I wonder if anyone else has done any work trying to analyse and average how long they spend trying to produce good quality training solutions? If you have, and have any data, we'd be really pleased to hear from you. We're specifically looking for how long it takes to develop the following:
Would be great to hear from anyone who's tried to log this -is there anyone out there from a consultancy where there are standards for this kind of thing?
Great questions! But how long is a piece of string ;-)
Seriously though, whilst the amount of time to develop anything can vary wildly. As a starter, you may want to take a look at this old forum discussion which certainly has some pertinent metrics (as long as you read all the posts) http://learningandskillsgroup.ning.com/forum/topics/is-this-the-old...
One of the key drivers to the 'how long' question will be determined by your people, their ability and the complexity of the content.
I hope the above is of some use, but please do come back with other questions when you've had a chance to digest the above.
Thanks for this and the useful links. I take your point about all the variables etc. I did find one link which attempted, based on research done in 2009, to lay out minimum and maximum amounts of time that could be expended on various things. However, not sure I quite believe their findings - 40 hours to develop 1 hour of classroom based training? Maybe that's why some l and d practiftioners have such a poor reputation!
Hello again Ruth,
It's interesting that you feel 40 hours development time for one hour in the classroom is too much. My challenge would be, how much time do you think it should take?
I'll return to my original post when I said 'It depends on the content.' Granted that a 'simple' hello and welcome and introduce yourself doesn't take that long to complete but what about all the other 'stuff?' Let me give a real-world example.
A couple of years ago a client asked me to develop a number of video-based scenarios for a one day course. I mention this because the total allowable course time for the scenarios and all the associated learning was one hour. But it took me (and a whole team) literally hundreds of hours to develop. Whilst not an exhaustive list we had to:
. . . I guess you see where I'm going here . .
The results were brilliant. We had 12 scenarios which made a one-hour classroom session both highly interactive and real. Whilst the development time was way, way, way in excess of 40 hours, the resultant material was delivered to over 7,000 people and is still in use today. As an L&D practitioner my client was thrilled; and my reputation was secure.
So, with all that said, I return to my original statement 'It all depends on the content.'
As before, I hope this helps but please do come back with further questions.
Thanks guys for both these posts. Helpful and thought provoking. I can accept that if the "product" has been used with 7000 people and is still in use years on and it's for a dispersed workforce (e.g global), the time invested was well worth it, so the crucial question for L and D managers has to be about the cost / benefit analysis of what you are developing. Sounds like a quality product there Johnathon. Kevin, thanks for the ball park figure. This tallies with something that I heard recently at the L and SG Conference - 3 months to develop one of the short games used as part of someone's Induction to the US equivalent of the MoD, I think.
Hi again Ruth,
Benchmarking the amount of time needed to develop learning materials is a minefield of variables (as you can now probably see). As well as the content; the capabilities and experience of your development teams will make a massive effort to your input time.
Take a moment to watch a Formula 1 pitstop on YouTube. A good one is less than four seconds. Is that therefore the benchmark? Well yes, if you are in Formula 1, have a well-drilled team and millions of pounds of equipment. If on the other hand you or I took a group of our friends and 'had a go' the results would be rather different!
Turning back to L&D, I once ran an e-learning team where our record for developing a one-hour course from scratch (design, storyboard, prototype, scripting, graphics, programming, testing etc.) took less than 140 man hours. Whilst very impressive from a benchmarking point of view, the hard truth is that it took us two years of practice and advanced programming to get to that level.
Reflecting on your original question, what's the real driver for getting a 'benchmark' for materials development? Does it really matter that much to your organisation if you take 10 days to develop an effective classroom course rather than 8? Is time/money/people the real organisational constraint, or does the organisation want effective leaning materials even if thay take a little longer or cost a little more?
It would be good to understand the background to these issues.
I came across the attached some time ago that may be of help
This is a very useful piece of research. Many thanks for sharing it.
We tended to use 8:1 ratio so 8 hours 'design' time to create a 1 hour face to face solution. As our capability has improved around using different tools and media we've looked to develop this further.
We've tried to be more specific to help us forecast resource against projects and try and rate any design in to low / medium / complex design requirements - this is determined during needs analysis but may also change depending on the capability of the designer available and timescales involved.
We then put some estimations based on previous experience around face to face, e-learning, intranet based, interactive PDF, video, audio etc
Concur with all comments below , some key points raised by Jonathan - it all depends on what you want the end product to look like and how well you understand what it is the learners need to differently at the end of the intervention.
Every solution needs to be determined on its own merits and there are so many variables I don't think you can have a benchmark that is steadfast as you need the ability to flex both design and time accordingly.
Useful thoughts everyone, thanks for taking the time to engage.
The reason for having some kind of benchmarking is to support realistic project planning so that we aren't expected to deliver a priority, quality product for all staff next month which actually will take much longer to design. And I think it also helps managers support and manage the people who are developing the training. But yes, it does matter how long it actually takes to do this, particularly at the current time when organisations are cutting back on staff and training! We are at a double pinch point and need to be mindful of that. Of course I accept that, like any project, time scales need to change to allow for changing circumstances etc balanced with the quality of what you'll get if you dont have as much time to develop something etc. All that said, it's more about getting a sense of how long something might take from a point of view of not really knowing about the e-learning aspects. As a designer and deliverer of face to face training, working in the Civil Service many years ago, we were allocated about 5 days to develop a 1 day new course, and I wanted to just check if that measure had changed.
If you take a look at the research cited by Bob you'll find some very useful numbers. I've taken the liberty of extracting some for you pertinent to your original question.
Hope all this helps a little more.