Top Reasons to Test Your Online Courses for Quality Assurance (QA)
You did it: you created an amazing, information-packed course that learners are going to love. They will love it…right? That little voice in your head that’s questioning a section or unsure about the visuals is called “Quality Assurance” (QA) and you should definitely listen to that voice! QA is a critical component to course architecture and, best of all, it allows you to prove your concept to yourself so you can feel great about putting everything you have behind its launch. So before you cross that finish line, here are our top reasons why QA is critical to every course launch.
Why is QA Critical For e-Learning Courses?
eLearning is a largely remote process, which means you don’t get to be privy to the user’s experience. If there’s a functionality failure, you may not know about it before it’s become an all-too-common experience for your learners, which can reflect poorly on your brand. Just as you ensured you utilized the best possible authoring tools by rigorously and strategically testing your courses, you can feel confident that you’re providing a high-quality course that reflects the hard work that went into creating it. User experience isn’t the only upside to QA testing, though! Here are three other areas where your efforts can pay off big time by allowing you to:
1. Prove people actually want to take this course.
Nobody wants to create a course that learners aren’t interested in. Before you launch a course that misses the mark, testing allows you to confirm that there are students out there who want to spend their money on your valuable content.
2. “Kickstart” your revenue with a pre-sale.
By giving people a chance to learn more about your course and take advantage of pre-sale pricing, you’re getting the winning combo of early revenue and email collection.
3. Build your contact list.
Sharing your planned content and engaging with potential learners by asking them for their contact information ensures you’ve got an audience ready-to-go as soon as your course launches.
Okay I’m sold, so how do I QA the right way?
You’re really speaking our language now! Here are some tips that we keep in mind when we go through the QA testing process at Vector Solutions.
Our 5 Top Tips for Doing QA The Right Way
1. Break out our QA Testing Checklist.
We’ll take you through the three categories of QA testing:
- Beginner: This is the surface level stuff including proofreading, font consistency, and basic functionality, like ensuring audio buttons are working, course content is loading and exiting the course works properly.
- Intermediate: This phase digs deeper into the curriculum and activities of the course and ensures that they are effective. Areas to assess are instructional design, user experience of course navigation, intentional catering of the content to your learners, and gathering and analyzing feedback from learners through surveys and test groups.
- Advanced: This phase is where the big guns come out! You put your course through the paces by testing it on various browsers, emulating the course’s LMS performance and regression testing software.
2. Get fresh eyes on it.
We’ve all missed some pretty obvious errors because we’re way too close to the content. A set of fresh eyes can give you a better sense of what the user’s experience will be – and snag any errors you might easily miss after doing your 97th review of the material! Choose testers who are entirely outside your field or organization so that they have a completely objective perspective on the course.
3. Break it down (and try to break it).
Reviewing the entire course as a whole for form, content and function is a lot to take in. Breaking it down into components can help you attack one area at a time. Think through the format of the course, the content of the course and the visual and auditory experience of taking the course separately, noting any issues. Push your course to the limit by “stress testing” it. Your learners will find issues, so it’s far better for you to know up front before you launch.
4. Keep an error log.
If you find a mistake, log it. This will give you an audit trail to help you keep track of whether changes have been made and the status of any outstanding items.
5. Take your time.
After all the work you’ve put in, we know you’re ready to launch. This last critical step needs time to get it right. If you need to get something live, consider offering a pilot course at a lower rate and using the feedback from those learners to further improve your course before fully launching at a higher pricing.
QA Is In Our DNA
At Vector Solutions, we continuously test and validate our courses to ensure that they’re providing valuable, modernized content for learners. We’re proud to offer high-quality training for the everyday heroes who support our communities through comprehensive solutions that keep them safe at work and school, train on the job to mitigate risk, and develop the next generation of highly-trained leaders.