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Instructional Design Tips: Measuring Quality

measuring training development qualityWe recently did a quality campaign here at Allen, and it got me thinking about what quality is and how we measure it. In my work as an Instructional Design Consultant, quality meant courses that I was proud of and wanted to show off. As a Project Manager, quality means that my clients are happy with the courses we’ve produced.

In my experience, quality can mean different things to different clients. I’ve worked with a client for several years that needs complex academic language presented in a conversational and jargon-free tone. However, on a compliance course, a conversational tone might be sacrificed to fit in all the legal language that needs to be covered. Some clients love a lot of movement and complex animations, but other clients want to keep things simple.
Grammar often plays a big role in the perception of quality. Some clients love the Oxford comma, and others hate the Oxford comma. Should we use periods on bullets? Which terms should be capitalized?

Most of what I know about my clients’ perceptions of quality I’ve learned from working with them. We certainly glean what we can from our engagement and design meetings and from the content that is provided to us. We also evaluate comments on the design document and scripts to look for global quality preferences, but it strikes me that quality is something we should be talking about from the beginning of the process. This is because it goes well beyond just meeting the requirements laid out in a statement of work.

So I ask: what signals quality work for you? How do you measure that? And when do you start talking about it?