Chapter 1: The Basics
Quality assurance, or QA as it is better known, is a vastly important yet surprisingly under-appreciated aspect of eLearning. Most course creators and teams do a fine job of working out the errors, called “bugs,” prior to delivery. But what good is a course if the learner can’t access it properly or the assessment doesn’t score correctly? Overlooking this aspect of course creation and implementation can be fatal.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll explore how vital QA is to the success of your learners, your product, and your business. We’ll cover the basics of quality assurance in this post and continue on later with more detailed things you can do.
For any project, one of the most important things you can have is a checklist, which tells you specifically what to test for. This can range from the easy-to-miss items (check for spelling and grammar errors, check against the storyboards to make sure all items are appearing on a given screen, etc.) to more complex situations (earlier button clicks or actions causing later bugs).
Here is a sample checklist of baseline items you should check for in any course:
- Adherence to storyboards – Check to see that all elements called for in the storyboards (images, text, and functionality) are present
- Spelling errors/missing words – Check all onscreen and closed-captioning (CC) text for typos and grammatical errors. Most of this will likely have been caught in the editing stages before it reaches QA, but sometimes it seeps through.
- Font size and type agreement – A simple, but important, thing to miss as it affects the look of your course. It looks messy to have text of two different font sizes and types on the same screen (excluding headers).
- Nomenclature – This is a basic item that can become tricky. In this case, nomenclature refers to corporate terminology, or simply naming things a certain way. Many businesses and associations, for example, refer to their customers as “Guests” rather than “guests” or “Clients” rather than “clients.” They require their eLearning to use these terms and to follow suit any time they’re mentioned. This can also include things like registered trademarks and copyright notices. This must be checked on every screen.
- Style Guide Adherence – This can sometimes work hand in hand with official nomenclature. In most cases, the style guides often include official phrasing that is in line with the company’s or association’s values, officially approved color schemes, and more. Basic adherence is fairly straightforward, but many guides also require certain types of file structures and LMS calls as well. We’ll cover that more in-depth in a later blog post.
- Audio – If there is audio in a course, make sure it is clear and easy to understand, has no unwanted noise, and that what is recorded matches the storyboard and script.
- Functionality – Basic functionality is simply that; if you click a button, it should do what it’s intended to – open a menu, go to the next screen, open a help screen, etc. Check these on every screen.
- Loading and Exiting – Make sure the course launches correctly, loads in an appropriate amount of time, and that if you click an Exit or Close button the course properly exits out.
This is a very basic list and many of these overlap. You can mix some of these together as you go down your list.
Always try to cover the basics in your first couple of passes through a course, then move on to more intensive QA as you go further. I’ll cover that in our next blog.
If you’d like to learn about custom eLearning course creation from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.
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