I am honored to have been an invited special guest speaker on The Law School Lounge Podcast episode about “Instructional Design Quality Assurance in Academia.” When it comes to instructional design and course development for higher education, reviewing courses for quality, consistency, and learning science ensures that learners receive a quality learning experience that is engaging, motivating, and intuitive. Quality assurance helps create a seamless learning experience so learners are free to focus all their energy and cognitive efforts on the primary task of learning.

Universities can develop quality assurance (QA) standards by:

  • Considering the university’s needs and goals
  • Defining the university’s vision of quality
  • Developing a uniform template to ensure consistency and uniformity across multiple programs and courses so adult learners know what to expect from start to finish
  • Utilizing clear, consistent, and transparent QA standards

QA enhances accessibility and learner-centeredness in online courses by providing an opportunity to check for biases and/or unmet learning objectives before the course reaches students. Before launch, every QA process for instructional design should include a final review, by a fresh set of eyes, ideally viewing the course from a learner’s perspective. This crucial step helps catch any issues that may have otherwise been overlooked. Doing so ensures a positive learning experience for all.

Of course, the QA process has its challenges.

For instance, instructional designers must sometimes review learning materials that contain jargon specific to a certain field. If a reviewer is unfamiliar with the language and nomenclature of the course, profession, or industry, it may prove challenging to determine whether sentences or assignments are well-worded.

I enjoy assisting with QA for online learning because I know it helps learners receive a quality course that could lead to positive outcomes. I also have a personal and professional interest because QA and ID provide opportunities to review courses on a broad variety of topics.

Tips for IDs who are new to the QA process:

  • Take your time; don’t rush the reviews!
  • Keep a QA checklist handy, whether you are just starting out with the QA process or whether you’ve been reviewing for a while so that you can always reference the client’s QA standards
  • Review each individual page, module, or learning material, and also review the entire course as a whole to ensure it’s meeting the learning objectives and outcomes
  • Review the course objectively so that you are able to notice things that might impact learners of differing backgrounds, skill levels, and abilities