3 Edtech Challenges that Better QA Practices Can Help Solve

Picture of Ashley Dotterweich
Ashley Dotterweich, Thursday January 21, 2016

Edtech has been stirring up investor interest to the tune of around $1.6 billion in 2015, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. As Edtech booms, the pressure to create products that work seamlessly from the very first click increases. Developers will have to lean on high-impact QA practices to ensure their Edtech applications can captivate and educate successfully.

Last April, the U.S. Department of Education issued the Ed Tech Developer’s Guide, which outlined ten major issues that Edtech startups, developers, and entrepreneurs can help to improve. Here are three education issues from the guide that require top-notch quality assurance, and how to focus your QA efforts to have the biggest impact.

Improving Mastery of Academic Skills

“Teachers are seeking tools to help increase opportunities to practice skills in authentic environments and help students take more control of their learning.”

Edtech applications should go beyond digitizing existing lessons. Instead developers should leverage new digital, interactive formats to help improve students’ engagement with and understanding of important concepts. Edtech developers are encouraged to think outside the box and push the boundaries of education. By leveraging technology, both teachers and parents can give students powerful tools to enhance their understanding of key concepts and spark an ongoing interest in education.

How QA Can Help: From tools to practice skills to games that encourage students to explore, interactive platforms can have multiple complex user flows. Oftentimes there are many different ways for a students to interact with the platform. Exploratory testing and UI testing ensure that Edtech applications are easy to use for users of all ages.

Increasing Family Engagement

“Connecting parents of all backgrounds to school communities empowers them to become active, informed advocates for their children throughout their education.”

Increasing involvement of parents and caregivers is a critical factor when it comes to ensuring student success. Technology in the classroom provides schools and families the unique ability to communicate more effectively with students.Oftentimes, having multiple user personas and varying levels of access permissions can create the need for more complex testing flows. However, multiple user personas with varying levels of access can create the need for more complex, time-consuming testing flows.

How QA Can Help: UI testing to ensure that applications are clear and easy to use for parents. For web-based apps, testing across multiple browsers is critical to ensuring that parents can use applications regardless of how they access it.

Making Learning Accessible to All Students

“Accessibility needs to be considered as a feature to be built in from the outset.”

Approximately 1-3% of school-age children have been diagnosed with learning disabilities, and many others have sensory impairments such as blindness or deafness, which may require special technological accommodations. Many schools aren’t able to use applications if they aren’t accessible to all students, so including features like searchability, text-to-audio, and increased font sizes is an important consideration for developers. Accessibility should be more than an afterthought, especially where educational value is concerned.

How QA Can Help: Accessibility testing is an often overlooked category for SaaS products, but within Edtech it can make or break wide-scale adoption due to school regulations and laws. QA testers should include test suites that account for the experience gap between users and testers.

Rainforest QA and Edtech

Edtech is a quickly evolving space, and software testing shouldn’t be a bottleneck that keeps organizations with fresh, innovative ideas moving fast. Find and squash bugs before they get to production by fast-moving, flexible QA techniques and tools.

Discover how Edtech developers and testers are using the Rainforest Continuous QA platform to build better educational tools and improve students’ experience by checking out our Edtech industry data sheet.