E-learning applications and websites are the fastest emerging business segments. It is the preferred medium for educational content delivery to students, tutors and global learners. Online learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Khan Academy, to name a few, have changed the learning landscape by making university-level courses globally accessible. As per Nasdaq, e-learning market will reach $325 billion by 2025. The growing demand for online learning platforms has made it essential for e-learning companies to provide distinguished quality solutions.
Quality Assurance for E-learning
Often overlooked, Quality Assurance (QA) for e-learning plays a vital role in digital learning design. A reliable QA process reduces work for the stakeholders and reviewers by eliminating all preventable bugs and errors before the course is launched, significantly improving the learner’s experience. A robust QA process means quicker sign-offs and extra time to focus on enhancing the user experience. Testing e-learning applications at each stage of development is vital due to the increased number of platforms, devices, growth in online content and digitalization. The objective of testing an e-learning program is to establish reliable learning for end users, validating the products against the requirements, and unearthing defects in areas of functionality, UI, content, accessibility and platform.
An effective e-learning QA process will also evaluate courseware from the intended learner's perspective. It will address the following, ensuring the below-mentioned aspects are tested:
• Activities should be engaging and appealing. An eLearning course that includes a variety of different multimedia elements is going to be more interactive than one that relies solely upon text content. Usage of fonts that are visually pleasing and videos that make a potentially repetitious or dry topic more engaging and attractive delivers a better user experience and increased learning. Making the eLearning course attention-grabbing and unique will help the learners to connect with the curriculum and get more from the educational experience. That said, it is recommended to avoid using an abundance of graphics on any given page as it may distract the learner from the content itself – find the balance between engagement and curriculum. Only use multimedia and visual components that are relevant to the eLearning course and help to highlight the principles/ideas, rather than detract from the important aspects of the eLearning course.
The objective of testing an e-learning program is to establish reliable learning for end users, validating the products against the requirements, and unearthing defects in areas of functionality, UI, content, accessibility and platform
• Activities are most impactful when they produce an adequate challenge to impart confidence and achievement without being “lenient.”This can be uncovered during the testing phase. For example, when testing a product that incorporate simulations to improve performance and build real-world experience, integrate branching scenarios to explore all possible outcomes. This leads to increased critical thinking skills and further keeps the students engaged in the online coursework.
• Some of the most impactful activities are the ones that provide an optimal interface to maximize the impact of the learning event. Engaging, highly interactive interfacings bring the students closer into the experience, resulting increased engagement and learning.
• Appropriate feedback for the learning context as well as the actions that the learner chooses during the activities is essential. Users want to feel connected to the work they are doing and the instant gratification of receiving feedback – whether positive or negative – helps them better continue the course and learning. In a culture where feedback, recognition and evaluation of performance are key drivers of success, online courses which also instill these values tend to have high engagement with users.
The Winning Approach to QA
When testing and conducting QA for e-learning, working in partnership with your clients, to create and deliver exceptional quality assurance services is the key to success. The best QA services are those that engage the client by providing constructive feedback, supporting product improvement, and bringing value that leads to a product’s success. For clients on short deadlines, testing the e-learning products quickly, while still providing comprehensive coverage and subsequent quality is essential. Having a robust test process with continuous improvements helps to achieve high-quality applications, that exceed the client's set standards, expectations and requirements.
Quality Assurance is not only about improving the products or solutions, but also about contributing to excellent client experience. One way to shape that excellent experience is to spend time fixing defects before the product is made accessible to the end user. This will lessen the time spent fixing problems that negatively impact the user, building and enhancing their trust in the product or solution. Positive user experience is essential in creating customer loyalty which is the most coveted asset for businesses and organizations that intend to grow. The correct quality assurance process and the team can put the platform at an advantage creating a lasting impact on users. Therefore, investing in QA for all e-learning organizations should be the highest priority.