How long does it take to create an online course?

Since you are here to learn how long does it take to create an online course you probably have an idea for a course.

That’s good.

As always, let’s see the interest about online courses over the time in Google Trends.

how long does it take to create an online course

OK, let’s say it as Vegeta would say it:

Risultato immagini per it's over 9000

That’s why it’s very important for every company, solo entrepreneur and marketer to learn as much as possible about online courses.

To make you understand the importance of online courses and the volume of money that it currently moves, just take a look at this article that explain how much top online teachers are getting paid.

How long does it take to create an online course?

An appropriate answer would be “it depends on the type of course you are trying to create”.

But since I like objective answers, I’ve crunched some data to make your evaluation easier.

Structuring your course

First things first: you have to create the syllabus of the course you’re trying to assemble.

While it varies from one course to another, building a course is a lot like building an house. So the foundations are a very important piece.

  • For a course of 3 to 6 hours you’ll spend about 1.5 hours making the syllabus.
  • For a course of 7 to 15 hours you have to put 3 hours of work upfront.
  • From 16 hours and above you’ll spend about 6 hours planning all the content you have to produce.

A syllabus is of paramount importance in this phase because it gives you an idea of how much content you have to produce.

Having a well structured syllabus gives you a rough idea of what to expect in terms of time commitment.

Planning the type of content and creating it

Now that you have your syllabus, you can actually plan the type of content you want for each of the points. After we take a look at this part you’ll know how long does it take to create an online course.

An online course is usually made up of videos, pdf files and quizzes.

The most time consuming between the three of them are videos. Making a single 5 minute video can potentially take:

  • 15 to 30 minutes to record your screen. The range is wide because it depends on what kind of recording you are performing: are you screen recording or are you recording yourself speaking? Or both?
    Screen recording usually is done without too many takes.
    Hint: consider registering your voice after you trimmed and cut the video, so you’ll spend less time on registering audio multiple time.
  • 25 to 45 minutes if you are recording yourself talking. You are going to have many takes and you will also have to memorize the talking part.
    Hint: always write the talking part so you can read it while recording, or better, you can memorize it.
  • 90 to 180 minutes if you’re doing both of the forementioned recordings.

After the recording part, here comes the video editing part, which can be very time consuming, especially if you aren’t very good in the field.

To speed things up you could hire a professional video editor on Fiverr or on Freelancer to edit the video for you.

Video Editing

If you don’t want to hire a professional video editor or you are creating your first course and you’re doing it on a budget, you’ll have to learn video editing.

At first, learn simple editing, so simple fades, simple video cuts and so on.

If you’re doing it on a budget it should be sufficient. Rememeber that for every 5 minutes video you’ll create, it’ll take you about 1 or 2 hours of your time to make simple edits.

Online Course Marketing

This is another time consuming task. But, if you are a reader of Smart Striving, you know that marketing is essential for a business. And don’t think for a moment that online courses aren’t a business.

Here you’ll have many options. If you’re using a platform, such as Udemy, they’ll probably take care of some of the marketing but you’ll better do your own part too.


Remember Pinterest, for example? Or if you find a subreddit (please do not spam, the key is creating useful content) create something that would be great value for the users of that sub and put a link on your newly created course.

If you’re just starting, consider using a platform for online courses, such as Udemy or Teachable, so that they’ll do much of the grunt work for you.

Conclusion: How Long Does It Take To Create An Online Course?

Here’s the answer for a medium length course of about 6 hours of video content.

  • Video shooting: 30 hours.
  • Video editing: 72 hours (considering 60 minutes for every 5 minutes of video content to edit)
  • Online Course Marketing: non stop from launch.

So for a course of 6 hours of video content you’ll spend approximately 174 hours to create it. Divided by 8 hours per day you get 22 days of work.

If you are a beginner add 10-15 days to the above number.

Leave a Comment