Quality Assurance (QA) testing is a big part of e-learning course development. While I think it’s safe to say that this is no one’s favorite part of the process, that doesn’t make it any less important.
In a recent discussion entitled “What is your testing or QA process for e-learning?”, my fellow community manager Nicole Legault asked you about your QA testing process, and you answered! Since this topic is fundamental in the e-learning development process, I thought I’d recap the discussion so everyone can benefit from your amazing advice.
1. Get Someone with a Fresh Set of Eyes to Review Your Course
As Ashley Chiasson pointed out, when you’ve been working on a project for awhile, it is often difficult to spot small errors such as typos or spelling mistakes. Whenever possible, it is a good idea to find someone who is not directly involved with the project to review your course, for example, a co-worker, a manager, a trusted friend, or even a parent, like Tracy Parish suggested. However, be careful not to share any confidential information with someone who has not signed a confidentiality waiver.
2. Include a Set Number of Review Cycles in Your Project Plan
Depending on the project and the number of stakeholders involved, you may have more or fewer review cycles. This is something you should determine at the beginning of the project, as more review cycles leads to more production time, which should be factored into your project plan. In addition to setting a fixed number of review cycles, Ashley Chiasson recommended setting a timeline for each review cycle. She also suggested specifying the type of changes that the reviewers should request for each review cycle. For example: content changes should be limited to the first review cycle so that the voice-over does not need to be re-recorded.
3. Keep an Issue Log
Keeping track of all the feedback you receive during these review cycles can be challenging, so it’s important to be organized to ensure that you implement the requested changes from one version to the next. Andrew Winner explained that he creates an issue log in the form of a Google spreadsheet so that all the stakeholders (project managers, project team, SMEs, etc.) can view and edit the document in real time.
For those of you interested in doing the same thing, download this Excel template, import it into your Google Drive, and you’ll be up and running in no time!
Pro tip: Sometimes the issue descriptions seem straightforward to the person writing them, but are completely incomprehensible to anyone else. That’s when screenshots can come in handy! If you have a PC, the Snipping Tool is a fast and easy way to take screenshots and add annotations (circles, arrows, etc.). You can then paste them into the Issue column of your spreadsheet.
If you are on a Mac or you just want to be able to share your screenshots instantly, Droplr is a cheap (not free) option. Like the Snipping Tool, it allows you to add annotations to your screenshots, but the difference is that it then uploads them to the cloud and you gives you a link that you can share with anyone you like.
Obviously, these suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg! Check out these resources for more great QA testing advice:
- The Top 4 Reasons to Test Your E-Learning Courses
- 10 Things to Consider Before Your E-Learning Course Goes Live
- The Ultimate E-Learning Design and Development Checklist
What about you? What does your QA testing process look like?
Share your own tips and tricks in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.