How to Create E-Learning Cloud Software Users Will Love
How to create an innovative and fascinating e-learning cloud solution, you need to come up with useful features for an e-learning product.
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Over the last ten months, the educational sector was forced to reconsider many routines. After the shutdowns, schools had to create a virtual learning environment that would be as close to classroom learning as possible. And to be honest, that appeared to be a huge problem due to both unequal access to gadgets and lack of integration of technology into the daily educational practices.
These circumstances resulted in the increased attention to e-learning using cloud computing. On the one hand, cloud software helps to make the shift to remote studying less complicated. On the other hand, it offers benefits to exploit in a traditional classroom environment as well.
So if you decide whether developing a new e-learning solution is a good idea, there are no reasons to doubt it: it certainly is. There is another issue to focus your attention on. Developing interesting features is only half of success. The rest depends on how well you test those features.
What to Test In Cloud E-Learning Software?
There are different types of cloud-based software: classroom management tools, video conferencing software, LMS, MOOC platforms, and more. Despite all the differences between these cloud-based e-learning solutions, there are some things they have in common: types of testing to pass before the release. So here’s your brief guide to testing an e-learning cloud app.
Performance Testing – Check How Software Handles Traffic
A Netherland-based online learning platform Squla had to deal with a twentyfold traffic increase when schools switched to remote education. The IT system nearly collapsed due to the heavy traffic and needed to improve database performance to deliver educational services. The same happened to the Italian classroom collaboration platform WeSchool and probably a bunch of other solutions, too.
To prevent performance and load issues, QA specialists run different types of performance testing. Here are some of the essentials for e-learning cloud software.
- Load testing estimates the ability of a software product to handle an expected average number of users. By simulating real user scenarios, a QA team can predict how a system is going to respond to normal and peak conditions.
- Spike testing, which goes hand in hand with load, inspects sudden extreme increase or decrease in traffic is an object.
- Soak testing provides insights on how a system behaves under the expected load during an extensive period. The ability of software to handle intensive traffic doesn’t guarantee that it will remain stable, so this should be tested separately.
- Volume testing helps an ability to handle large volumes of data, including both educational materials and user information.
- Scalability testing helps to make sure that an increasing number of users won’t affect the infrastructure of an e-learning platform. For example, new users will generate more requests to access data, and that shouldn’t slow down the system.
Functional Testing – Check E-Learning Cloud Features
For functional testing, a QA team studies business requirements and verifies the implemented software features against those described in the project documentation. Let’s take a look at several examples.
Video-based learning is a trend shared by many popular educational solutions. If your platform features lessons in video format, it is essential to make sure audio tracks and subtitles are synced with video, users can manage playback speed, a video starts from the same moment where a person left, etc.
Reporting is essential for both school/university and corporate LMS. The system should record the data reflecting individual course progress and validate it against the set parameters. For instance, educators should receive the pass/fail reports with sound arguments, like specific timing, test results, etc.
Social learning that provides opportunities for in-app interactions, like commenting, discussions, and peer reviews, requires careful testing as well. On the one hand, it is essential to check the basic features: access to certain closed groups, opportunity to comment on other posts, accessing peer-review sections after completing certain steps, etc. On the other hand, developers might consider filters to track hate speech and inappropriate comments.
Interoperability Testing – Check Third-Party Apps
Most likely, you’ll need to integrate your cloud-based e-learning platform with third-party apps. It may be YouTube, SoundCloud, GoogleSuite, messengers, or anything else. Payment systems belong here, too.
Why is that necessary to connect third-party apps? Because users want to have everything within easy reach, and using existing widely-used solutions is more efficient than developing custom ones. Therefore, a QA team will need to check how the software interacts with all the external systems.
GUI Testing – Check Frontend Components
GUI testing focuses on probably the most visible part of the software product — its interface. Graphic user interface encompasses all the elements that let users interact with the backend — buttons, forms, checkboxes, lists, drag-and-drop elements, etc. So it is important to check GUI both in terms of layout and functionality.
Compatibility Testing – Check a Product on Various Devices
Compatibility testing is meant to find out how well your e-learning cloud will work on different devices, screens, OS, and browsers versions. It is better to create software that initially works on computers and smartphones. Speaking about the diversity of devices, software testing companies always have the most widely used physical PCs and smartphones, and the device library can extend by applying virtual solutions when needed.
What Else to Test in a Cloud E-Learning Solution?
The types of testing to run for an e-learning software product would be more numerous, but the final list depends on the peculiarities of a product. For sure, you’ll need:
- smoke testing to check the basic functionality, like installation and user registration, before moving to more serious tests;
- compliance testing to validate the application against the industry standards;
- security testing to verify that sensitive data is remains confidential;
- localization testing to check whether the product has been adapted to different markets;
- regression testing for every build to make sure code modifications haven’t affected the working functionality;
- user acceptance testing to learn how real users react to your product and gather feedback for future improvements.
As you can see, there’s much work to be done. It proves once again that you cannot just skip testing and proceed straight to release, hoping that no critical bugs will pop up.
E-Learning Cloud Services: Examples
The best way to create e-learning cloud software users will love is to study similar solutions and come up with something better in terms of functionality or quality.
Read user reviews to get better insights. But be careful there: students aren’t always the most serious audience. The fact that Google Classroom has been spammed with one-star reviews because teenagers were tired of homeschooling proves this perfectly. Though not perfect, Google Classroom remains one of the most widely used solutions, so its pros deserve some attention.
We decided to wrap up the article with a list of popular e-learning solutions you can use as a reference, an inspiration, or an example of what to avoid in your future application.
- AWS eLearning — a combo solution. You’ll find both courses and certifications on cloud technologies and get an opportunity to use the platform resources for building your own cloud software.
- Google Classroom — one of Google’s solutions for online education for academic institutions that easily interconnects with the rest of the products from Google Suite.
- Microsoft Azure Cloud — an online learning environment for students and teachers, with advanced accessibility tools, free for schools and universities.
- Adobe Captivate Prime LMS — an LMS for corporate education that introduces AI social learning.
- Docebo — an AI-powered platform for customer and partner training, as well as employee onboarding and development.
- Udemy — one of the top MOOC platforms that reminds an online learning marketplace, particularly, due to a wide variety of courses and user-generated content support.
- Knowledge Matters — a cloud-based educational simulator for businesses that offers high school and college students test their case studies and run virtual businesses.
- Blackboard Classroom — a digital learning environment for K-12 meant to increase student engagement and enhance teacher productivity partially based on AWS infrastructure.
- ClassFlow — a platform that facilitates interactive lesson delivery, enables better collaboration and provides access to shared educational content by different creators.
- Muzzy Lane — an authoring service for creating game-based educational content, like role-plays, real-world conversations in the chat-based environment, and much more.
- brightwheel — a management and communication platform created for connecting schools and parents that also facilitates billing, enrollment, and learning plans management.
- Cameyo — a digital workspace that offers solutions for the educational sector, providing access to all the Windows apps from the cloud.
Learning software helps to transform the educational process, making it more agile and innovative. Digitalization can be costly, but it doesn’t have to. Schools, colleges, and universities don’t always have an opportunity to buy and maintain their own hardware.
Thus, e-learning cloud solutions have become an amazing way to enhance the learning experience. That also means that developing new cloud platforms for the educational sector is an idea worth investing in. Just remember that testing is an essential part of this process — along with the concept formulated in business requirements and coding.
Detailed checkup of the functional and performance aspects of an application will help to make sure that the end product you deliver to the audience turns out to be exactly as you expected. All you need to do is to choose a QA company with experience in e-learning and ready to adapt to your processes.
Published at DZone with permission of Kate Zalozna. See the original article here.
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