Quality Assurance: 4 Easy Ways You Can Test Your eLearning Course for QA
January 13, 2019
It’s no secret that creating and launching a top-notch eLearning course takes a lot of time and effort. With so many moving parts, it’s easy for mistakes to go unnoticed. However, even the smallest design, functionality, or content mishap can negatively impact your bottom line. It’s important for eLearning practitioners to ensure that their course gives its students a positive learning experience. This can be accomplished through proper quality assurance testing.
Quality assurance testing is the process of thoroughly vetting a software program (in this case, an eLearning course) to ensure that both the technical and content aspects of the software meet high-quality standards. If quality assurance testing sounds overwhelming, it’s because it definitely can be. However, with today’s competitive landscape, online educators need any competitive advantage they can get.
Here are 4 easy ways you can test your eLearning course for quality assurance.
Refer To Your Instructional Design
Before you test your eLearning platform for quality standards, it’s important for educators to assess their course’s overall instructional design. Erin Lynch, a senior educator at Test Innovators, defines instructional design as, “identifying the learning needs and learning goals of a group, developing the curriculum and activities that will fulfill those goals, and ensuring that these learning activities are effective.” She states that “instructional design identifies the best practices and methods for creating learning, and then ensures that these methods are working.” Erin adds that instructional design is an important tool because it ensures the effectiveness of a learning experience.
She also states that there are multitudes of approaches, methods, and activities available for learning, so finding the right ones is an important task. For students, instructional design helps to accelerate learning and to eliminate as much confusion as possible.
Think of your instructional design plan as your overall roadmap to success. You should always have your roadmap in mind while you create and test your course.
Best practices for instructional design include:
- Making your course easy to navigate. Set up your modules and menus to be easily maneuverable to ensure a positive user experience for your students.
- Understanding how your students learn. Does the subject matter require you to create more videos or written content?
- Constructing learning activities. To keep your student’s attention, have them perform various activities throughout your curriculum.
- Analyzing your students’ feedback and results. Through the quantitative (test, quizzes etc) and qualitative (feedback from students) data that you gather, look for opportunities to improve your course.
Get a Fresh Perspective
Having one or two designers plan, create, and launch a course may not be the best idea. It would be beneficial for eLearning developers to bring in a fresh pair of eyes to look over the course’s content. Differing perspectives can find grammatical/spelling errors, functionality bugs, and design flaws. A recent article from Smarbear supports this by stating peer reviews, “Save time, streamline the development process upfront and drastically reducing the amount of work required later of quality assurance teams.” Additionally, it’s advised to find individuals who are both familiar and unfamiliar with software development. People with different professional backgrounds can give constructive feedback on varying elements of the course.
You can also use software programs like Grammarly to analyze your written content. Having even the smallest grammatical error can negatively impact your brand’s credibility in the eLearning space. Organizations should do all they can to ensure that their product meets the expectations of their students.
Break Your Course
Stress testing is a popular strategy among professional quality assurance testers. It allows you to see if your software can handle extreme situations. Microsoft recommends bombarding your course with requests from numerous servers to see if your platform can handle high numbers of traffic. The last thing any organization wants is their website to crash when users are actively using your brand’s eLearning technology.
It’s also important for developers to multitest their eLearning platform. Try accessing your course on different platforms. Does your site’s navigation still work on a touchscreen? How does the content look on mobile? Does your eLearning platform work on all internet browsers? You can use a service like BrowserStack to enable your developers to test in different environments.
Quality assurance testing your eLearning course is an essential step into becoming an authority people can trust online. It ensures that your brand is providing the best user experience for its students. Instructional design, rigorous testing, and constant critique can help turn your average eLearning course into a great one.
Featured Image: Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash.
Brandon Jarman is a freelance writer and a technology enthusiast. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his family and watching his favorite sports teams.