Let’s say you spent the past few months designing and developing an amazing e-learning course, and you just added your last slide. As eager as you might be to call it done, there’s one more task you should do before you publish and share your course with learners: test your course. Testing is a critical phase of your e-learning design work, and here are four reasons why.
1. Check whether learners “get it”
You might have lived and breathed your course for months, but your learners haven’t, and you need to see how they’ll fare. Find a few sample learners who fit your audience’s profile and ask them to complete the course from start to finish. Either on video or in person, observe where they get hung up as to how to proceed. Give your testers a way to provide feedback—for example, via Review 360—and ask them to note places where they’re confused by the instructions or unsure where to click. This new set of eyes will give you insights that you’re often too close to observe. Once you’ve compiled this data, adjust your course as needed.
2. Review accuracy of information
It’s always tough when your manager or subject matter expert (SME) hands you a list of missing details or “minor” adjustments after you’ve finished your e-learning course. So plan to give your SMEs and other stakeholders plenty of time to review the content for factual accuracy before you distribute your course. That way your learners get the correct information the first time, and you don’t have to make edits after the course is already published and posted online. If you don’t have a review process in place, check out this article to learn how to create an effective one.
3. Test functionality
If you’ve built in some interactions, you should definitely test the final course to see how these elements look and function in the published output. Navigate the course every way possible to experience every single scenario your learners could encounter. Try each of your drag-and-drop activities, click-and-reveal tabs interactions, animations, and links to make sure they work.
4. Catch spelling and grammar errors
Typos and grammar mistakes in your e-learning course take away from the overall professionalism of your work. Take the time to thoroughly review your text for spelling and grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, and overall consistency in voice and tone. It is often a good practice to have someone else do this review for you, as it’s hard to review your own work.
Taking a little extra time to test your course before you share it with learners can save you a lot of time fixing avoidable problems like these after you publish, when your reputation’s at stake.
Looking for more tips on how to test your e-learning course and what to look for? Here are some articles you might want to dive into:
- Top 4 Tips for E-Learning Quality Assurance (QA) Testing
- Your Handy E-Learning Course Review Checklist
- QA Testing Your Localized E-Learning Courses
Do you have any personal experiences with testing an e-learning course? Any other reasons you would add to this list? If so, please leave a comment below; we love to hear your feedback!
Remember that you can always sign up for a fully functional, free trial of Articulate software. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.