Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources: Helpful Resources

In this blog post, I will look into few resources that could help in estimating activity duration in projects, resource cost and effort associated with instructional design projects. The first resource is a blog post by Donald Clark about “Estimating Costs and Time in Instructional Design” the post is available through this link

This blog post starts with a general description about budgeting for training programs Clark (2010) explained that the budget of training programs will not be complete from the beginning, and it evolves through the ID process as we are evaluating and adjusting the design.  Clark (2010) then provides guidelines of costs associated with ID projects; in addition, he lists average estimated times and associated costs for developing e-learning components. These components include, instructor preparation time, seat time and multimedia development time (Clark, 2010).  Finally, he provides an excel sheet listing the various tasks in the ID project and cost of each resource through two worksheets and worksheet with notes. I believe that this sheet along with the data provided in the blog post could help any instructional designer in understanding budgeting for training programs.

A character juggling schedule, cost and perforamnce

The second resource is an article on “Labor Burden & Profits – Employees Real Cost and How Much you Should Charge” by Diane Gilson. The article is available here

In this article, Gilson (n.d.) explained in details the many aspects that constitute the employees’ salary; when developing a project budget, the instructional designer should carefully calculate the real cost of the hourly rate for resources. The hourly rate includes the normal hourly rate of an employee and the labor burden costs, which is the costs that the employee incur above the hourly rate (Gilson, n.d.). These burden costs could be transportation to/from any location, travel, vacation time during the project, health insurance and other benefits (Gilson, n.d.). The article provides examples and lists many aspects that contribute to the employee’s true hourly rate.

Another resource that I found very helpful is MS Project software that could be used to easily enter each task, its duration and the associated resources. This webpage provides tips and tricks that could help when creating a project schedule. While MS project comes with the fee, I looked into free tools which could be used to estimate costs and durations; this article provides free alternatives to MS project like using Excel sheets to develop cost estimates. The author suggests the use of the templates in Excel which is available through MS Office and is commonly used on various computers. I went to Excel, selected “New” from the menu and then typed project management in the search area; the search resulted in many templates for risk management, communication plans and template for a project cost summery. Additional, I found a template for event management project tracker with ready worksheet to calculate durations and costs; this template could help in calculating time and cost for events associated with trainings. Below is an image form this template.

Event Management Tracker fro MS Excel

Event Management Tracker from MS Excel


Clark, D. (2010). Estimating costs and time in instructional design. Retrieved from

Gilson, D. (n.d). Labor burden & profits – Employees real cost and how much you should charge. Retrieved from

[Untitled image of a character juggling cost, schedule and performance]. Retrieved November 29, 2012 from


4 Responses to Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources: Helpful Resources

  1. Melissa says:

    Thanks for the helpful resources! The details in Labor burden & profits – Employees real cost and how much you should charge (Gilson, n.d.) were extremely helpful. Additionally, I definately use the excel templates to determine labor costs.

  2. Jenny Benack says:

    Hey Daliah!

    I really love the Excel spreadsheet you shared! I too was searching for good templates to use and adapt for my course project. By identifying resources that are already available to us, we are really able to save some valuable time and do not have to “reinvent the wheel”. Excel seems to be a popular tool that many of our classmates identified this week. How do you think that Excel can help to simplify and organize our project planning?

    Enjoy your week!


    • daliahanna says:

      Thanks for your question. Excel could be used for both the schedule and cost estimates; in addition, it could be used for risk planning, communication planning, and general project monitoring processes. Dalia

  3. Pingback: Estimating Costs and Allocating Resources | Learning Explored

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