About LAS

LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally. 

Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.

About Tess Robinson

Photo of Tess Robinson

Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.

How much does elearning cost?

By Tess Robinson
Posted 26 March 2021

With the increase in remote working, elearning has never been more popular or essential. If you’re new to it though, it can be difficult to work out how much budget you should allocate for digital learning. 

eLearning can take many, many forms but unfortunately, a lot of the time, it means click-next-to-continue online tutorials. We, therefore, prefer to use the term ‘digital learning’ and have mapped over 30 different forms for our free Digital Learning Diagnostic tool, which helps people avoid getting stuck in the courses / click-next paradigm. 

Asking how much custom eLearning content costs is like asking ‘What will it cost to get me from point A to point B?’ – of course; it depends! You could walk, in which case it’s virtually free, but involves effort and may take some time. Or you could buy a Ferrari and travel in style, having outlaid a lot of money upfront. This is probably not what you want to hear if you’re reading this article, but it is of course the case. So how do you know how much to invest? 

A lot of Return on Investment (ROI) models will encourage you to look at the following:
· Direct costs – the cost of actually designing and building the learning and license fees if applicable
· Indirect costs – wages and benefits paid to learners
· Opportunity costs – time out of the business to learn 

This can be a useful way to justify your digital spend to your bosses when compared to delivering the learning face-to-face. For example, there are obvious savings to be made from employees not travelling to workshops or spending a significant chunk of time in a classroom when they could be working. 

However, there is a much more powerful way to assess what your investment in digital learning should be. The caveat being that it also requires a mindset shift and a stepping up from being a learning order-taker to being, as Laura Overton, puts it a Learning Changemaker. Learning Changemakers tackle organisational challenges not learning problems. 

Instead you: 
· Assess and understand the organisational problem, opportunity or need in the context of overall strategic goals 

· If the problem or opportunity is large then your investment in learning around it should also be significant. This kind of situation lends itself well to custom approaches to the project. These are exactly tailored to encouraging the behaviours that will allow your people to be successful and your organisation to prosper. 

· If it’s a small issue, then invest a minimal amount and use low-cost types of media. For example; starting a yammer group to share knowledge around a topic, using user-generated content or recording some screencasts. 

· Identify what the cost is of doing nothing. Will you miss out on sales, retain less staff, lose business to competitors? Try and put a value on these if you can, as this will also help to give you an idea of how much it would be appropriate to spend. 

Linking learning to strategic organisational objectives in this way, not only means that you are investing appropriate amounts of money and time, but will also lead to the role of L&D being elevated within the organisation. When you are able to quantify how valuable learning is in making a difference to business results, productivity and revenue overall investment in L&D will increase..

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