WBT is so new and so diverse that cost estimating is more a matter of wishful thinking than scientific method. Few organizations report costs, especially for projects that run over budget. Even the available figures are hard to interpret. What exactly is an hour of instruction? What costs are included? Are costs of instructional design and subject-matter research included? How complex was the project? And, oh yes, how effective was it? Let's look at a very simple analysis of the costs of a WBT project. The first compares total costs of WBT to those of classroom training. The second analysis calculates the return on investment garnered by switching from classroom training to WBT.
The following spreadsheet shows a comparison of costs between classroom and WBT versions of a course. It illustrates the kind of comparison you might do before beginning a WBT course.
In the following sections we will explain this comparison of costs line by line.
Keep in mind that this analysis is very simple. I have completed other estimates that took into account hundreds of factors but have not found them more accurate than those that considered only the most important factors. It seems that we can make precise estimates, just not accurate ones.
Per-course costs represent the costs that the course producer pays once ...