the mediums of delivering learning, that were expected of me.

What I would do in the given situation:
If someone like me came across a requirement as hypothecated by you, I would want to immediately take one sweeping look at all the raw and untreated material or content or programs or products and associated documents, that would go as inputs to the desired output series of logically sequenced e-learning courses.

Once I have taken a look at all the content, I would come up with a proposal detailing the instructional approach that would be used to treat the given, input content dump. The proposal document will also outline the total number of hours of e-learning output material developed and the associated efforts and costs incurred in delivering per hour of e-learning output. This inturn would help to translate in terms of the total costing for the entire bulk of expected project work.

I would then come up with a sample 10-screen product concept prototype. This prototype will comprise of the key functional screens (whereby each screen represents a different functionality or a different technique of delivering learning) proposed for an average e-learning course produced as part of the desired project.

You as the hypothetical client, then gets to inspect, review and provide feedback on desired modifications, suggestions or improvements if any.

Prototype Sign-off and Project Contract:
Once the prototype is signed-off and if a contract is won, then the actual project commences whereby the entire bulk of the input raw content dump is scheduled for analysis, design, development, delivery, implementation, and evaluation, along the lines of the initial prototype. Further, this is also along the lines of any further templates or ‘instructional treatment of materials’, as documented in the signed-off contract.

Thus, once again, the average cost can only be gauged upon taking a look at the raw input content dump for the project. Based on this, an average pricing will be shared per hour of e-learning output delivered by the vendor (which in this hypothetical case is me). An hour of e-learning output implies the hour-long worth of seat time incurred by an average member of the target audience in consuming an hour long duration of e-learning course.

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