You and your team have worked for months developing your Learning Management System (LMS). You’ve ensured a smooth integration with your member database, designed the site’s style and branding, migrated content, fined tuned the site’s look and feel, added your payment gateway and are finally sitting in front of a finished product. Time to pop the champagne? Hold onto those corks for one more second.

Before a LMS goes live, there’s one final step, and this one’s a critical one: testing. Testing is so important because it is a way to identify and correct two major hiccups before the site goes live:

  1. Bugs or mistakes
  2. Disapproval from your board or member community

Locating and correcting any bugs or mistakes in the site is important because, even though your LMS producer likely went through exhaustive quality control testing of your platform before delivery of the product to you, you are better equipped to recognize some errors they may not catch. Particularly in the area of the user experience , you know your members better than anyone, and know what they’re used to and what may seem foreign or confusing to them. As Learning Solutions Magazine explains,

You are…testing to make sure your configuration, courses, and data are available in the system as you [and your members] expect them to be.

The second roadblock that LMS testing helps to identify is any pushback you may receive from your board and/or members. This is, in essence, a political move – having your board or a sample of your members use the site and provide feedback not only helps you catch any mistakes, but also provides these groups the opportunity to be heard. In this way, you are able to raise any user concerns with your vendor before the site goes live, and avoid having to scramble to make alterations in the first month after launch in the face of unhappy constituents.

CommPartners’ client, the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), is currently nearing the end of a two month testing process of its new Elevate LMS with its board members. For AHLA, this testing process ensured that its board had an opportunity to sign off on the site before it goes live, rather than coming to AHLA staff with complaints and/or modifications after the fact. Fortunately, AHLA reports its board members are pleased with the product, “by and large, our leaders were all very happy with it, recognizing that it is a much better system and very intuitive,” said AHLA’s Senior Manager with Practice Groups Distance Learning, K.J. Forest. However, this process has allowed AHLA to identify some fine-tuning needs that it was able to work collaboratively with CommPartners to correct. Ultimately, AHLA will be able to launch a site that matches one of its primary goals in seeking a new LMS – confidence, as K.J. said “we wanted to be able to offer [these benefits to our members] with more confidence,” than they had previously.

If you have thoughts or questions about the content of this blog, please contact Eve at efinstein@commpartners.com.

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