Articles / Quality assuring your learning materials

I were asked recently to provide an independent quality assurance service for one of my clients.

The materials in question were a series of elearning packages and associated files and assessments.

So, what should you be looking for when aiming for a high quality product?

The learner journey

Note that a QA check like this is no substitute for a full usability test with real users.

User experience

How the user is taken through the activities and resources, identifying any pain points from the user’s perspective. Consider how the learner will get to the materials - the whole journey from initial contact through to completion.

User interface

Whether the interface itself is a barrier to users.

Learning efficacy

How the activities and resources work together to ensure learning objectives are best supported. Will learners be frustrated because it’s too hard, or bored because it’s too easy?


The motivating factors that will retain the user’s attention during the learning module.


Note that a QA check like this should be complemented by a full accessibility audit with an organisation like the Shaw Trust

Browser control

What happens when the user resizes text and switches of images & CSS?


Consider headings, link purpose, consistency and readability. Use a tool such as Readability Score

Visual impairments

Consider aspects such as availability to screen readers, [alt] text descriptions, use of colour and colour contrast, and page semantic structure

Hearing impairements

Consider aspects such as Closed Captions and visual alternatives

Motor impairements

Consider aspects such as tabbing through the interface and keyboard control

Technical design


Consider any metadata requirements, content packaging conformance and use of optional runtime elements (especially if these packages need to be portable between systems)

Page size

Consider the bandwidth needed for each page


Consider which devices, screen sizes and resolutions. Should the packages support Retina displays. Should the pages be responsive? If so, to what sizes?

Browser compatibility

Which browser versions should the packages be tested against?


Consider how the packages might be localised if necessary. Will they need to be editable by someone else? If so, do they have the software required to do so?


If assessments are built into the packages, how will the answers be kept secure? If using xAPI, how will the communication between the packages and the LRS be secured appropriately?

Posted: 02 December 2016

Tags: Learning User experience