E-Learning designers often handle the review process differently depending on the organizations they work for and industries they work in. For some, a course review meant soliciting and managing feedback from more than 20 different stakeholders! For others, the reviewers list was typically a lot smaller — mainly just the project manager and a couple of key SMEs. The number of reviewers can vary a lot from client to client or even from project to project with the same client.
If you’re just starting out in e-learning, or if you’re looking at developing some standardized practices for course development, this might be a topic on your mind too. Let’s take a closer look at who’s involved in the course review process.
Deciding Who to Include
There isn’t really an exact science for determining who should be part of your course review. A lot of it depends on the subject matter of your course, the target audience, and how closely the content needs to align with existing standards (for example, compliance guidelines). The size of your reviewers list can also depend on whether you’re doing a simple course update or building an entirely new course from scratch.
In some cases, you might even need (or want) to have different reviewers look at your course at specific stages of the cycle—for example, your initial prototype might go out to a wide group of reviewers, while your pre-launch beta is something that you invite just a select group of stakeholders to comment on.
To help you think about how to build your roster of reviewers, here’s a list of people who are frequently included:
- Your project sponsor. This is the person who initiated (or is paying for) the project. The sponsor is likely the one who will help champion and support the training once it’s in place. This person will also be a key decision-maker in deciding how the review cycle should work, and helping you identify the people involved at each stage.
- Your SMEs. If there are several SMEs, it helps to have one SME who’s the chief decision-maker in case you receive conflicting review feedback. Your project sponsor can help pick the right person.
- Corporate legal counsel. This is especially important if your content is confidential, compliance-related, or otherwise sensitive.
- Global reps. Pick a reviewer from each geographic region where the course will be used. This will help make sure there are no cultural or language issues with the content.
- Safety or compliance expert. This is a must if your course teaches learners about potentially hazardous equipment, substances, or facilities, or if any of the content is governed by safety or compliance agencies.
- Quality leader. If your course teaches people how to create a product or fulfill some other type of business outcome, it’s helpful to have a quality expert in the loop. This person can make sure your course content jives with the organization’s quality standards and any documented work procedures.
- IT and/or LMS specialist. This person’s important if you’ll need their support or buy-in when it’s time to deploy your course.
- Content editor/usability tester. Find an eagle eye (or two) who can scour your course for typos, animation glitches, usability problems, issues with any of the player controls or functions, and any other oddities.
- Pilot trainees. These are folks who match the demographics of your target learning audience. Pick a few people to serve as guinea pigs and tell them ahead of time that you want their thoughts on anything that seems clumsy or unclear about the course. You’ll probably get some helpful feedback that you wouldn’t otherwise receive, and it’ll likely make your course better.
As you can see, there’s no single “right” answer. The team you enlist to review and sign off on your project depends on lots of factors: the content of your course, the organization or client for whom you’re building it, and your own organization’s protocol for e-learning development. It’s up to you to decide what makes sense for your project.
Now that you know who’s involved in the course review process, you may be curious to learn a bit more about the process itself. Here are some great resources to get your started:
- A Course for Stakeholders on the Review Process
- Why We Love Articulate Review (and You Will, Too)
- Speed Collaboration with Articulate Review
- 3 Ways Articulate Review Is a Big Gift for Course Developers
- 5 Steps to an Easier E-Learning Course Review Process
- Follow These 3 Tips to Put the “Pro” Back in Your Review Process
What about you? Who do you usually include in your review process? Share your experience in the comments section below.