Whether your Instructional Content is Training, E-Learning , or Knowledge Management information, process maps, decision tables, lessons learned, demonstrations, application exercises, etc. – testing your content in an Alpha Test, or Beta Test, or a Pilot-Test – should focus on the 4 following aspects:
- Performance Impact
Testing with the Target Audience is the ONLY WAY to test aspect #1. But the Target Audience cannot help you with Tests #2-4. How could they?
1- Performance Impact – did the learners achieve the performance-based learning objectives? One could argue that you could stop there – as in: if it works it works. Done. But what if it doesn’t work or work well enough? Or works with extraneous content mixed in – that could be found to be unnecessary?
Then you would go to the next set of aspects to “test” for…
2- Accuracy – is the content accurate or inaccurate? It is either correct – or it is not.
3- Completeness – is it complete? It is either complete or it is not – or it contains extraneous content that could be taken out without hurting the Performance Impact?
4- Appropriateness – is the content appropriate? Does it reflect compliance, or legal requirements? Is is reflecting the values of the organization? Is it PC – Politically Correct “enough” – ? Or does it reflect age, gender, racial or religious stereotypes – or other stereotypes inappropriately?
Who would you need in your testing processes for each aspect? Is one set of eyes/ears enough? Or would a mix of perspectives need to be involved? What are the Risks to be mitigated?
What is your process for planning and operationally addressing these aspects about Instructional Content?
I have a separate Phase for Pilot Testing in my ADDIE-like model/approach. Alpha and Beta Testing is done in Phase 4: Development before Phase 5: Pilot-Testing.
This is covered in my new book – The PACT Processes for Performance-based Modular Curriculum Development – just out in July 2011 – and an update from my 1999 book “lean-ISD.”
For more information about this and my other new books from mid-2011 – please go here.
# # #