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11011 - First time CBT designers requesting advise from wizards

by - Joel Benson

Article appears courtesy of Danny Engelman’s Gems and Jewels of the AWARE list

Related link
Selecting and Implementing CBT: CBT Training Dimensions

In a message dated 96-09-24 16:24:57 EDT:

Hello, I work for a video production company that has recently gotten into interactive multimedia using Authorware. The problem we are having is that we know how much the video production costs, but we do not know anything about pricing the Authorware development and neither do our clients. We have not developed a product with Authorware yet and so we know very little about time involved.

I know that there are many variables involved in developing interactive material but clients insist on a ball park figure. How have you Authorware wizards handled this? Do you have any advise and or suggetions?

Any comment would be most gracious appreciated. :)

Patrick MacDonald
Wanna-be Authorware Developer


Pull up a chair and two beers (you pay for the beers), sit down, and listen:

You ask, "How much for CBT (Computer Based Training)?".

I ask you "How much does a car cost?"

You say, "Well, gee, what kinda car? I mean, do you want a beater? a BMW, a Testarossa? Do you want tinted glass? Pinstriping? Tape or cassette player?"

I tell you "STOP being so VAGUE! Quit dancing and tell me how much a car costs?"

You think for a moment, order me another beer (I just quaffed mine), and say, "Well, depending on what you want, generally, anywhere between $2000 and $144,000".

I say "Cool, I'd like a Testarossa for $2000".

Now, let's flip back to your original question....

You ask, "How much for CBT?"

I say, "Well, gee, what kinda CBT? I mean, do you want video and audio? Cross-platform? Inter/intranet hooks, a CMI front-end? Do you want 8-bit color? ODBC connectivity? Custom graphics? Tape or cassette player (I usually throw this in ALL my CBT projects)?"

You tell me "STOP being so VAGUE! Quit dancing and tell me how much CBT costs?"

I think for a moment, order myself another beer (on your tab), and say, "Well, depending on what you want, generally, anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000 per CBT hour".

You say "Cool, I'd like MPEG video for pc AND Mac-- also over the Intranet with CMI, 24 bit high-end custom graphics, custom interactivity, with the tape cassette--do you by chance have 8-track?--for $20,000".

So you see the basic dilemma in asking and why you will get much hand-waving over this question. I will take a stand here and give you some hard numbers to play with (after all, you just bought me 3 beers).

For more than 3 hours but less than 7:
1 platform (Mac or Win)
No audio
No video
No inter/tranet hooks
No CMI (Computer Managed Instruction--allows user tracking)
No Custom interactivity (a lot of the same stuff--click and read, type your
answer, click your answer)
8 bit color
Storyboards fully developed for CBT programming
Comfortable and solid relationship with the client (very important)
1 more beer
Cassette player with one tape of Esquivel's "Space Age Bachelor Pad Music".
$20K per hour.
For longer than 7 hours and a stable project, the price drops to about 17K or so per hour.

For the same amount of hours but with:
Significant audio
Significant video
Inter/tranet hooks
Full scale CMI with ODBC connectivity
8 bit color
High-end custom graphics
All material currently as stand-up training and/or paper-based or not developed at all
First time with client or client location is politically unstable
1 Sharp's beer
CD-ROM player with Van Morrison's "Moondance" AND Cirque Du Soleil's "Mystere" CD.
80-100K per hour (depending on how much you need/want the torture) For longer than 7 hours and a STABLE project, the price drops to anywhere from 40K-70K per CBT hour.

Finally, as you wave the waitperson over for another beer for me, you ask "what the hay is a CBT hour?"

I laugh (ha ha), grab the beer, introduce it to my liver, and ramble on.

A CBT hour is how much time a user is expected to sit in front of your CBT application for one hour. Once again, to put a pin on the map with this, you can guestimate it as being about 30-50 screens depending on if each screen is a multiple choice question screen (3-4 minutes) or a "read one sentence and go to the next screen" (10-30 seconds) screen. Keep in mind that what is on paper is different than what you finally put on the screen. So if you are just grabbing paper-based curricula (jeez, I've wanted to use that word for over two years!) keep in mind that you have--generally--a conversion factor of about 60% i.e. 10 hours of paper-based training is equal to ABOUT 6 hours of CBT.

Print this up, present it to your client, and thank the Gods that you printed
it on paper when they attempt to bludgeon you to death with it.

Best of Luck.

Joel Benson
Multimedia Professionals, Inc

Oh, thanks for the beers.…

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