In the pursuit to provide a knowledgeable future, modern educational and technological society works on developing learning solutions making education available for everyone. Consequently, the traditional educational system has already gone far beyond physical schools, colleges, and universities.
On the market, there is a diversity of e-Learning solutions for audiences of different ages and with different interests. To avoid getting lost among numerous offerings, it is essential to take care of every detail including quality assurance. Comprehensive testing of eLearning software is an essential part of its success. So, let’s dig deeper into the subject.
What is eLearning Testing?
We offer to start from the basics and define what eLearning testing is. eLearning testing is the whole scope of testing activities aimed at ensuring that an eLearning product of any type works, looks, and feels as expected or, to be precise, in accordance with project specifications and requirements. For this purpose, a professional QA team establishes a sound, well-tuned QA process that may include both manual and automation testing. The introduction of the latter depends on the scope and peculiarities of an application under test.
One more thing that is worth mentioning is that there is a golden rule suggesting that the earlier a QA team is engaged the better quality and higher ROI you can get.
Importance of QA in eLearning
Quality assurance is important for any software and eLearning solutions are no exception. It is just impossible to earn clients’ trust and loyalty, gain a sound reputation, and have a competitive advantage if eLearning software has numerous bugs, weaknesses, and flaws. Due to quality assurance, not only an eLearning product will be well-accepted by the target audience, but a business will also take advantage of real values like the following ones:
Software testing complements and optimizes a development process. The thing is that with its help bugs in eLearning software can be fixed and eliminated on the fly. A well-tuned QA process provides a short feedback cycle due to which developers can quickly and easily deal with detected bugs.
Thanks to the efforts of a QA team, bugs are identified before the eLearning product is delivered to end-users or even within a single sprint. This helps to save a lot of money as elimination of post-release bugs is always more expensive. Besides, QA specialists can identify risks in terms of security, performance, or scalability that can cost you a fortune in the future while being neglected at the project outset.
High user satisfaction
To completely satisfy your users you need to take care of multiple aspects - content, structure, design, speed, security, and many more. QA covers all this stuff due to which you can offer an eLearning product of sky-high quality and build loyal relationships with users.
High user acquisition and retention rates
No need to say that a well-thought-out and comprehensively tested eLearning solution attracts a lot of users and keeps them engaged. Users come in swarms in case an eLearning app is efficient, easy to use, and pleasant.
As we have said, an eLearning application offering excellent quality attracts users and satisfies all their needs, while happy users reward you with loyalty, bring more leads, and generate more sales which have a direct impact on your profit.
At first sight, QA may seem to be an irrational extra cost, but careful consideration reveals its utter importance. Developers cannot maintain high quality on their own, that is why engagement of QA engineers gives long-term benefits.
Major Software Testing Types for eLearning Software
A multifaceted QA strategy and comprehensive software testing lie behind every successful eLearning application. QA engineers execute a great number of diverse tests in order to explore and check all ins and outs of the software and not give bugs a chance to creep into production. Below you can see testing types that are important for eLearning solutions.
Functional testing checks whether all implemented features work as suggested by the project requirements. A set of functional tests varies depending on the type of eLearning software and the peculiarities of a particular solution. Sign-in, video calls, text chats, questionnaires, grading, and payment - are just a few to name.
A graphical interface plays an important role because users interact with an eLearning solution with its help. Menu, bars, buttons, icons, text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, search fields, and a whole variety of other UI elements should work properly and be located in accordance with mock-ups.
Poor performance of an eLearning product can cause a lot of problems. In case your application draws the attention of the target audience, a spike in traffic can lead to low speed, higher latency, and crashes. To avoid these troubles, it is crucial to execute the whole scope of performance tests including load testing, stress testing, scalability testing, stability testing, and volume testing. Performance testing ensures the smooth operation of an eLearning solution even in unpredictable situations.
A vast majority of eLearning apps collect users’ personal information, be it a name during enrolling in a chosen course or a credit card number during payment for it. So to mitigate risks related to data loss, unauthorized access to the system, and other cyber accidents, it is important to perform appropriate security testing.
Your target audience can use a great variety of gadgets, diverse operating systems, and varied browsers. This should be taken into consideration in order to provide smooth users experience irrespective of users’ choice. That is where compatibility testing comes. While it is too difficult to check the eLearning app running on all possible combinations of hardware, OS, and browser versions, it is essential to detect the main preferences of the target audience and focus on them.
There are particular industry regulations that eLearning solutions should meet. For example, SCORM or Sharable Content Object Reference Model is one of them. In the course of compatibility testing, QA specialists identify discrepancies with the regulations and provide recommendations for complete software conformity.
Testing of this kind is executed with the aim to make sure that users with different disabilities (e.g. low vision, hearing loss, or cognitive impairment) can access an eLearning app. This way you can not only expand your user base but also ensure compliance with the corresponding regulations like WCAG, Section 508, and others.
Some eLearning products may target users from all over the world and tend to support a great variety of languages. Localization testing is executed to detect inconsistencies in translation, as well as adjustment of time, dates, and currencies. Besides, it suggests localized GUI testing to check whether the translated content hasn’t affected the layout integrity and the learning experience.
Usability testing is the last on our list but not the least. This type of testing ensures the user-friendliness of an eLearning app, i.e. that it is intuitive, easy to use, and provides a pleasant user experience. This is indeed important as most users are hardly ready to use tricky software requiring additional time and effort to understand the way it should be used.
Users put forward a lot of demands to eLearning solutions - efficiency, engagement, accuracy, intuitiveness, security, speed, integration with social nets, variety of features, and many more. QA specialists are those who keep guard over eLearning software quality and users’ satisfaction which are at the core of the business success. So, if you are thinking over eLearning app development, pay particular attention to its testing.