User testing is a vital part of designing and delivering E-learning but I’m often asked, ‘What’s user testing?’ Instead of answering that question, I often start with what it’s not.

What is NOT user testing?

User testing is NOT about gathering the wishes and personal preferences of content or technical experts. It’s too late in the development process to make any substantive design changes … unless you got it horribly wrong! User testing is also NOT designed to replace or duplicate development testing. With that information the next question becomes, ‘What’s development testing?’

What’s the difference between user and development testing?

Development testing includes things like:

  • Is all the content included and correct?
  • Are links to external resources working correctly?
  • Are interactive components behaving appropriately?
  • Is Learning Management System (LMS) integration functional?

User testing includes things like:

  • Is the navigation clear?
  • Do instructions match the learning task or activity?
  • Does the course structure flow and make sense to learners?
  • Can the learner find what their looking for?

So what is user testing?

User testing or user acceptance testing (UAT) focuses on the experience of the user engaged in an E-learning course. It’s simply observing the user performing typical tasks and how they interact with navigation and activities.

When preparing for user testing think carefully about what you’re trying to achieve from having a sample of learners interacting with the course. Ask yourself:

  • What needs to be tested?
  • What tasks will users be asked to perform?
  • Who should be in the user group?
  • How should observers interact with users?

There’s heaps of information about user testing, so check it out. As a starting point, try Googling – What’s user testing?