Testing – Testing – Testing – Testing Instructional Content

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:

  1. Performance Impact
  2. Accuracy
  3. Completeness
  4. Appropriateness

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.

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2 comments on “Testing – Testing – Testing – Testing Instructional Content

  1. Pingback: T&D: Cutting the Fluff and Not What’s Foundational | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: Tis the Season for Job Aids | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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