How to beta test your online course prior to launching

Home Course planning tips How to beta test your online course prior to launching

Launching can be a scary and crazy time. You’ve spent hours creating your online course and it’s been blood, sweat and probably a few tears along the way. But how do you know when it’s time to hit publish and send it out into the world?

Naturally, you want to make sure that you’ve ironed out all the kinks in your online course and that everything is working seamlessly before you hit the launch button.

Beta Test Prior to Launch

So what do you do? Well, there’s two things, especially if you’ve DIY’ed your course:

  • The first is to get an expert second set of eyes to review your course.  Ideally, you want to hire an online course or instructional designer who knows about online learning design, to give your course a final once over. They’ll be able to suggest ways to improve your course and can give you valuable feedback to ensure your students get maximum results. 
  • And secondly, you must beta test your course prior to launching. It’s not just ok for you, your hubbie or friends to test drive your course.

Review your course

I reviewed Veronika Mestyan’s new online course wherein she teaches you how to create beautiful PDF documents using MS Word. Veronika is a MS Word queen and creates gorgeous PDF’s and printables that you’ll think were created in Photoshop. You can find out more about her courses by checking out her website

This is what Veronika had to say after my review:

“I was about to release my first e-course and wanted to make sure it passed the standards for a quality self-study course. Tracey reviewed my entire e-course and gave honest feedback with suggestions on how to improve the overall user experience. She also answered all my questions and discussed with me ways to add even more value to my course.

I would say it’s a must for any course creator to have a second set of eyes review your “heart poured into” project, to make sure you’re not missing any key elements. This is where Tracey’s work shines and you can be sure she’ll give you the best professional and actionable advice on your e-course.”

Conduct a beta test

A beta test gives you information on what you need to do in order to improve your course before you launch it to your students.

How does beta testing work

It’s simply asking between 5 to 10 of your target audience/clients/subscribers to test your course by checking as many elements of the course as possible. You enrol them into the course, give them free access for a limited time and ask for feedback. 

How to gather feedback

To save yourself from reading many emails that may or may not make sense, I suggest creating an evaluation worksheet that asks a few key questions about the most important areas of your online course.

If you’re not sure which questions to ask or which areas to test, download my free cheat sheet by clicking on any of the images. 

And finally, remember to always give your beta testers a feedback due date so that you’re not having to chase them or wait indefinitely for answers.

Why bother beta testing

There’s a few reasons why you should beta test:

To test user experience

  • Your course must be created with your user or student in mind. Beta testers check for ease of navigation and overall learning experience. Feedback on your course sequence, multimedia, navigation buttons, hyperlinks, resources, audio levels and design must also be taken into account.

Review your content

  • Testers can give you feedback on your course content and whether the content helped them to achieve the goals of the course. Further feedback can be obtained on the level of complexity of content and/or whether any content gaps exist.

Gather testimonials for your sales page

  • There’s no reason why you can’t use raving reviews from your testers for your sales pages. You could ask them to list three things they liked about the course, then get their permission to use this feedback in your course marketing materials. This way, you’ve got social proof before you’ve even launched.

Where to find quality beta testers

Use a sample of your ideal students. Choose a few peeps from your email list or your social media followers. The easiest way to do this is to ask. You can choose randoms but bear in mind that they may not be as interested in your content as your tribe. Asking your ideal audience to beta test is the way to go because you’ll get feedback from people that matter and understand your content.

Free Beta Cheat Sheet

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