How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

Find out how much does it cost to develop an online course, what should you consider in the cost of online course development and other budgeting tips.

Ready to become an online teacher?

Well, not exact yet! 

We are pretty sure you must have done your homework and our previous articles must have proven to be useful, but one major step still remains. 

What’s the budgeting procedure? 

How much will the entire process cost? 

Is it worth the cash? 

This financial planning will lay the foundation for your online course. 

But how? 

Well for that, let’s then take a trip down some numbers!

How Much Will Developing An Online Course Cost You?

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

There are different factors that will come into play when determining the cost of developing an online course. 

This article covers all these factors and real-life examples involved in a course development budget plan.

 This is to help you evaluate your online course and assign the required budget accordingly.

This plan will give you a clear perspective of your pocket’s situation and how much to spend on different areas of your online course. 

So, let’s get started!

1. What are the components of an online course?

First things first.

Before we begin the planning, you need to analyze the different components of your online course that will require some special attention and some greens. 

You need to know who is going to design your course for you. 

It is essential to have this idea in your mind that no matter how effective and influencing your course outline and material may be, it would be a complete waste if not executed and presented properly. 

Your audience would obviously be more interested in an online course with complete pictorial descriptions and other special effects that may boost their learning ability, rather than a simple bland black and white PowerPoint presentation. 

So you need to examine what different components your course can be divided into. 

These components can be the designers and developers that can help you to develop your online course.

We have created a generic outlook of the components of the course that will all sum up to create the online course guaranteed to set records on fire.

The general components division can be somewhat like the following:

  • Instructional Designers—they will help you in developing a scenario-based learning course.
  • Course Designers—they will assist in creating slides and overall designing the course.
  • Course Developers—they will help you in creating special effects in your online course.
  • Voiceover Artists—they can help to improve the quality of your online course.
  • Other Expenses—this category includes some additional expenses like proofreading and editing.

2. How to choose a team?

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

You may need to form a team that will help you in developing your course.

The perfect team must include all the components mentioned above. 

You can either hire a full-fledged working team and establish a ground office.

This will be just like having your own company. 

Or you could hire up some freelancers to do the job for you. 

We recommend choosing freelancers for your initial courses and lectures. 

There are multiple platforms from where you can find freelancers. 

We have taken Upwork as a reference platform in this article.

 3. Budget Planning

Now let’s get down to the actual budgeting business. 

First, you need to decide your budget and set it. 

Now you must wonder about the amount that you need to lock for your budget. 

This can be a perplexing question as new online teachers often get confused about whether to limit the budget as low as $200 or take a leap and set it as $2000. 

We’ll show you a general formula that you could use to evaluate costs in the sections below.

Besides using formulas, you can also make use of tables and charts to present your data.

To ease your mind from this worry, we analyzed the profiles of hundreds of freelancers to determine the average rate freelancers would charge you to develop an online course. 

The results of the budget are given at the end of the analysis. 

Note the rates can vary depending on the length and complexity of the course. 

So let’s analyze the various components.

1. Instructional Designers:

For developing your online course, you first need to consult an instructional designer. They can help to design your course slides on scenario-based learning. Scenario-based learning helps students to grasp the concept easily, so most online teachers go for this method of teaching. Normally on Upwork, the average hourly rate of an instructional designer is $50. On average, instructional designers create complete course scenarios in about 20 hours. So the total cost becomes $1000. The cost directly depends on the difficulty level of the task. Your total budget for this component can be around $600 to $1000.

2. Course Designers:

Course designers design the overall outlook of your course i.e., lecture slides, etc. They work on adding the pictorial segments and illustrations on your online course. On Upwork, the average hourly rate for a course designer is $40. So depending on the quality you want of your course design, the working hours can vary and hence the rates. The course design of the highest quality, containing animations, illustrations, and pictures, costs around $1000 (including the cost of the software used). So typically, the budget range for this component is around $200 – $1000.

3. Course Developers:

Course developers do the job of adding buttons, questionnaires, and additional dialogue boxes on your course to create a more interactive experience for the students. Normally on Upwork, the hourly cost of developers is around $60. The number of working hours, again, depends on the difficulty level of the task. The budget range for this component can be around $300 – $1200.

4. Voiceover Artists:

To create a much more interactive and comprehending environment, most online teachers often hire voiceover artists to provide vocal backgrounds to their courses. On Upwork, the hourly cost for a voiceover artist is $50. So depending on the course parts you want to7 voiceover for, the budget allocation for this category is around $150 – $1000.

5. Other Expenses:

For additional expenses like editing and proof-reading, you need to have some budget saved up. This money could also make up for the minor hiccups that might occur during the development of your online course. The costs of all these additional expenses can be around $500.

4. Budget Allocation:

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

So considering all the budgeting mentioned above, the total budget that you must keep in mind for developing an online course can be as low as $1750. But if you are planning to create the highest quality online course, then your budget should be around $4700. You can reduce these numbers by doing loads of research and equipping yourself with the basic equipment for which you’re planning to hire a freelancer.

What Should You Consider In Developing An Online Course?

Now that you have enlisted the freelancers that you want to work with, the next step is to plan your online course.

This involves determining what you want to include in it and how your hired freelancers are going to work on it. 

For that, consider a few things like the difficulty level of your course, the duration of your course, and the audience of your course. 

You need to do your homework on these factors so that when you contact the freelancers, you would have already established a working ground. 

We’re going to give you a cheat code to make your homework easy. 

Prepare yourself for the following questions:

  1. Who will be the learners of your course?
  2. Why should your learners opt for your course?
  3. What are the aims and benefits of your course?
  4. How will you know you have achieved those aims?

Once you have organized the answers to these questions, let’s move onto the next step.

Course Creation Cost:

We have already discussed in-depth the plan that you need to follow while allocating the budget to your entire journey of online course development, now let’s see the perspective of your potential audience. 

It is evident by now that the course creation costs majorly depends on the complexity of the course. 

You can determine the complexity of the course by defining your potential audience and the course you are planning to create for them. 

There are 3 learning levels of any online course and they have a direct impact on the cost, depending on which level you want to design your course in. So let’s discuss the levels:

●      Level 1:

Level 1 is the most basic level, which is completely non-interactive. It comprises a simple PowerPoint presentation without any graphics or illustrations. These black and white courses have the lowest developing cost.

●      Level 2:

Things step up as we move onto learning level 2. The learning environment and the online course becomes more interactive, depicting animations and illustrations for better understanding. This level contains scenario-based learning. The cost for a course of this level is moderate.

●      Level 3:

The ultimate learning level really upgrades the whole interactive environment as this level offers voiceovers and real-life simulations to the learners. This level is also equipped with some puzzles and games to test the learners. The cost of the development of this course is the highest.

 Course Marketing Cost:

Marketing your course and getting it into the eyes of the students and your potential learners is the most crucial step to bring your online course into the limelight. 

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

Marketing is not free of cost, especially, web marketing. 

You need to set aside some budget exclusively for marketing as well. 

There are multiple ways through which you can market your online course on the web; one of them is paid ads.

Choose the platforms where you and your potential learners share similar interests and post ads of your online courses on those platforms. 

It can cost you as low as $100 or high enough around $500.

The major component of online marketing is social media. 

You need to build your social media profiles on various platforms and promote your courses on those forums. 

Social media would also enable you to get in direct interaction with your future students and this will give you a direct ticket to market your course. 

It is also a very cheap process as it costs you as low as $1!

You can also market your course through email marketing after creating a professional email for your online courses. 

You can then send the email to the masses and lure some attention from the students.

It is also free of cost!

Another method to market your online course is through affiliate marketing. 

You can hire some people for the marketing of your cost and once they get some students enrolled in your course, they receive their commission! 

You can use online tools to manage your affiliate marketing rather than spending $500 on external parties to market your course.

And lastly, podcasts. 

You can create podcasts of your online course and those will definitely guarantee you the attention of valuable students. 

Again, free of cost!

So keeping all these procedures in light, the total budget that you might want to set aside solely for marketing can be around $300 – $500.

How Long Does It Take To Create An Online Course

This is the question which you might encounter a lot. 

How long does the process take? 

This factor relates directly to the difficulty of your course; whether you are creating a mini-course with 5-10 lessons, or if you’re creating an extensive course up to 20-30 lessons. 

For a minicourse, it takes 2- 500 hours to complete the course fully, but with an extensive course, it can take up to 8 weeks.

Now there are various factors that will impact the duration of making your online course.

How Much Does It Cost To Develop An Online Course

Some of them are the following:

●   The complexity of the course:

The complexity level of your content decides how big your course actually is. The more complex it is, the greater time it will take in finishing. Complexity also depends on the number of lessons you are planning to create for your online course. The more complex your course is, the greater would be its selling price. For example, if your course has 5-20 lessons, you can sell it for around $50 – $200. And if it’s an extensive course, you can sell it for $200 – $2000 and more!

●      Work Division for the Course:

This factor also has a great impact on whether you would design your course all by yourself or if you would hire up some freelancers. The greater the work division of your course, the quicker it will be created.

●      Your Working Schedule:

This is also a vital factor as it depends on your working routine and how you will finish up developing your online course. We would definitely recommend hiring some extra hands i.e., freelancers, to get the job done quickly!


We really hope this article proved useful and gave you a clear image of the amount you need to reserve for your online course development. 

Good luck in your new online teaching venture! 

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