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A Tool to Help You See Online Training Through Your Learner’s Eyes

My colleague, Lindsay Garcia, supports many of our customers with custom elearning development. She shared with me that our team had some realizations about a better way to test elearning to make sure that the experience is consistently effective. Take a look at her thoughts on this and let us know if you have any insights based on your experiences.

Will your learners be taking your next online course from a desktop computer? Will they be taking it on a laptop or tablet or some other handheld device?

When creating eLearning modules and courses, it’s imperative to validate the look, feel, and function of the courses before they are in the hands of your client, SMEs, and learners. If you use Storyline or Rise, Articulate 360 provides an easy and convenient way to do this through preview mode while in development and publishing to Review 360. Using Review 360 allows you to review Rise modules and Storyline courses with a click of a button. 

You’ve now previewed each page as you built it and it looks great! But is this approach enough to show you how a learner will experience your module?

Should you publish or preview your elearning?

When it comes to Articulate 360 (or any authoring program, for that matter), our experience tells us that publishing is the best way to view your eLearning courses as the learner would view them. Whether you export the course as Web file and upload it to WordPress, or export to LMS and test it in your personal (or better yet, the customer’s) LMS, you will view the most authentic form of the course and catch any lingering bugs that you may not have seen in preview mode or Review.

How can you see what learners see?

At Endurance Learning, we recently had a customer that required a Rise course that could be accessed on desktop as well as seamlessly be used on tablets and mobile devices, without taking away from the look and feel of the course. Rise has a preview mode for mobile devices, and we used that to help guide us during development. 

The course looked great on all platforms via preview mode in Rise. Once the course was uploaded to the web for customer review on mobile, however, the customer was seeing an array of issues we couldn’t see in preview mode or in Review 360. We had assumed the customer would see exactly what we were seeing. You know what they say when you assume…

How can you test your course on mobile if you only have one phone?

To begin troubleshooting, we viewed the course on our personal phones, which gave us the learner experience, but we hadn’t thought much about the different operating systems (iOS, Android, etc.). Each operating system seemed to alter small details of the course functions. We decided to lean on our software development experience and use a product called BrowserStack ( 

browserstack gif
Example of accessing a website on an iPhone using Browserstack.

BrowserStack made it incredibly simple for us to view the eLearning course via the web on any (and I mean any) combination of desktops browsers or mobile devices and browsers, LIVE! There are many examples of mobile device simulators, but we had already experienced that in the Articulate 360 suite. BrowserStack connects you to live devices, not simulators. BrowserStack allowed us to see what our customer was experiencing so we could update the course effectively. We tested the course on multiple devices within each operating system and on various browsers. This approach helped us quickly narrow down where issues were and what features of Rise were (or weren’t) functioning as expected on all devices.

Do you have to use BrowserStack to test?

There is no one answer to validating and testing your elearning modules. As eLearning developers who are trying to focus the learner’s energy on the module’s objective, it is critically important to test on various platforms that are as close to what the learner will be using. Without this it is hard to say that you have considered the true learner experience. BrowserStack is one product that has enabled our company to test our courses from the learner’s seat.

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