What do clients validate when creating a learning experience?

Validation and feedback are key for the development of learning solutions. We always work in close collaboration with our clients to make sure that we address all their specific needs and design the perfect tailor-made solution for them. Thus, we encourage clients to participate actively during the whole process so that deadlines are met effectively.

Even though each project is different and we create custom-built solutions, our development process is usually divided into four main phases: needs analysis, instructional design, graphic design and multimedia production. Each phase requires a different type of validation and, before starting the development of a new phase, it is important to make all the necessary adjustments in previous phases.

Find below some validation guidelines for each phase:

Project General Validation Guidelines

There are specific validation guidelines based on the project development stages. Find below a set of general guidelines:

  • Feedback should always be unified. If more than one person will be involved in the validation process, the client must coordinate its team to provide final single feedback. This is key because comments can sometimes be contradictory among validating parties. Make sure that your feedback is clear and unified so the development process can run smoothly.

  • Comments must lead to an actionable item in the following development stage. Thus, feedback must be meaningful, complete and straightforward. Let’s see an example:

    • Expected feedback: “Replace word X by word Y.” / “Change color from green to red.”
    • Undesired feedback: “This part needs rephrasing.” / “We want a different design here.”

  • Unless necessary (such as in the case of having to rewrite part of the script), there will only be one instance to validate changes in each stage. The changes will be applied on the following stage and the client will be able to validate them upon receiving the next deliverable. This means, for example, that minor changes on the static design of a clip will be validated by the client upon receiving the animated version of the clip. This way, we avoid delays in the overall schedule and we make validation more dynamic.

  • Every training piece must be validated. Since training solutions usually combine different formats, it is essential to set priorities and establish a clear validation order. For instance, when more than one file is awaiting the client’s validation, they should be prioritized in the following order (this order is based on how complex it is to produce each type of content):

    • Clips
    • Storyline modules
    • Rise modules
    • PDFs
    • Assessments

Script Validation Guidelines

What does the client validate?

  • The content of the script
  • Text accuracy and narration
  • Phrasing and industry terminology
  • Activities and feedback

Text: this includes text on screen as well as the content in the notes section. The latter will be narrated. This is the only stage at which content should be validated.

Visual cues: even though at this stage graphic designers are not involved yet, the client is expected to validate if visual cues have correctly been chosen. Validation should not focus on the colors or overall design of the icon, since that will be dealt with in the graphic design stage.

Menu and navigation: the client is expected to validate menu titles, indentation and overall navigation, that is, for instance, if users should explore clickable items on screen before being able to move forward.

Upon receiving the client’s feedback, Third Term Learning will proceed to its implementation and, only if necessary, will send a new version of the scripts for validation. Otherwise, the updated scripts will be sent to the next stage in the development process.

Static Version Validation Guidelines

What does the client validate?

  • Graphic design / identity
  • Visual elements
  • Colors, logos and typographies
  • Technical elements representation

If changes in content are made at this stage, they may result in delays. Even though the course has not been narrated at this stage yet, any change in the notes may have an impact on screen, thus causing additional work for instructional and graphic designers.

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Animated Version Validation Guidelines

What does the client validate?

At this stage, the client is expected to validate the animated version (link) of each deliverable, including:

  • Accuracy of narration
  • Synchronization of elements on screen
  • Overall course and navigation functionality

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If changes in the content or graphic design are made at this stage, they may result in delays.

Additional Considerations

Third Term Learning suggests setting up a call to go through the validation of the first deliverable at all validation stages. The purpose of these calls will be to look at the client’s feedback and determine if the deliverables have been correctly validated for the process to run smoothly in subsequent stages and with subsequent deliverables. Additionally, we can schedule other meetings to clear doubts regarding deliverables themselves or feedback.

It should also be noted that any delay in the client’s validation will not translate into an equal delay in Third Term Learning’s project pipeline. For instance, a one-day delay by the client may result in a longer delay in the project as resources need to be re-coordinated and timelines must be adjusted.

Efficient validation can ensure that the expected deadlines are met and that work plans are followed without needing to adjust timelines. Team work, collaboration between provider and client, and constant communication are the three pillars of a smooth, dynamic and productive development process.

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