Friday, November 10, 2006

Who said e-learning comes cheap?

Journalists and regular writers have the unusual habit of sounding what sounds sweet. For instance claims that e-learning is cheap has has rattled the pillars of learning for long. Everyone is gung ho on the "low cost" as they peruse through arbit reports and features on the subject. But that's just a common opinion -- the ground realities say that elearning is definately COSTLY.

Lets consider a scenario in India and calculate the cost factor.

First, the actual competent e-learning resources do not come cheap. This since learning is not about being able to write a script in flawless english and then prinking pictures here and there. True learning experts are people who have honed their skills after years of toil.

At the delivery end, any e-learning course has to run on a system such as an LMS that enables the administrators to track the learning progess. LMS prices are not cheap. Even an average LMS can be bought at nothing less than 40-50lakhs. Add to it the enhancements and maintenance involving a team of programmers.

Finally when the e-learning course is deployed that's not the end. Its just the beginning. Apart from a few subjects such as softskills, most courses would require updations and enhancements. This too requires a cost.

For the ones bugging the naive with all that "cost talk", I suggest that they look at elearning holistically -- the dynamism, the expertise required, the delivery mechanism, the constant maintenance and updations required and so on. Its not a magic pill that will erode all learning problems once and for all.


Praveen Saikia said...

I think this notion about e-learning being cheap cropped up because of some people who do not know wee bit about the industry. You are right...I agree.

Plex Dan said...

a deeper understanding I agree will bring in more maturity and journalist will abstain from making such superficial comments.

James Kariuki said...

In the absence of a costing model for eLearning, and with the ever-increasing need to focus on the commercialisation of education, the ROI models, and the general lack in investigation of what running a simple course online entails, the writers and journalist will make such mistakes to please the management or their audience. The reality however dawns when one takes the first steps towards eLearning. It is time we had a costing model for eLearning that can be used to advice on any eLearning initiative - or at least approximate the price.