Online education has been generating interest for quite some time now. But it is the post COVID19 period that has increased its importance. With COVID enforced closure of schools, colleges and Universities, it has become physically impossible to hold classes and examinations. However, the implementation of e-learning apps has made it possible for schools and educational institutions to build a connection between teachers and students.
Consequently, virtual classes have become the new normal and students are able to pursue their education even in the face of the ever-widening net of the COVID pandemic. With an increase in the popularity of e-learning apps, E-learning App Testing Services too have become very popular.
What are e-learning apps?
E-learning is simply computer-based learning and apps that enable the same provide education seekers with online educational content. This is a convenient process of imparting education in a scenario where social distancing has become the norm and social travel needs to be avoided at all costs. Providing web-based education content is the key to the success of these apps.
Today the e-learning industry is flourishing. Digitization, online content, innovations and advancements in wearable technologies have resulted in rapid growth of this industry. NASDAQ predicts this industry to reach the $325billion mark by the year 2025. Thus it is a fast emerging sector that, today, has become the medium of choice for millions of teachers, students and other global learners.
Seamless functionality and efficient usability is the key to the success of these e-learning apps. Thus there is a constant need for providing uncompromised quality with regards to speed, security and functionality. To ensure that the functionality and usability of these apps is not hampered, a technical specification standardizing for the creation and launch of these e-learning apps was developed. This is known as SCORM or Sharable Content Object Reference Model.
What is SCORM?
- The LMS needs to read content and then present it,
- Assessments need to be scored,
- Exchange of statuses and bookmarking facilitated between the LMS and the course.
Thus SCORM compliance is required for the success of an e-learning authoring tool or course or even a learning platform. It is all interconnected. LMS cannot function without quality content and quality content cannot be delivered without the presence of the relevant platform. So where does SCORM come into the picture. It is very simple. SCORM interfaces between LMS and quality content. The importance of the SCORM lies in its ability to tell the client LMS how to run, read and report course content.
While SCORM takes care of the usability of the e-learning app, how can its security, functionality and speed be ensured? The answer lies in the use of E-learning App Testing Services. It is prudent to mention here that for SCORM compatible e-learning apps, testing and error detection is relatively easier.
What is e-learning testing?
It is a complex process of testing the presence of potentially harmful bugs in developed or developing e-learning software. Software testing and QA or quality assurance form a major part of e-learning testing since an E-learning app has to ensure:
- Learnability, a combination measuring the app’s accessibility, performance, usability and functionality
- Understand if the course is learnable.
Thus end to end validation of all modules like user management, authentication, courses, roles and instructions etc., need to be tested to enable a seamless integration of one module into another.
Testing also needs to be done to check the app’s performance under duress when the maximum number of users is simultaneously logged in.
Another important aspect of E-learning App Testing Services is User Acceptance Testing or UAT. This assures the client that the course is working in the desired way.
Vulnerability assessment and carrying out security audits regularly ensure the security of the e-learning app.
Thus the tests that are crucial to the success of the e-learning app are:
- Functional testing which tests for the features included within the app,
- Usability testing to understand how comprehensive the app is and how easy it is to use,
- Accessibility testing to make the app accessible to all students, teachers etc., irrespective of their locations, time zones, dates etc.,
- Security testing to detect any bugs or vulnerabilities that might affect customer data,
- Performance testing to test the apps performance in different conditions and scenarios and
- SCORM compliance testing.
Need for E-learning App Testing Services
The basic need for any software app to be tested is to free it from bugs and vulnerabilities. But for an E-learning app, the need for E-learning App Testing Services is even greater. Traditional methods of testing e-learning apps are time-consuming, tedious, costly and not quite accurate. The requirement, however, is to ensure that the e-learning app is reliable, flexible, scalable, user friendly, secure and offers high quality.
Today there are innumerable varieties of E-learning apps and platforms available like:
- Flash based e-learning,
- Web-based courses,
- Content assessment of online courses offered,
- CD-ROM based education courses,
- Server-based LMS etc.
Growth of online content and increased digitization coupled with the availability of many different platforms and devices used to access the apps makes e-learning app testing a mandatory need. Every stage of the development of the app needs to be tested and made error free to fulfil end-user requirements within the committed time. The TAT for all software apps has shortened and the need for good quality increased. In the current COVID scenario where e-learning is the only option available, this need has grown manifold.
Some of the key metrics that drive the need for using E-learning App Testing Services are:
- Need for early detection of defects and faster resolution,
- Ensuring performance and load testing to prevent the app from crashing midway through an online course or class,
- Need to upgrade and update learning content with consistent frequency,
- Ensuring the content is appealing and user friendly,
- Ensuring compatibility of the e-learning app with multiple devices, operating systems etc.,
- Need for the globalization of the app,
- To ensure availability of course content based on the usage and at point of need,
- Need to sync in audio and video devices simultaneously and
- Ensuring security especially if the e-learning app charges fees or requires other such critical data about users to be input and stored.
In fact, the need to access these apps is not just restricted to different devices and platforms. The need for different people using the app is also different like:
- For the student, the E-learning app needs to ensure:
- Presence of a course calendar and easy navigation,
- Be free from all types of verbal or grammatical errors,
- Ensure a procedure for easy payment and enrolment,
- Issue simple, understandable instructions to increase learnability,
- Have advanced search options along with the ability to pause, rewind or forward course material,
- Ensures secured learning and easy retrieval of historical data and
- Have the ability to grade using quizzes, exams etc.
- For the course administrator, the needs would be to:
- Ensure an updated course structure,
- Have the ability to upload new content, courses, video etc.,
- Be able to get notifications for new enrolments or errors and problems faced by users,
- Enable remote learning by scheduling online or virtual classes,
- Be able to randomize test questions, grade them accurately and integrate the grades,
- Conduct test surveys, hold discussion forums, re-grade papers and maintain historical data for retrieval,
- Incorporate a self-help guide and
- Have proper security mechanisms in place along with copyrights and multi-language support.
- For the investor or businessman maintaining the education institution or enabling e-learning, E-learning App Testing Services are a necessity so that:
- The app is able to add value and ensure a hassle-free experience,
- Slow or poor connectivity has no effect on the online classes being held,
- It can be scaled up with new degrees and courses irrespective of the demographics,
- Maintenance is easy and low cost and
- System has a high uptime and is readily available.
To cater to so many different needs and requirements in an accurate manner, to also ensure SCORM compliance, interoperability of the e-learning apps, easy accessibility and maintain high quality standards, it is mandatory to avail E-learning App Testing Services. Commercially, an error free, high quality, flexible and adaptable app will also ensure that end-customers are not lost to competition. Thus it is a fact that the success of any e-learning app or venture truly depends on the use of efficient app testing services.