Why is it important to review your work?
The general rule of thumb for any work you produce, publish and showcase, whether it’s your own content or a project for a client, is to ensure there are no mistakes in them and that it works!
The only way you can be confident your course has no mistakes is by reviewing it. I carry out what I like to call a Quality Check Review. It’s the process I stick to and the methods I use when reviewing any elearning course I develop.
A mistake in a published piece of work shows lack of care and attention to detail. Although we can all appreciate that isn’t necessarily the case most of the time, it’s hard convincing anyone else otherwise, especially those paying for the service. The truth is you will lose business rapidly if you do not quality check your work. Mistakes in the work you produce will damage your reputation as an elearning designer regardless of how attractive they are. Ultimately clients will not want to pay for your service if they must continue to send the project back for adjustments.
Let’s explore a variety of methods you can use and apply when reviewing your elearning courses. This will ensure the quality of the project is the best it can be, which will leave you feeling proud and confident of the work you produce, every time.
Now where to begin? You may think that’s obvious, right? Start by playing the course, duh! You’re not wrong, that is a brilliant place to start, but stop let’s do some planning first. I personally believe preparation is key to success. Ask yourself, how am I going to check my work?
Understanding how you’re going to check your work will aid you massively in your profession. It will save you valuable time when reviewing previous elearning courses but will also aid you in future projects. Having an awareness of the mistakes you need to look out for will prevent the same mistakes from reoccurring.
Quality Check Review Template
My first tip; document all the mistakes and changes you notice when reviewing a course. Avoid using pen and paper unless it’s for shorthand notes to complement the document. My reasons for this are simple. You can save, back up, edit and share a document with ease. This makes life easier for everyone involved especially those of you working within a team. It ensures everyone is on the same page (pardon the pun) and is following the same guidelines. This, in essence, creates a better environment for flexible working between yourself and your team. In your absences for example, your team could continue working on the same document and know where to start from.
So, with that being said, if you haven’t already I would highly recommend creating a Quality Check Review Template. Once created you can use the document for every course you review. I personally love to use Microsoft Excel but please use whatever software you’re comfortable with.
Your template could include:
Many people have a different approach to checking their work. There really isn’t a right or wrong way of doing it, as long as you do it efficiently. In my experience, I’ve found reviewing the project at least 3 times is the most beneficial. Reviewing the course multiple times allows me to focus on a specific area within the course which helps me to stay on track and remain focused.
I’ve found it’s best to break down the Quality Check Review process to the following 3 areas:
- Grammar & Spelling
By sticking to these guidelines, it prevents me from being distracted by multiple factors on a slide at once, making it easier for me to prioritise what I need to review as well as increasing my attention to detail for the particular area I’m reviewing.
When reviewing the content think of yourself as the end user instead of the developer of the course. Imagine this is a subject you know nothing about and ask yourself the following:
- Does the information make sense and have I learned anything?
- Is there a quiz, and if so, does the content provide me with enough information to answer the questions?
- Is the course appealing to the eye?
- Are the images & text clear, visible and positioned appropriately?
- Does it keep me entertained for the duration of the course?
Ask yourself these questions on every slide, taking time and care. If you answer ‘No’ to any of the above you should be aware of what you need to change. If you answer ‘Yes’, you’re ready to begin spell checking!
Grammar & Spelling
Right, you’ve reviewed the course and you’re confident the content is up to the standard expected from you. Good job! You also know you don’t want to make any further changes to the content. Excellent! So let’s make sure there aren’t any grammatic errors and spelling mistakes in the course.
The most efficient way to do this is by simply using the spelling feature within your elearning development tool. When using the feature, check to make sure the main dictionary language is set to the correct language.
Once you’ve corrected any misspelt words, review the course a second time. Focus specifically on the text and grammar, reading slowly and aloud if possible. Keep an eye out for extra spaces and characters in the text as well. If you’re not great at spelling that’s not a problem at all, you will just need to approach this with extra care. Also consider using a tool like Grammarly which will give you tips and advice on your grammar.
When thinking about functionality, the only question you really need to ask yourself is ‘does it work the way I intended?‘. Think about navigation, the buttons and triggers specifically. If there are bugs in the course and the navigation doesn’t work the content becomes irrelevant. It is so important to ensure the course works as smoothly and fluidly as possible.
My best advice for checking functionality is to make sure you check every interaction on every slide and think of how each end user will react and respond. If a button, question or activity has multiple actions be sure to test them all. Consider the following when reviewing the functionality of a course:
- Back & Next Buttons
- Restart Buttons
- Quiz Interactions / Incorrect & Correct Answers
- Quiz Results
- Course Progress
- Exit buttons
After completing your third run through of the course and have made the appropriate changes, you should be all set to get someone else to take a look. If you’re working independently, is there a friend who could review. It’s good practice to have another person other than yourself to review the course. No matter how efficient you are, it can be easy to miss a simple mistake due to being so familiar with the content. Ask them to keep an eye out for any mistakes and ask them for any feedback. Remember, it’s never too late to update a course, especially if it’s an improvement or fix. It’s also worth checking the course in all web browsers available to ensure the course is compatible. People tend to have a favourite browser, so it’s important the course works in all of them. Once you and your team are happy, and you’ve completed the final check, your work here is done and you are ready to upload to the LMS.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, but most importantly found the content useful and insightful. Follow the methods in this blog and see if they work for you. Remember there isn’t a right or wrong way of reviewing work, so don’t worry if they don’t. Find what works best for you and stick with it. Overtime you’ll adapt and master your own methods and as you do it’ll become natural, saving you valuable time. Who doesn’t want to save time?