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First post from a newbie!

Good afternoon to everyone, I was recommended to this site by my COLF tutor as a place to seek and share anything related to onine training.

I've been directly involved in every aspect of training for almost 40 years and just as I was beginning to think that i'd got it sorted, along came Covd and my clientbase disappeared! Like many people I guess, I signed up for loads of free webinars and found most to be delivered by trainers who were taking their standard slide pack and notes and talking to a Zoom camera instead of a live audience.Thankfully, I came across the webinars provided by the Learning and Performance Institute and decided to sign up for the COLF course.

I'd value some views on a couple pf questions about the important practicalities - such as how long does it take you to design one hour of online trainig materials? I know that this similar to the piece of string question, but I'm hoping that there might be some more experienced trainers with some guidleines (or even 'rules of thumb) that might help me to improve my own offerings. I know that it ight be possible to create an hours delivery content in an hour or it might take a day, depending on the content itself.

A little more contenious perhaps, I'd also appreciate any guidance of what to charge for online dleivery and for design. Much of my F2F delivery has been overseas and the clients wouldn't pay for design so the daily rate was adjudsted accordingly - does this work with online  training customers?

My apologies for such a lengthy request - I will try and make it up to you all in the future!

Paul Brennan

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  • Hi Paul,

    Lovely that you found your way here and thanks for posting! You are right, you and many other people found their way to live online learning recently! 

    Great question on the design time, and you are right, it depends on all sorts of things. I've managed to whip together some one-hour webinars in 45 minutes as there's a lot of different material I'm putting together. Other times a one-hour webinar takes a lot more design, playing with the technology and research, so could be a couple of days! 

    I think it depends on a few key things:

    1. How much you know your topic
    2. How much you know about learning design 
    3. How much you know your platform/virtual design
    4. How much you know your audience or potential audiences
    5. What materials you have already
    6. What you need to research/gather
    7. What sign-off or external communication is there with a client

    This from ATD talks about how long it takes to develop various types of learning and an average amount of time is 55 hours. That's a LOT, but probably is the extreme of all of the above conditions. 

    On the other hand, Cindy Huggett's research has found an average development time of 9 hours per hour of delivery. As someone experienced in this work, I head towards Cindy's end of the timing, and tell my clients that it's AT LEAST one day of design per hour of delivery. However if there's more of the above work involved, that could easily be two or more days of design per hour of delivery.

    As you say, it all depends, and a lot of sessions get polished over time. I'm interested to know what other Lightbulbers think too!

    With regards the fee's element - this is a thread you might find interesting and want to comment on:

    I think if your delivery fee includes your design fee face-to-face, you are absolutely fine to continue this. 

    I hope that helps and I look forward to more discussions with you and our community :D 

    How Long Does It Take to Develop Training? New Question, New Answers
    This article is a continuation of former research from 2003 to 2017 that sought to answer how long it takes to develop one hour of training.
    • Hi Jo, wow - what can I say! My sincere thanks for taking the time to provide me with such a comprehensive reply. I'm also looking forward to reading through the links that you sent.

      • Hi Paul, 

        Cindy has just released her new research about virtual classrooms, and this year the average design time has gone up to 12.5 hours per hour of delivery!

        You can see more here…
  • In regard to charges for virtual vs in-prson delivery, my opinion is the only difference should be in travel expenses.

    You're still using the same amount of knowledge, experience, development time etc as you would for an in-person session on the same subject - just not getting in a plane, train or automobile.

    Not travelling doesn't make your expertise less valuable.

    • Hi Helen, many thanks for your kind reply - I love the comments about 'nor travelling' - I will certainly take that on board when I'm deciding my rates!


  • Hi Paul.

    I echo Helen's comments 100%. Charge the same delivery rate as you would F2F. And yes, build in design fees into delivery rates if the client has no separate budget. I typcially charge 50-70% of my delivery rate for design.

    For designing brand new content from scratch (ie that's not been delivered live online before) to be a fully interactive live expereince a rule of thumb I often share is 8 hours per 1 hour of content, especially if you are not the subject matter expert yourself (in other words need to build in time to collaborate with those who are).

    Hope that's of some use.

    Paul Norrington


    • Hi Paul, many thanks for replying. I like the point about the different rates between being a SME or not - for most of my preferred work, I am a SME (that's why I like doing it) but occasionally, client have asked me to provide other courses - the most recent example being a client in Kuwait, who asked me to deliver some Business Writing Skills courses based on my successful delivery of Personal Effectiveness courses!

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