Quality Assurance Testing for Courses
When we were school-aged children, our teachers would constantly remind us to ‘check our work’ before handing in tests, quizzes and homework. Why? Because inevitably, there would be mistakes and oversights that could have been easily avoided had we taken the extra minute or two to recheck our work.
Did we heed their advice? Not likely.
Fast forward to adulthood, and not much has changed – except that we may now recognize and appreciate the need to ‘check our work.’
Granted, quality assurance testing for eLearning courses may not be the sexiest task, especially as we gaze at the ever-so-temptingly-close finish line at the other side of that testing. But just one functionality failure is enough to impress upon us the importance of testing – if you don’t inspect what you expect, your work was nearly all for naught.
So here is a three-tier quality assurance checklist so you can be sure your eLearning is hitting the mark – and what to work on if it doesn’t.
Basic Quality Assurance (QA)
Make sure all elements referenced and needed are present.
Spelling & Grammar
Check all on-screen and closed-captioning text for typographical and grammatical errors.
Make sure that the font size – and style – works on both mobile and desktop.
Check that language, style and tone are in line with your organization’s values.
Make sure that basic functionality – clicking a button, audio is clear and easy to understand – well, functions.
Check that the course launches correctly and loads in a reasonable amount of time.
Verify that if a learner chooses to exit, that the course properly exits out.
Intermediate Quality Assurance
This phase of quality assurance identifies learning needs and goals, develops the curriculum and activities to reach those goals, and ensures that they are effective. Your instructional design should serve as your overall roadmap as you create and test your course.
Some best practices include:
- Ensuring your course is easy to navigate to ensure a positive user experience.
- Recognizing how your students prefer to learn and cater the course accordingly.
- Engaging students’ attention by deploying various activities throughout the curriculum.
- Analyzing feedback and results in order to identify opportunities to improve the course.
Seek Outside Perspective
This is a great opportunity to try ‘the grandma test’ wherein you choose a ‘grandmother’ or ‘grandfather’ – but really it can be anyone who doesn’t work for your organization – to take your course for a spin and then ask them to tell you what they learned and how long it took them to complete. If they can’t figure out what to make of your course or worse, if they can’t navigate it, you probably need to dial it back and simplify.
Try To Break The Course
Stress testing is a popular strategy which encourages inundating your course with requests from numerous servers to see if your platform can handle high traffic.
Additionally, you can:
- Test the most common browsers – Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari – to ensure compatibility.
- Make sure your course fits inside the screen parameters of any intended device, can be viewed and zoomed easily, and operates without error.
- Check orientation changes so that your course works in both portrait and landscape mode.
- Make sure bookmarking works so learners can easily and quickly return to the screen from which they exited.
- Verify that assessments operate, save, and score correctly.
Advanced Quality Assurance
You’ve checked the four most common browsers – but there are still older versions of common browsers in use. As such, there are programs and apps that can run your course through an older browser emulator to further confirm compatibility.
Your course can be poised to change the world – but if it doesn’t work in an LMS, the world will never see it. There are several LMS test applications available in order for you to properly emulate the course’s LMS performance.
Regression testing is re-running functional and non-functional tests to ensure that previously developed and tested software still performs over the development of the course.
Quality assurance, tedious though necessary, is a critical step for ensuring that your eLearning courses provide the best user experience, turning an ordinary course into an extraordinary one.