10 May 2021

How long does it take to create quality learning experiences? The time-intensive task of designing training

“Investment in course design can add up to a great deal of time.”

– Elaine Biech, ‘The Art and Science of Training’

Many designers of training content might, on occasion, grumble about two things:

  1. Designing training content takes a lot of time
  2. Other people don’t always appreciate how or why it takes so long

At Understood, we pride ourselves in the quality of both our training content and our course materials. There are a number of steps involved in developing these top-notch learning experiences, such as:

  • Diagnostic work (our ‘UNDERSTAND’ phase): understanding the organisation and its people, through interviews, focus groups, stakeholder consultations, review of relevant data, documentation and customer/employee insight
  • High-level design of the course (flow of the session, key activities)
  • Detailed design of the course, creation of session plans/ trainer notes
  • Development of accompanying resources (handouts, workbooks, slides)
  • Project management
  • Stakeholder reviews and amends
  • Facilitator preparation
  • Pilot course / evaluation

Bryan Chapman, Chief Learning Strategist, from the Chapman Alliance has published extensive research into the time taken to develop different types of learning. Below is a summary of the findings:   

According to this data, for one hour of instructor-led training, it takes on average 43 hours of development time (approximately 5 days). Based on these figures, if you needed a day’s training course for your employees, you could be looking at around 30 days of resource time. Of course, there are economies of scale – developing a six-hour course won’t necessarily be six times as resource-intensive as a one-hour course.

And Chapman’s research is corroborated by a study by Karl Kapp. According to his findings, 43 hours is actually the lowest number of hours (per hour of instructor-led training) – ‘high hours’ would be 185.

These timings might not come as a surprise to training design professionals, but to those investing in the development of learning content they might seem excessive. Both Kapp and Chapman discuss factors that can contribute to development time, such as:

  • The level of bespoking / customisation required
  • Requirements of handouts, workbooks etc.
  • Scope creep (objectives / deliverables changing during the design time)
  • Availability and responsiveness of key stakeholders and subject matter experts

At Understood we offer tailor-made and ready-made training programmes. Our ready-made material aims to improve efficiencies when it comes to time and cost invested in the development of training. It involves an element of tailoring to ensure that it meets your needs (and the needs of your learners), but the core content is pre-designed.

Whatever the level of customisation you opt for, rest assured, we invest (and have invested) time and effort in creating top-quality content. And the feedback we receive from our clients suggests that it’s a worthwhile investment 🙂

If you’d like to find out more about our training solutions, please contact us today!