Just like any other product that is going to be released into the market, an e-learning course also needs quality assurance (QA) before it is launched to the learners. However, quality assurance is much more significant to e-learning because, the overall development happens in multiple categories, which are completely divergent to one another, yet all congregate to form a wonderful course to engage and delight the learners. These divergent categories involve multiple tasks such as – instructional design, storyboarding, video editing, screen recording, animations, audio and video recording, graphic designing, translating text, providing sub titles and publishing the course. For all these individual categories, the quality assurance should happen separately and when the final course is published, efficient testing should be done for the probable bugs.
Hence, the production of an e-learning course – end to end – is a gigantic task which needs quality assurance at each level to enhance the user experience. Quality assurance is like a current flowing underneath at every level of the development, without which the outcome would be shabby and unimpressive. Quality assurance in e-learning development, in fact, addresses various business aspects in a disguised way. It assures e-learning course quality, enhances product improvement, gains learner satisfaction, improves business standards, and eventually wins more and more customers.
Every eLearning content developing company should have a quality assurance approach for courseware development. This approach should involve:
- Determining quality for the eLearning development by prioritizing the standards that the course must meet
Assessing the quality of the eLearning course that is developed. This in fact involves the efficient functioning of the quality assurance team.
- Enhancing quality, which is implementing the feedback of the quality assurance team.
In this article, we will also look at some significant guidelines to improve QA in eLearning development.
Enhance e-learning courses using QA checklist
The logic that runs behind quality assurance in e-learning development is quite simple and effective. As discussed in the beginning, there are divergent categories that work independently in the whole development process. If we plan in such a way that each element category is tested individually and effectively, the collective quality assurance at the end wouldn’t be much strainful and time taking.
If there are sufficient checklists at every stage of the process, there would remain only testing for bugs rather than errors and mistakes that are caused by overlooking. To find new and unexpected bugs, testing would be the only method which can be taken care at the end of development. A simple check-list at each task level, adds immense value to the entire Elearning course development process. The burden at the testing level would be reduced, saving time and enhancing the overall quality. In this way, we can raise the quality standards to the next level and meet the stipulated timelines effectively. In e-learning development life cycles, if no stringent check-list process is implemented, there would be endless quality assurance problems recurring.
Find as many QA aspects as possible to review
The more aspects of the course are reviewed and tested, the better would be the quality of the e-learning course.
Here are some category elements of the whole big list:
- check grammatical errors
- punctuation mistakes
- spelling accuracy throughout the text
- review the sentence framing
- consistency for fonts
- spacing between words and paragraphs
- to use US/UK English according to the standards
- tone of the narration and
- instructions which convey confused meaning
To check if all the slides are designed according to the storyboard guidelines.
- Visuals: The visuals need to be checked for:
- text-image alignment
- overlapping over the text and
- efficient use of images
- Functionality: check the functionality of:
- other interactive elements and
- overall course navigation functions and interface functionality need to be checked
The purpose here is to check if the overall course is functioning well with consistency in all technical environments.
- Multi-device support:
Ensure that the course is performing well, in the same accurate way, in different devices such as desktop, laptop, mobile phone, ipad and iphone.
- Browser and OS compatibility:
You need to check the course in all prominent browsers and with all operating systems if it is in compatible with them.
- Voice over:
Check if the audio is in sync with the text displayed. While moving the audio forward and backward, it should sound smooth.
- Localization testing:
In case the course is translated into multiple languages, each translation need to be checked thoroughly by the relevant team for better results.
Check if the assessment questions are providing the correct answers.
Plan an efficient way to handle bugs
Finding bugs is always challenging and eLearning course is not an exception.
- Plan the testing standards much ahead of time rather than meeting tight schedules. Timelines which are too pressing to handle would affect Eleanring quality assurance.
- In the quality assurance testing process, it is better to have a facility to combine all the bugs at one place collected by the whole team, instead of individuals having separate sheets to report bugs. Using a bug tracking tool for this purpose would help a lot. In this way, reporting multiple or duplicate bugs for the same issue can be minimized and repetition of bugs can be streamlined.
- Bug-reporting activity can be broken down to the relevant category elements.
- The bug reporting activity can happen in different versions. The team can review and fix the existing bugs before moving to the next set of bugs. This way, repetition of bugs can be controlled.
- As far as possible, it is better to keep the QA team separate from the development team. This is primarily because, the development team would look at the course with a familiar view and as a result, they might miss certain aspects which a QA team member generally wouldn’t. If quality assurance team needs more resources, then, they need to train some of the development team to do efficient QA.
- One best method to test the course efficiently is, to take breaks intermittently. Instead of looking at the course continuously for hours, break the time with sufficient gaps, because fresh view of the course will yield better results. If possible, move out of your regular environment and come back afresh after a brief interval.