The ideal review process for your eLearning projects
The review process is undoubtedly one of the most complex and stressful parts of any eLearning project. Project initiators, control groups, subject matter experts, editors, supervisors—they all contribute their feedback and make the list of to-dos longer with each check. Only effective planning can help you avoid sinking into chaos. In this article, you’ll find a wealth of valuable tips to help you prepare the review process in a way that keeps you in control at all times, and roll out a functional, accurate and appropriate eLearning project quickly.
The ideal review process for eLearning, step-by-step
The ideal review process generally consists of four phases. However, before you can get to work on these four phases, you need some pointers to help you prepare, and a list of the elements you need to check. Having this knowledge in advance makes it easier to understand the structure of the review process and prepare accordingly.
Step 1: Make preparations
The review process is undoubtedly the most stressful part of any eLearning project—especially when different stakeholders are involved and providing feedback. Only good preparation can ensure that the process does not get out of control and that the eLearning project can be published online at the planned time. The following five points help with implementation:
Define a set number of review cycles, who is entitled to give feedback, and who is responsible for which aspects, right from the outset. From experience, we know that there are always going to be points that could be further improved, even after several review cycles. If a clear limit is not set right from the start, you run the risk of getting stuck in the review process.
The same applies to the reviewers: The feedback process is a sub-project and needs a clear deadline for everyone involved. This avoids dragging it out unnecessarily, and ensures you have plenty of time to implement the amendments.
Not all feedback is constructive and, in fact, giving appropriate feedback can be tricky. A short briefing will help you avoid having to ask more questions down the line. You can find tips on this further on in the article.
Keep in mind that not all feedback needs to be actioned, but there should be no content, technical or linguistic errors by the time you get to the end product. With other aspects, such as didactics and design, which allow more room for discussion, you can decide on a case-by-case basis whether amendments are strictly necessary and whether the effort and benefits are proportionate.
Everyone involved in the review process should have a basic understanding of how the software used to create the content works. This understanding helps you to assess which corrections can be implemented, how much effort they will involve, and what additional information may be required.
Step 2: Create a list of all of the aspects that need to be covered by the review process
- Spelling and grammar
- Ideally, translations should be reviewed by a native speaker
- Do all the links and buttons work?
- Does the navigation align with the content, and does the navigation link to the appropriate sections?
- Do videos, graphics and audio files appear correctly?
- Are all compulsory parts of the course marked as such?
- Are all the facts correct?
- Does the content progress logically?
- Is all the key content included?
- Are the test answers correct?
- Has the corporate design been implemented consistently?
- Are the design elements uniform? (Headings and font size always the same, captions, etc.)
- Does the content align with the course objectives?
- Are complex topics presented sufficiently clearly?
- Are there any sections that are not absolutely necessary or that are unnecessarily difficult?
- Do learners find the course navigation intuitive?
- Was enough different media used to address all kinds of learning preferences?
Step 3: Plan the review process
Why beta testing is so important
Perhaps the most crucial review phase is the one involving the learners themselves. After all, they are the ones who ultimately need to learn from the eLearning content and transfer the knowledge they gain from the learning environment into practice. Once the first two review cycles have been completed, online courses should always be reviewed one last time by a small, selected test group that is as diverse as possible. Provide the test group with a sufficiently comprehensive digital or analog commenting facility that enables them to provide their thoughts on the individual screens/elements. With an additional questionnaire or interview, they can provide feedback on comprehensibility, transferability, enjoyment, etc.
How to provide feedback
No matter which review cycle you are in, you are dependent on constructive, easy-to-understand and immediately actionable feedback. If the feedback is too general, additional time is required for clarification. It’s therefore a good idea to provide a short feedback briefing to all stakeholders at the beginning to help them formulate their responses. This briefing may include the following examples:
- I don’t like the wording.
- Please change the color.
- Let’s put it this way instead: “…”
- The orange in the header is too light, you can’t read the text on it. Please use a darker shade.
- This image really helped me remember the five bullet points.
Also, be sure to encourage positive feedback from stakeholders, especially in the learner beta test. Specific positive feedback can be just as helpful as critical feedback, and it also contributes significantly to a more positive feedback culture.
The bottom line.
No part of eLearning content creation is as stressful as the review process: Only good planning can save the team from chaos. However, if all review phases have been planned and scheduled, and all review aspects considered from the outset, nothing will stand in the way of the rollout. Professional software can support you in developing a well thought-out review process, and even facilitate simultaneous reviews. When choosing your authoring tool, pay attention to the review functions and features right from the start.
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