Let’s say you spent the past few months designing and developing an amazing e-learning course, and just added your last slide. As eager as you may be to finish, 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 project, and here are four reasons why:

1. Check if learners “get it”

You may 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 that 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—such as a written form or online document—and ask them to note places where they are confused by the instructions or unsure where to click. This new set of eyes will give insights that you’re often too close to observe. Once you’ve compiled this data, you should adjust your course as necessary.

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. This way, your learners learn the correct information the first time, and you don’t have to make edits after it’s already published and posted online.

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.

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.

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