During World War I, manufacturing processes became more complex, and a large number of workers led to minimal supervision. To address a drop in the quality of products being produced, full-time inspectors were employed to identify and correct any product quality failures. This systematic process—now used across industries—helps confirm whether a product or service that’s in development meets specified requirements. Quality assurance (QA) may not seem like a high-profile task, but it only takes one QA failure, or lack of testing to impress upon you the importance of implementing a QA strategy in your eLearning course development.
We have three reasons why it’s critical to include this step in your design:
QA saves time.
“We don’t have time! We’ve got to launch this now!” Have you heard this phrase or something similar during your career? Maybe you’ve just thought that in your head. Yes, conducting QA tests requires time—but so does fixing a bug, updating an interaction, or removing a typo. If you’re going to spend time making fixes, use your time to do so on the front end before the content is in front of your learners.
QA builds trust.
Software companies have entire teams devoted to quality assurance; that may not be a reality within your eLearning team. But when you consider the positive impact QA has on customer trust, you’ll want to be sure you have a system or plan in place to ensure your courses meet quality standards. If a course has a bug that prevents a learner from moving forward or fails to track their completion, you’re going to lose that learner’s trust. Today’s QA approaches emphasize catching defects—like a course that never ends— before those defects negatively impact the trust you’ve built with learners.
QA positively impacts your image.
With a focus on quality assurance, work processes become smoother, more efficient, and enable an eLearning team to deliver top quality content that educates learners. A system to check course quality increases internal and external customer confidence, and ultimately builds your credibility because you consistently produce error-free content.
We can all agree that there’s nothing worse than launching a course only to find typos, broken functionality or incorrect information. I get it—you may not have the resources to hire a QA analyst, but there are small changes you can implement to boost the quality of your courses. A simple, straightforward QA process will help you avoid the toll that those mistakes can have on your career, and on your reputation.
Liz Sheffield is a freelance writer with a background in training and development. She specializes in writing about everything related to the human side of business. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.