The elephant in the room

The thought of taking your training online is exciting. You think about how much easier it will be to manage, how convenient it will be for your learners, and how you will be able to reach all corners of the world with your snazzy new e-courses. You do your research and find a great company, like Bridgewater Learning, who can help you with each and every one of your e-learning requirements. It’s so easy!

And then the issue of cost barges elephant-like into the room, knocking over that picture of your adorable cat and stripping your beautifully nurtured peace lily down to a twig. The fear that the costs will be extravagant makes you want to quietly slide towards the door and abandon your e-learning dream to that trunk waving nuisance.

That fear is not unfounded. e-Learning can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be.

Development can be tailored to use the last drop of the budget

If you’re in the position of already having a sizeable budget allocated to your online training endeavours, then you’re one of the lucky few, but often the available funds can resemble the awkward bit of juice at the end of a carton. You can’t waste it, but you also worry that it won’t be enough to satiate your newfound thirst for e-learning. It’s a dilemma.

The good news is that an e-learning development can be tailored to suit the budget, even if it’s the last sip. Better yet, the end product doesn’t need to be cheap and nasty either. This means that you don’t have to wait or compromise too much to take your training online.

We offer our clients four levels of development ranging from affordable to big budget. The differences between them are determined by the design of the course, the features that are included and the level of your involvement in the development process.

If you’d like to find out more about each level and arrange a demo let us know, but the basic gist is as follows:

Level 1:

You provide the reading material or course content in a ready-to-go format.  We provide guidance for design, an LMS on which to securely run the training, and minor development input (e.g. assessment building) as needed. It’s not a glamorous option, but it lets you keep a large portion of the costs in-house, gets you to market quickly, and provides a foundation for enhancing the course down the line when more funds are available.

Level 2:

This is a quite a big step up for a relatively low cost. It’s built for mobile and predominantly text-based with quality graphics and simple interactions.  We can also include videos and any other media that you might have. The trick is that there is no voice over, so there’s no need for animation, which means a shorter development cycle and a significantly lower cost in the end. No voice over also makes the course easy to translate or update. Furthermore, we’ve found that a co-development model, where you do the scripting, works like a charm and saves even more bucks.

Level 3:

At this point we start introducing voice over, motion graphics and advanced interactions. Think of explainer videos, illustrated courses, branching scenarios, and other engaging styles, all carefully mapped out to increase knowledge retention and motivation. This may or may not include responsive design depending on the requirement and the budget. If you need to avoid literacy barriers and generate a bit more excitement, then this is a popular choice for e-learning design.

Level 4:

This is e-learning on steroids. If you’re looking to wow your staff or clients while educating them and have a hefty budget to do it with, then this is where you want to be. Production might include video interviews or acted scenes, animations, professional voice artists and custom photography, all coming together to create an absorbing, branded learning experience that learners certainly won’t forget.


Of course, the question of which level is best for your project should not only be a cost consideration. First and foremost, the decision should be based on which approach will best meet the objectives of the training. After all, there is no point in allocating budget to something that is not going to be effective.

Lastly, while we refer to four levels here, it’s really more of a sliding scale where the levels and features may be mixed and matched to suit the requirements. If you like the affordability and flexibility of level 2, but want a little more flare, no problem. Let’s produce and embed a little bit of custom video content as well, or introduce some storytelling in the form of audio clips. Or, how about a modular programme made up of little bits of the various levels?

Whatever your need and regardless of whether your budget is a sip or a surplus, a smidgeon or a smorgasbord, you can relax in the knowledge that your e-learning aspirations can still be met in a number of different ways. And, of course, we’re here to help.  It’s time to chase that flappy eared beast out of the room.

By Paul Smit, Development Manager at Bridgewater Learning