How much will a 2hr money laundering [or other compliance] course cost??

It is a frequently asked question (and probably asked elsewhere in ths group, but I can't find it) and one that has many, many dependencies. And probably as many different outcomes based on those dependencies. More information is rarely available at this early 'proposal' stage.

So what is your strategy when asked the question and do you have a model or cost matrix to help you estimate?

It's a question that does need a response that includes some cost component, not just a list of questions back, which is the easier response.

What can you suggest, share, or point me to?

In anticipation


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Hi Katherine,


You might find this post from Clive Shepherd useful:


And perhaps this one:



Thanks Mark for the super-fast reply. Both definitely look worthy of a read.

All the best

Hi Katherine,


Mark’s links are excellent and certainly provide a great framework for getting a good idea of the effort involved in developing the course you mentioned.  As you say, it’s a really difficult place to be in the first place!


I’m adding to this post because of your use of the word ‘proposal.’  Would I be right in assuming that you’ve been asked to develop a course on behalf of a paying client (either internal or external); if so then read on, if not then perhaps this reply will be of use to others :-)


When I’ve been asked in the past how much 2 hours of learning will cost to produce (to use your example) I’ve tended to challenge the notion that we already know its 2 hours of learning that is required.  What I’ve found is that clients (both internal and external) can either over-estimate the amount of learning they think they’ll need or (when converting courses from one medium to another) don’t actually know how much learning they’ve already got!  The result is that the wrong amount of information is being used as the benchmark from which to work out your conversion.


To overcome this, I’ve tended to sit down with the client and talk through what content they have and what outcomes they want from the course.  I’ve found this an excellent opportunity to really examine content and to challenge why it’s there, what benefit it brings and whether it can be delivered by other means e.g. pre-course reading.  This approach can also make you stand out from the crowd as it shows you’re taking a real interest rather than quoting some ‘standard’ rate for development.


Once this process has been completed (and it usually is done in a matter of hours, or less) the both you and the client are agreed on the final content.  This then gives you and excellent benchmark on which to perform calculations as outlined in Clive’s blog.


Hope this is of help.



Lots of things here but I have worked with a number of vendors to produce compliance type elearning in a multinational bank. You do need to project scope in detail and always look to end outcomes including how you intend to communicate, but often elearning (asynchronous and synchronous) needs to be evidenced for records keeping in compliance type training/comms. We use a number of vendors (based in UK, India and Singapore) so costs vary and obviously the level of interactivity you want to create adds to costs. Case/scenario/situational based elearning takes longer to develop storyboards for and the scoring logic is more complex so more costly, however more impactful because you want to relate the actual risk to the situation and behaviour. Novel approaches are also worthwhile - designing a 'How do I money launder effectively' is an interesting notion with a game type reward system rather than a typical expositary page turner on what AML policies and procedures you need to follow if front line. A 30 mins AML asynchronous elearning followed by a webinar followed by a email teaser competition may take a total time of 2 hrs but would be more impactful than 2 hours of AML in one eleanring sitting.
It is worth constructing development models if you don't have them. Based on experience, some guestimation and some honest analysis it should be possible to estimate this although as others have said, much depends on customer expectations. It depends on who will do what in the project - who will source media? what is the split on data gathering/storyboarding? How complex are the interactions in the course? Do templates already exist? Having ball park costs for low-end, mid-range and high-end e-learning (with examples to show) is a good place to start. These can be refined as the high-level design progresses.

My answer would simply be: "It depends on how much money you want to launder" :-)


Which is of course akin to a more realistic answer along the lines of "how long is a piece of string?" We do not have a cost model or matrix as there are so many variables to consider - how much work has already been done, how do you intend to present the material, what activities need developing to engage participants around the content, what media will be used, and what needs to be developed (e.g. photos, video, screencasts, user-stories/case studies, etc.)  Our approach is therefore always to ask those questions and to build and agree upon a project mandate and plan with the client. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.


Katherine - I recenlty read a very interesting article which did go some way to help with this "how long is a piece of string" question.

I'm hoping that this article will upload as a file.If it doesn't, let me know and I can send via email directly to you... all the best J


Thanks all for continuing the conversation. Some good pointers and pieces of advice to review. I like the idea of using different modes of delivery for increased impact and variety. Definitely important to match the tone to the intended audience.

Plus some more ideas and questions to build into a selection process.

Thank you



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