Quality Control Equals Quality Courses

We find ourselves in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, and educational tools presented online are nothing new. And with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic also brought a rise in e-learning, as globally, over 1.2 billion students were out of classrooms (weforum, 2020). So if courses being presented online are nothing fresh and new-fashioned, what can you do to ensure your online course is state-of-the-art and stands out from the masses? The answer is quite simple, quality (control).

Developing a course that is filled to the brim with quality will not only ensure happy and well-educated students, but also students who will return to your platform again and again as they have found a product that serves their online learning needs and wants.

What is Quality Control

Quality control (QC) is the keen eye that checks and monitors your course through every step of its development. From blueprints, to graphics, and eventually, the build on the platform itself, QC checklists are ticked off to ensure the highest possible content is created. Quality control checks are established to make sure the content is error-free in terms of language and grammar, that the course is designed according to the client’s preferred style, and that the course is accessible to all. Quality control is thus the foundation of your course, as well as the cherry on top.

Why is Quality Control Important

QC is the system that guarantees your product is of the best possible quality. This means that there are no language errors in your content, that the platform functions as it should, and that your course has a consistent look and feel. In other words, it makes your course look professional. You cannot present a course focused on education if the content is riddled with mistakes and misfunction, ‘not only does the quality control review create a more professional product, it improves the experience and usability of the learning experience’ (Malamed, 2012). The benefits of QC are boundless. It is not something that will be nice to have, but something every course inherently needs.

A Better Product for All

Quality control is more than just a glorified spell checker to ensure your course is error-free. It also creates a high-quality product for all. This is where the role of accessibility comes into play. At Construct, we adhere to the AA WACG standard when it comes to web accessibility. This means we build our courses while keeping in mind people with different abilities. QC is in place to check that each course meets those AA standards.

Here are a few examples of quality control checks we do to ensure a course is accessible

  1. Does your course use the correct heading hierarchies?
    Using the correct heading hierarchies is important in more ways than just for accessibility purposes. Heading hierarchies direct the flow of your content, and can aid in making your course easy to follow and understand. It also helps a screen reader to navigate your content.

  2. Did you include alt text for graphics?
    Screen readers are useful tools as they can read the written content on the page. Think of alt text as the words written behind an image, describing the content of the graphic. This is then read by the screen reader. In some cases, a picture is not always worth a thousand words. Including alt text will ensure that meaningful content conveyed through the use of graphics won’t be lost just because the learner cannot see the image. Alt text needs to be precise and informative to add value to the viewer’s experience and learning.

  3. Are hyperlinks written using descriptive text?
    When long URLs are read by a screen reader, all those dashes and the www can sound very messy and may cause some confusion for the learner. Using descriptive text when linking your hyperlinks can solve this problem. Not only will the content be more clear when read by a screen reader, but it will also improve the overall look and experience of your course for all of your learners. Descriptive hyperlinks tell the user exactly where the link will take them, and it has a cleaner, neater appearance.

  4. Do your videos include transcripts?
    Transcripts can be downloaded and read by a screen reader. Transcripts also often include descriptions of visual elements, which makes them really accessible to all kinds of learners. Having transcripts are really beneficial for all learners, as learners can download and review the transcript at any time, instead of having to rewatch a 20-minute or even an hour-long lecture. Transcripts make video content more accessible and digestible for all viewers.

  5. Are there any colour contrast issues?
    If the content of your course has some colour clashing issues, this could make it really difficult for learners to read the text. If your text is a really light colour featured against a light background, or if your text is green against a blue background, it could make it difficult to distinguish the text from the background. Colour contrast issues will not only be a problem for viewers who struggle to distinguish between colours, but it can be very tiring and taxing on the viewers’ eyes to try and identify the text from the background, and certain elements might even be missed, like a button that will go unnoticed if it does not stand out enough. Working with the correct colour contrast will ensure your course content is accessible, displayed in a neat way, and look professional.

Quality control should be both the foundation and the finishing touch of your course to ensure that you are creating a product that stands out from the rest. Having a sound quality control system in place to refine your course through each phase of development means that every single aspect of your course will be of top-notch quality. Having a QC system in place will enable you to create a course that looks and feels professional, increase usability, and ensures that your course is accessible to all its users.

A good QC system promises that your users will have a positive experience interacting with your product, which in turn will result in returning customers, and positive feedback and recommendations. It enables you to create a course you are proud of, and that will add value to your users and to the world of edTech.

  1. Malamed, C. 2012. Tips for quality control of online learning. The e-learning coach. https://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/quality-control-for-online-training/.
  2. Weforum. 2020. The covid pandemic has changed education forever – this is how. Weform.org. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/.
  3. Featured Image by DilokaStudio on Freepik
  4. Page Image by DilokaStudio on Freepik

This blog post is made available by the author for educational purposes only and to provide general information. All views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever, to which they have been, are now, or will be affiliated. If you have a specific problem related to this topic and need advice, contact Construct Education directly.

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