LMS Parallel Testing and System Auditing
We’ve all been there: you invest in a flashy new program or device, you boot it up for the first time with high expectations, and it’s a total let down. Maybe there’s an error, maybe you can’t figure out how to perform a function, or maybe it’s just not the upgrade you expected it to be.
With personal investments, being disappointed by a tech splurge is something you can get over quite easily. When it’s a business investment, however, such as a learning management system for employee training, this can be disastrous.
This is because you’ve probably already invested significant time and money into adopting and implementing this program. And if you invested resources into upgrading your system, it was probably important to your business operations. Needless to say, you want to avoid these scenarios.
Fortunately, at RTG Solutions Group, we know what it takes to ensure that your tech investments run smoothly from the get-go. The best part? It’s not a secret recipe–just proven strategy. What we’re talking about is parallel testing and system auditing.
What is Parallel Testing?
Parallel testing is a process to evaluate the performance of a new system. The purpose of parallel testing is to compare how a new system measures up to a previous system and your organizational standards.
The best way to do this is to run a single function through the new and old systems, and then compare the overall experience or results. This is the “parallel” test process.
If your new technological investment is an improvement over your existing system, then the parallel test will demonstrate efficiency gains in one or more areas. This might mean reduced execution time, increased information accuracy, greater ease of usability, etc.
What is System Auditing?
Similar to parallel testing, system auditing is a way to test the quality of a new or existing system. The main difference between parallel testing and system auditing is that, when conducting a parallel test, you execute a single function across two systems and compare the results. Meanwhile, in system auditing, you conduct a broader assessment of an information system’s performance against your organizations’ standards or goals.
Effective Strategies for LMS Testing and Auditing
In what follows, we detail strategies for completing system tests and audits. We focus especially on software testing and system auditing in the context of LMS software for employee training.
The strategies we recommend for system testing are:
- Create daily reporting functionality for critical KPIs
- Run curriculum through a Dev>Test>Live workflow
- Perform system stress tests
- Arrange independent audit of your training system and its effectiveness
- Solicit and log feedback from end users
- Schedule curriculum enhancements and updates
- Perform updates and manage training version control in LMS
Set up reporting functionality for KPIs
If you’re not measuring your results, you’re doing it wrong! Anything and everything in the business sphere can and should be measured–you just have to figure out your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
KPIs are useful across the board for business process improvement. They are particularly helpful for measuring the performance of technologies such as LMS employee training software.
When creating a testing an implementation plan for LMS training, you want to create a reporting system for critical KPIs. This system should report KPIs on a daily basis so that progress can be assessed in real-time. Setting up a daily KPI reporting system helps team leaders spot trends–both good and bad–early on.
But how do you know what to use as your KPIs? Well, that depends entirely on your company’s unique needs, aspirations, and capabilities.
At RTG Solutions Group, we commit to understanding the people, culture, and structure of every organization we partner with. This allows us to propose solutions and measurable indicators that set your organization on a path for sustained growth.
Run curriculum in test and live environment
Software deployment is a multi-layered ecosystem. Software testing for programs like LMS employee training software should be divided into distinct phases.
You should move from the development environment (also known as sandbox), to the testing environment, to the live environment. Maintaining this phased workflow is crucial to any program’s functionality.
The first layer is the development environment, where you integrate your curriculum into the LMS interface. This is where the software changes are made. In other words, this is where you craft the code that will carry your curriculum.
The development environment should be broken up into smaller “sandboxes” where individual patches of code can be worked on without affecting the big picture.
Once your curriculum is codified into the system, you’ll want to run it in a test environment. The test environment allows your project team to review curriculum updates without jeopardizing the parts of your LMS that are already working smoothly.
In other words, the test environment is a risk-free “cyber-place” to assess functionality.
Once all the bugs have been fixed and everyone has signed off on the instructional design, it can graduate out of the testing environment. It is now ready to go into the live environment, where it officially becomes integrated with the rest of your LMS!
Perform system stress tests
Even systems that work exceptionally well under normal conditions can falter when strained by high usage volumes. Running a stress test is a great way to assess how many users your LMS training system can handle before the servers become overwhelmed.
You can perform a stress test by logging in multiple users at once and performing tasks within the system. You will want to track how usability is affected (if at all) as users are added.
This may not seem like a necessary step, particularly for a small business that does not hire in high volumes. However, it is important to be prepared for circumstances that may require mass training.
Relocations, mergers, internal reorganizations, new product launches, social crises, and company policy reforms can all create the need for high-volume training.
Whether it is due to a societal crisis or an internal adjustment, in today’s fast-paced and uncertain economy, crisis anticipation is paramount to a company’s survival. Running a stress test will show you if you are ready to face a sudden shift in business operations.
Independent audit of system performance and training retention
Independent audits can provide invaluable insights to your organization. When it comes to your LMS, independent audits can identify and assess a variety of system performance concerns, such as:
- Efficacy of training (as measured by information retention)
- Compliance with company or government policy
- Adherence to industry standards
- Conformity to cyber-security protocols
- Ease of usability
- Administration costs
- Efficient use of time
At RTG Solutions Group, our experts can evaluate system performance for a variety of programs, including your LMS. We work closely with our partners to understand your unique needs, goals, and concerns before testing your systems. This allows us to make sure your systems are performing optimally to your standards.
Audit and log feedback from end users
One quality control mechanism that will probably never become obsolete is the good ol’ fashioned survey–and for good reason. Surveys are functional, cost-effective, amenable tools for collecting information on a variety of subjects.
Whether you’ve just launched a new LMS, or you want to monitor the quality of technology that’s been in place for years, user feedback is a handy resource.
It is good practice to routinely request feedback about your LMS from the people who understand it best–the users.
Once you get this feedback, don’t just put it in a box and never look at it again. Log it and review it periodically to look for error patterns, recurring complaints, or functions that are particularly helpful.
At RTG Solutions Group, we believe that every organization should be engaged in a process of continuous improvement. Quality monitoring through feedback tracking is a fantastic way to ensure your company reaches new heights year after year. Our experts can help you develop a streamlined feedback collection process that endures the test of time.
Schedule curriculum enhancements and due dates
Continual growth is not possible without regular change! This is true on an organizational and individual level.
If your business does not adapt to changing times, its opportunity for growth and improvement will be limited. Likewise, team members require recurring professional development in order to reach their full potential.
Curriculum enhancements allow for simultaneous individual and organizational improvement. For this reason, every growth-minded organization should periodically integrate enhancements into its LMS.
Training enhancements will likely require interdepartmental collaboration. For instance, consider this scenario: your head of sales comes up with a new strategy that they want to include in the training.
They should work with the communications team to write an update for the appropriate training module. Leadership will have to sign off on curriculum updates at some point. Other staff might be consulted for their opinion. Finally, the IT team will be charged with transferring the idea into code for the LMS software.
Because training updates are complex and collaborative, creating a schedule with due dates can help maintain order, encourage accountability, and allow time for team members to prepare.
Perform updates and manage training version control
One of the reasons learning management systems are so hot right now is that they facilitate efficient business process documentation. As you perform updates to your employee training curriculum, forms, and policies, take full advantage of your LMS to help with your version control!
Because ab LMS centralizes communications and information, they can greatly streamline version control. This makes it easier to maintain an air-tight document management system, which pays dividends.
Using an LMS to perform version control for your training program is a valuable strategy to improve compliance, increase productivity, and reduce resource waste.
Business leaders should thoroughly test their digital training programs before and after they are launched. Fine-tuning your training system maximizes employee potential, which makes for a happier, more engaged, and more efficient workplace.
There are many ways to test the performance of LMS technologies. Parallel tests, function audits, stress tests, feedback logs, independent audits, and KPI tracking are a few highly effective methods for testing LMS training software.
Software deployment can be tricky! But partnering with the right consulting firm can streamline the complex process of testing and deploying a digital training curriculum. If your business is implementing or updating your LMS, we can help make it a smooth and integrated process. Contact us today.