As professional trainers, I’m sure we can all agree that web-based training (WBT) is not a fad that will disappear as soon as something new and exciting comes along.
Designing effective WBT programs is becoming a crucial part of a corporation’s strategic objective to provide employees with the knowledge and skills they need, quickly and effectively, to compete in a fierce global environment. If we want to help accomplish these key corporate objectives, validating web programs becomes a vital component in instructional design. There is just too much at stake to take a chance that the program will be effective without conducting some type of validation.
Langevin suggests a three-step approach to web-based validation:
Conduct an internal (Alpha) test: Ask your staff, or the subject-matter expert, to go through the course to test its soundness, functionality, usability, and graphical appeal.
Conduct a system test: Ask the technical department to test for any technical issues or programming bugs.
Conduct a pilot or (Beta) test: Ask a sample of the learner population to go through the course to test for soundness, functionality, usability, and graphical appeal.
Do not rush through the Beta phase simply because it is near the end of the design project. Remember how crucial effective web-based courses can be for the entire organization, so be sure to allow enough time to validate your web-based training programs.
Care to share a cautionary tale of what can happen when you don’t properly validate your WBT programs? Feel free to share in the comments section below.