According to a study by eCampusNews, the creation of online courses takes several times longer than face-to-face courses. If you are reading these lines, you are most likely interested in how long it takes to create an online course. In this article, we will try to understand what affects the time to create a course. Let’s get started.
Main Factors That have an Impact on How Long Does it Take to Create an Online Course
Three factors significantly affect how long it takes you to create an online course.
1. Course Size
The course size is practically one of the most crucial time influencers in online course development. And this is not surprising, because the number of lessons covered by the topics and their depth directly affects how long you will prepare the course. For example, preparing the script part for an interactive course (in which there is space for text, audio, and video materials) will take twice as long as preparing the text for an introductory level course (approximately 20 hours for an interactive versus 9 hours for a basic one).
If you are creating your first course, we advise you not to bite off more than you can chew and start with basic courses with a couple of lessons. This will give you a core experience, and you will be able to see the results of your work faster. Besides, you can always return to your primary course and supplement the material, thereby expanding your initial creation to a more substantial size.
2. DIY Course or Outsourced
Another criterion that affects how long does it take to create an online course is whether you do all the work yourself or outsource some of the tasks. Also, this point is closely related to the previous one. Suppose you decide to create a comprehensive course on your own. In that case, you risk taking on a considerable number of tasks, including research, planning, preparing course materials, choosing eLearning development software, editing course content, and much more.
Outsourcing specific tasks or the entire eLearning development significantly saves your time. Besides, by transferring the eLearning development to an experienced team, you will speed up the course creation process since separate teams of specialists with experience in the industry will work on each part, be it research, design, or content creation. In our humble opinion, if you want to create a course in the shortest possible time, you should entrust this business to a reliable eLearning development service provider.
3. Your Work Schedule
The way you work on an online course also impacts how long does it take to create an online course. If you decide to make an online course yourself, you will need to schedule your working hours and tailor them to your other personal goals and commitments. And the more time you can devote to work on the course, the sooner you can complete it.
Create an accurate timetable for the course development and set tasks with specific deadlines. When you learn how to handle your working time correctly, course development will go like clockwork.
How Long Does It Take To Create an Online Course? Step-By-Step Overview
It's time to talk about the most exciting part. We will analyze each stage of course creation and how much time it may take for each step.
Step #1. Defining Your Idea (1-2 Days)
Defining Your Idea is the first stage that any course goes through. You start brainstorming to choose an idea and topic that will form the basis of your new online course. However, we want to start with a bit of a tip.
Don't be the Jack of all trades.
It may sound a little odd, but it is. Your first online course does not have to include all the answers to all the questions, even if you desire to cover everything possible within the chosen topic. Don’t forget that the number of lessons and material impacts how long does it take to create an online course. An intelligent approach will save you a lot of time, and secondly, before proceeding to something difficult, it is better to start with something more manageable. Expand one topic in detail, then move on to others, thereby expanding the eLearning course.
For example, you have chosen Photoshop as the topic. You do not need to do your first course of 50+ lessons that will explain in detail each button in the interface, tell the Photoshop creation history, and how to draw a Mona Lisa using a graphics tablet. Create a course for beginners, where you will briefly talk about the interface, the main functions and help students create a simple project in 15 minutes that will help to consolidate the basic knowledge gained in practice.
The ideation stage can last about 1-2 days. During this period, you will choose a topic and sketch in your head what you want to cover in your eLearning course.
Step #2. Outlining (2 Days)
So, you have decided on the idea, and the next step is to create a plan for your course. First, divide your course into significant sections and break each section into smaller sections. Besides, make sure that you do not deviate from the goal set by the course. Your plan should be well-structured and lead to the final destination you have selected. Following our example with Photoshop, the introductory course should teach learners how to navigate the program interface, save and load a project, cut and paste objects and make a simple collage in 15 minutes.
The outlining phase generally lasts two days. The first day is spent on sketching the course structure, the second day on editing it, adding some elements, and finalizing the entire plan.
Step #3. Course Content Creation (3 Weeks)
The course plan is ready, and it’s time to create its central part – learning material. This stage is the leading influencer on how long does it take to create an online course. Here you have great opportunities in the form of material presentation. In our example with Photoshop, you can present the learning material in text format, supplementing it with screenshots. If this option does not suit your vision, you can create a series of video tutorials with screen capture. Also, no one forbids you to make all the training in the form of a click-through presentation. It’s up to you.
The content creation phase can take you around three weeks (creating a short online course). With larger projects, this can take much longer.
Step #4. Launching the course (1 Week)
You have worked hard all these weeks on your course, and now that you have finished the material, you are ready to present it to the people. Launching the online course is a crucial stage that needs to be approached wisely.
When launching your eLearning course, you must simultaneously launch an advertising campaign to attract an audience to try out your online course. If you already have an audience, you can send an email with an invitation to try out the course first. Also, you can create a small video in which you will present your online course, tell about its main points and what awaits the students who enroll in it. Don't forget about social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others. You can make posts directly linked to the course, thereby notifying your friends that you have released training material.
The launch of the course and the advertising campaign should last at least a week. You must push your eLearning course to increase enrollments and sales during this time.
We discussed in detail how long does it take to create an online course from scratch, and as you can see, it can take you about 4-5 weeks to make a simple course from ideation to release. And this figure is still approximate. It all depends on the size of your course and how you build your workflow. However, if you want to create a course as quickly as possible, you should contact a professional team.
Here at Raccoon Gang, we have extensive experience providing solutions for eLearning businesses. If you have an eLearning project in mind, share your idea with us, and we will come up with the most efficient solution that will suit your needs and goals and calculate how long does it take to create an online course based on your idea.