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March 12, 2013


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Colum McAndrew

I had someone comment to me that the figures you quote seem high. Personally I think they are probably about right, although a lot depends on what you are doing and how you do it. For example audio may not be used at all. In my experience adding captions instead of audio in Captivate drastically increases the amount of time it takes to produce eLearning. However this can have big time savings when it comes to localisation.


Hi Kevin thanks a ton for the info!


Great blog on tools.

KellyAnne Eucher

I love the by-minute comparison. My first reaction, like the commenter above notes, was "Wow! That's high"....and then I started doing the math and realized it's right on the money with the hourly figures my team uses. Thanks for sharing.


I had a midwest for profit recently ask me to create 30 hours of lectures in Storyboard for $750, thinking that they would pay $25 an hour of lecture. I remained calm and didn't laugh.

Kevin Siegel

Wow Hannah! I bow in your direction... I don't think I would have remained calm at all. Amazing what little value some organizations place on the level of effort involved in creating eLearning... even with superior tools like Storyline, Captivate and Camtasia.


I love the breakdown of time that you noted. Definitely worth passing along to supervisors that wonder why frustration is the tone of the day when someone wants "knee-jerk" training created! It's key to note that a designer really wants to produce effective training every time, not just when time allows.

Mike Harris

Even though recording screen actions is technically simple, getting it right on the first take can be challenging even if you are well rehearsed. I develop a fair amount of training on web-based custom software. Adobe Captivate sometimes makes a hash of browser screen simulations and troubleshooting can take more time than recording. There's also the issue of resetting the environment for each take. With MS Word, it's trivial. With even a test instance of an application built on a tightly controlled database, resetting is not trivial. When things go wrong, time for recording screen actions can easily reach 30 minutes or more for each minute of run time. Another barrier to rapid production is the occasional need to begin developing training before a system is finished. Cobbling together interactive screens from bits and pieces of static screen shots is extremely time consuming. When project teams make unreasonable demands, it is best to politely say no. The fact that a thing can be done does not mean it should be done.

Linda Jordan

Nice breakdown and information on tools, which I find to be very close to my experience. I do take an exception on your "Recording" estimate. I just love the idea of taking 3 minutes to record a 3 minute narration, but you must be one great voice talent! After nearly 10 years of recording narration, I would triple that estimate. I listen to screens after recording to make sure it sounds right. This immediately doubles the time. An unexpected sneeze, misread, stutter, or realizing that the inflection is not right, or the narration would flow better with a slight rewrite, results in re-recording many screen with yet another listen. I'd also mention that while good narration has been shown to improve learning, I believe bad narration can be very distracting and disengages learners.

Kevin Siegel

Linda, the time it takes to record a software demonstration or simulation does not include voiceover audio. In fact, I never, ever, record my audio at the time I record the demo/sim. We import the voiceover audio into the lesson during the production process, slide-by-slide. (I only record voiceover audio during the recording process for the down and dirty video demos that I have been adding to YouTube lately.) In my experience, given a valid script and rehearsals, a 3-minute process should only take 3-minutes to record. (Assuming no hardware or software hiccups.) Then it's off to production, audio, etc.

Michelle Lockey

So how long do you think it would take to record a 30 min voiceover for a presentation, including rehearsal times.

The script is already written, the voiceover person needs to record the script as written (they will not have the slides or movie to read to)

Time to include: script review, practice and recording ...

Kevin Siegel

I'd budget 2-3 hours just to record the 30 minutes. This will give you time record everything and redo those sections that require it. Keep in mind that this does not include the time it will take to clean up the audio. It will take several hours above and beyond the recording time to remove lip smacks and other noises.

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