Having a second set of eyes on your e-learning content can go a long way toward helping to ensure you’re putting out quality content. However, the review process can quickly become complicated, drawn-out, and tedious if you don’t follow some core best practices. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who leave conflicting comments and reviewers who take weeks to provide their feedback are just some of the headaches you might have to contend with. Here are a few things to remember the next time you embark on an e-learning project that will include reviews.

Settle On a Review Process Up Front

One key thing you can do is identify what the review process will be up front, during the project planning phase. You want to get an idea of what the process will involve, who the reviewers are, and how many rounds of feedback and edits you will be expected to carry out. You want to make sure everyone is on board and understands their role in the review cycle. For a typical project, you can expect to include at least one to three rounds of review.

Minimize Amount of Reviewers

You’ve probably heard the expression “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.” It means too many people adding their input to one thing can ruin it. The same can happen when you have too many reviewers.

When your list of reviewers is lengthy, you’re more likely to get conflicting input from various reviewers that you’ll have to sort out. It can also affect your timelines: the more reviewers you add to the mix, the longer it will likely take for you to get the feedback. Additionally, some reviewers feel they need to leave their “two cents” even if they don’t have any particularly useful feedback to share, which leaves you to sift through unhelpful comments. When you’re choosing reviewers, make sure you choose the right people who will provide the valuable feedback you need.

Provide Guidance to Reviewers

“I don’t like the color of the shirt that the man in the stock image is wearing.” This is real feedback I’ve seen before. One way to minimize useless or unimportant feedback is to provide guidance to your reviewers on what they should be looking for while they review your content. If they’re only reviewing content for factual errors or inconsistencies, let them know. If they’re supposed to be on the lookout for typos and spelling mistakes, spell that out (pun intended!) for them.

Give Reviewers a Deadline

Have you ever sent a course to someone for review and they say “Yeah, I’ll get to it!”... then you still haven’t heard back two weeks later? We’ve all been there. When you send a course over to a reviewer, include a clear due date by which you need to receive the feedback. Give reviewers a fair amount of time—this could be anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the reviewer and their workload.

Following these simple best practices will help you streamline your review process and help you succeed on your next project. Do you have any tips of your own related to the review process? Let me know in the comments!

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Simon Blair
Chris Roetzer

Hi Nicole, I posted similarly in LI but here goes: 1) SMEs - if 2 or more, designate a lead to consolidate comments and resolve conflicting comments prior to sending me one file. Also no 'secret' SMEs - identify all reviewers/approvers up front vs. thinking we're done and they say "ok we just need to send to Jill now for her approval"... "Jill????" 2) Final Content - be sure it's final and all stakeholders have signed off BEFORE you start building SL content so D1 or D2 isn't wasted just getting SME edits on what wasn't really final content. 3) Project schedule milestones/due dates - Stay on top of them. We're not using 360/Review yet nor a proj mgt app so old school Outlook email it is. My subject is something like "Action Requested - xxxxxxx Draft 1 ready for review" and includ... Expand