QA Testing Your Localized E-Learning Courses

Quality assurance (or QA) testing is when you review your e-learning course to catch any potential issues before your course gets into the hands of learners. This could include anything from improper grammar to confusing navigation. It’s an important part of any e-learning project because without it you could end up delivering a course that doesn’t work for your learners.

It can be tempting to skip QA testing for the localized versions of your course. After all, you’ve already been through it once with the original version, so it’s good to go, right? Not so fast!

Translators are human. They make mistakes. And since they’re likely not experts on your course topic, it’s also possible for them to misunderstand—and therefore mistranslate—certain things. E-learning developers also sometimes introduce errors or bugs when they’re importing the translation into the authoring app, and if they don’t speak the language, they might not notice. So if you want to make sure each localized version of your course works properly and makes sense, having QA testers with an eagle eye is key. 

In this article we’ll walk you through the four steps you need to follow to properly QA test your localized courses.

1. Select Your QA Testers

Before you can start the QA process for your localized courses, you’ll need to find a QA tester for each target language. This could be members of the project team, other coworkers, or, in some cases, professional QA testers. 

Choosing the right person for the job is crucial, as the quality of your localized courses rests on their shoulders. Ideally, you want someone who is:

  • A first-language speaker of the target language or someone with a high level of fluency, so they can pick up on things like register (i.e., the level of formality), tone, style, and nuances.
  • A good writer and speller in the target language, so they can catch spelling mistakes, typos, and grammar errors. Just because someone speaks a language doesn’t mean they’re an ideal QA tester.
  • Fluent in the source language (the language your master course was designed in), so they can compare the localized course to the master course.
  • From or has lived in the target region for an extended period of time, so they understand the ins and outs of the culture.
  • Detail-oriented, so they’ll catch any mistakes.
  • Committed to your project, so they’ll make time to review your course when you need them to.

2. Draft a QA Test Plan

Now that you’ve picked out your QA tester, you can set them up for success by creating a test plan—which is a document that walks testers through all the steps they’re expected to test. After all, if they don’t know what to test, they might skip some items, which could mean glossing over mistakes.

Here’s an example of what a simple QA test plan might look like:

  1. Walk through the entire course from start to finish three times, clicking on every button.
    • The first time you do the quiz, select only correct answers.
    • The second time, select only incorrect answers.
    • The third time, select a mix of correct and incorrect answers
  2. Click on all the items in the menu.
  3. Click on all the player tabs.
  4. Go through the course again in reverse order, clicking on all the Previous buttons.

Obviously, the more complex your course is, the longer your QA plan is likely to be. And you want to make sure to include as many details as possible so they don’t miss any key steps.

3. Make a QA Test Checklist

Along with your QA test plan, you need to provide testers with a checklist of things to look out for. This can include translation accuracy, text that’s embedded in images and therefore didn’t get translated, culture appropriateness of imagery, and even technical problems. 

Not sure what kinds of things to include on your checklist? Download this template and use it as a starting point. 

4. Collect and Apply Feedback

Chances are there will be at least a couple of things to tweak in each of your language versions. There might even be quite a few. To make this process as quick and painless as possible, use an app like Review 360 to centralize all the feedback and streamline communication between the e-learning designer and the QA tester.

Once the QA tester has left feedback, the e-learning designer can make the necessary edits and ask the QA tester to review once again. Depending on the project, you might need to repeat this process multiple times to get to a point where the QA tester no longer spots any issues.

In Sum

By following these steps with each of your localized courses, you can ensure your course quality is top-notch no matter what language your learner speaks. After all, what’s the point of localizing your course if the localized version doesn’t work or communicate effectively with the target audience?

Here are some more resources to help you become an e-learning localization expert:

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