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QC: The Unsung Heroes of L&D

Let’s talk about Quality Control (QC) reviews. I usually start with a joke or a story, but this article has undergone a few rewrites, and honestly, I am struggling with how to get my point across. But I think I have landed on something I can be happy with. I have struggled writing this article because quality control is a subject I feel passionate about and I do not think it gets the respect it deserves. In most companies, there is no process around reviews and QC, which is crazy to me. Anyone who has done this job for any length of time knows that quality reviews of your learning objects are key to a great final product.

So, what do I mean when I use the term QC? Well, there are two types of reviews we use for our learning objects (this includes written materials, eLearnings, ILT/VILT, etc.). The most well-known is the stakeholder and SME review where we send the deliverable to the team and have them review it for content. That is not what this article is about.

This article is about what happens before that review and before our clients see what we have developed. We call this the QC review. Before coming to Lumious, the task of performing the QC review would be mine and mine alone. It was my job to review the content and ensure that all the grammar and spelling, functionality, and accessibility were all there and good to go before sending the deliverable out for client review. If I sent something out that had a grammar or spelling mistake, I was told I should have paid better attention. The deliverable was not ready for wider review, and I should go over it again. This was difficult for me because I was there for all the different versions and changes. After a while, my eyes would start to jump over the parts of the document or eLearning that I was used to, effectively crippling my ability to look at it objectively.

And this phenomenon is not unique to me. As I have worked with other teams and IDs, I have come to realize that this is something that happens to most, if not all, IDs. It is difficult to review a deliverable that you have spent countless hours on and be objective in your review and catch all the minor edits that may be needed. Even so, it seems most IDs are still performing their own QC reviews. However, at Lumious we are lucky to have a different process.

We have a dedicated team of QC reviewers we contract with, and their job is to review our materials from an unbiased and outside perspective. They are mainly focused on grammar, spelling, functionality, and accessibility. They will also leave comments on anything that may confuse learners. I have found that their comments point out the smaller things that typically slip by me in my reviews, such as Randomly capitalized letters (for some reason, I tend to read right over them, as you may have in this very sentence). Their comments also provide a fresh perspective into what an outside person sees when taking your course.

In my experience, the longer you work on a project, the more your brain starts to skip over things in your review. The outside perspective of the QC reviewer is what is needed to make sure you are putting your best product forward when you present it to your client. No document or eLearning is perfect on the first draft, or the final draft most of the time for that matter (however, that is a topic for a different article). This feeling that something must be perfect before you show it to anyone else is unrealistic and can be debilitating. QC reviews are the answer to this problem. They can give you confidence that all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, and they can make sure you have considered how new learners will view your materials.

In short, these QC reviews help you by making sure you do not look sloppy or stupid to people who are unaware of what it takes to develop learning. That is why I am passionate about their role in our organization. They are the unsung heroes of learning and development, whether they are a dedicated QC reviewer or someone on your team who helps you when you need them.

In closing, I want to say to all the QC reviewers that have reviewed my work and any other L&D deliverables, thank you for always helping me put my best foot forward. I appreciate your time and efforts. I think you may be overlooked in the grand scheme of things, and for that, I am sorry. Just know that I am aware of your talents and efforts, and I appreciate them.

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