Testing is an essential part of your overall course design and client engagement strategy. Clients expect courses that move the needle and change behavior, but they also expect courses that work. No matter how nicely designed a course is, its beauty will be ignored if it doesn’t work properly. Rigorously testing your online training before launch and monitoring learners throughout the training program is a great way to ensure that your training content is working as designed and will keep the number of potential help desk tickets low. So, what are the things to test before launching an online training course? A few to consider include:
- Internet browsers
- Learning management system (LMS) settings
- Training content and navigation
Here, we provide a high-level overview of why testing these things is important for your business as a training provider. We also go through the benefits of conducting user acceptance testing (UAT) and the benefits of these sessions.
When testing courses, make sure to test on the appropriate device for completion of the course. That means that if the course is intended to be completed on a computer, test it there, and if it’s meant to be done on a mobile device, make sure the course is mobile optimized. This way, the testers don’t run into functionality issues if the course wasn’t designed to work on that type of device.
2. Internet Browsers
Browsers like Chrome, Safari, Edge, etc. make frequent updates, so make sure you’re testing on various browsers before launching an online training course. Sites like Browserstack can help with that. Although it’s hard to know when the browsers will update, test your content as soon as you know that a browser has been updated. This way, you can be proactive vs. reactive to client tickets.
If you have video content, ensure that it is fully functional in the browsers being tested. Things to be aware of include:
- Video quality — The video should play without skipping or long buffering times.
- Audio quality — Audio should sync properly with the video and should be the same in every browser.
3. Learning Management System (LMS) Settings
When it comes to LMS, there are a few testing situations to think through, including the following:
- LMS emails — Make sure they are enabled. Sending automated emails is a great communication tool for clients to let their learners know about course assignments, due dates, reminders, and messages about completion. All these messages help learners understand expectations and can help ease the load on the training department.
- Completion status — Are learners receiving the correct status for the course? When the course completes, is it showing proper scores? Testing these things in advance will ensure that the learners are not confused by misinformation and consequently, overloading the help desk because the course is not being marked complete.
- Completion certificates — If required, ensure that the correct certificates are enabled for each of your courses and review them for accuracy. For example, if they are supposed to display the learner’s name, make sure they have the correct information.
- Review reports — Ensure that they are receiving course data correctly. Course data can include the learner’s name, length of time spent in the course, and quiz/assessment scores. Clients may want to see which subject areas their learners need improvement on, and LMS reports can be used to help measure the success of the training program.
4. Training Content and Navigation
Reviewing your training content with a thorough eye is part of a well-planned testing strategy. It can also help reduce the number of help desk tickets.
When it comes to things to test before launching an online training course, be sure to include:
- Course navigation — Test all the ways that your learners can navigate through the course. Make sure your back, next, exit, and submit buttons work properly. If these buttons aren’t properly mapped, it can cause learners to think that the course isn’t working properly. This will lead to learners either abandoning the course or contacting the help desk about these issues. Make sure all course templates include information about course navigation. This will ensure that learners understand how the course works before they get started.
- Course actions — Are there any loops or triggers within your content that may cause a user to get stuck on a slide or video without any way to progress? These actions need to be tested comprehensively to make sure they all fire correctly. Test all activities within the course and how the learner will interact with them.
- Grammar, spelling, and other typos — Check the course for misspelled words and wrong word usage (e.g., made vs. maid or manger vs. manager). This is more about professionalism. Having spelling and grammatical errors in your content can give clients a negative perception of your company.
Your LMS vendor will usually provide a demo or sandbox account within which you can test your content prior to launching it live. If you’re in the market for a new LMS, ensure that you test it with your content thoroughly before committing.
When testing quizzes and assessments, you need to understand how they are being administered. This will determine the type of testing to conduct. Are they administered using your SCORM-compliant authoring tool or built within the LMS? For quizzes inside your course, the scores should be properly recorded within the LMS. Regardless of the quizzing tool you’re using, be sure you are capturing the required data, such as a learner’s selected answers and score.
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
There are so many things to test before launching an online training course. Another great way to test your training content is with UAT. Even with deadline requirements getting shorter and shorter, you should always conduct proper UAT.
It will prevent unnecessary help desk tickets and enable the learner to have an exceptional learning experience. During the UAT session, your testers are looking for a few basic things.
- Is the content relevant?
- Without providing detailed information, do the testers understand the course content?
- Do the testers find the course user-friendly and intuitive?
- Can the testers navigate the course without help?
Properly testing your course before launching an online training program is critical for success. It will ensure that you receive few help desk tickets and that your client’s learners receive an exceptional learning experience.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!