Staff Induction: Support for Managers Moodle course and my experience of user testing

Posted in: Staff experiences, Top tips

What’s the idea and who is this Moodle page for?

Back in 2017 while working on the Staff Induction Moodle course, it was found that there was a LOT of variation when it came to how inductions were carried out across the Faculty. This finding prompted a few staff members to come up with the idea for a Support for Managers Moodle course to guide those giving inductions, meaning that all new starters should be given consistent information when they start working within Engineering and Design.

If you’re new to management or have not inducted many people before, the idea of doing so within the Faculty will probably seem pretty daunting, which is where the Support for Managers Moodle page comes in. An all-encompassing and informative page relevant to the whole Faculty, the idea is that this page will become a reference point for all managers in order to ensure that every inductee gets a consistent induction into life within the FED, regardless of which area they work in.

The user testing process

A small working group was assembled in order to user test the page once it was set up and to work through feedback, making sure the page was delivering what was really needed by managers.

Myself and Beth Jones (of Marketing and Web fame) met with 5 people who deal with inducting new staff from across the Faculty; spanning academic, technical and administrative roles, and asked them for their opinion about the page.

User testing is such an important tool to utilise when trying out a new objective or creating a new space (especially in Moodle) as it gives you the opportunity to see whether the content you’ve put together is actually useful and whether the feel of the page is right for your audience. The page should flow really easily and should be intuitive when someone visits, and the good thing about user testing is that you get completely honest feedback, offering positive reviews as well as constructive suggestions for the parts that aren’t quite there yet. In our working group follow up sessions, we were able to move some sections around, add information and documents that weren’t there before, and remove content completely that wasn’t deemed relevant. We also made sure that managers can contribute to the module by uploading their own induction documents and sharing best practice making the page a lot more interactive.

My top tips for user testing

If you ever find yourself having to user test here a few things I learned while working on the Support for Managers Moodle page:

  • Make sure there are two of you at every session. It’s so much easier to have one person asking the questions/guiding your testers through your page and one other typing up notes.
  • Come up with a good list of questions you want to ask beforehand and make sure you ask everyone the same core things. If you arrive unprepared, you’ll just sit panicking when you get in the room!
  • Of course, it’s also great to ask extra questions depending on how the conversation goes with each tester. The questions you prepare aren’t an exhaustive list of what might come up in the conversation and your tester may bring up points you didn’t even think of.
  • Give yourself a whole hour per session. It might not go on that long but if you try and rush through your questions, you’ll lose your composure and the impact will be lost on your testers.
  • Make sure you are testing the right people – people who will actually be using your page. Also, it’s best to test at least 4-5 people if you can for a good range of opinions.
  • Have fun! Enjoy chatting with colleagues who you wouldn’t normally see. Crack some jokes and break the ice. If you incorporate your points into some normal chat, your testers will be put at ease and will be much more honest with you 😊

Got a spare few minutes?

If you’ve found this little story interesting, are wondering what the finished page looks like, or just have a spare couple of minutes, head over to the Support for Managers Moodle course and have a scroll around. There’s a space for feedback embedded within the page so feel free to offer any words of wisdom if they come to you!

Remember, although user testing may seem a little daunting and time consuming at first, it is an essential part of setting up a new resource for staff and will end up being one of the most important steps you take!

Posted in: Staff experiences, Top tips

Try out the Staff Induction: Support for Managers moodle module