Is it grammar, style or just plain ol’ poor design and development?

Started going through a mandatory set of info-sessions and mini-training progs on our new Quality Assurance process.  This is something that has been in the works for quite awhile; and it is something that we really needed to pay attention to.

So far, as we’ve tried to roll out QA in bits and pieces these last few months there has been much sound and fury.  One of the biggest sources of discontent is a lack of clear distinction between the roles of the QA team and the instructional design teams.  And it’s been almost as though these two groups have been working nearly in opposition to one another.

For example, it is not unusual for the QA team to supposedly correct a “grammar” error – when in fact there was none to begin with.  (A sentence originally read as: “A manager together with her team decides to tackle the situation.”  It came back with the proverbial red ink flagging a grammatical error and requiring the sentence be changed to: “A manager together with her team decide to tackle the situation.”)

The problem arises in that the QA team actually flags something that is not an error – and their suggested revision is itself grammatically incorrect.  And it is made worse when the QA team flags over 150 such “errors.” 

Now, when we instructional designers get something like this back … and we are a proud lot, after all … we immediately jump to the conclusion that the QA team has over-stepped its responsibilities … and, more importantly, that they don’t know what they’re doing.

So much of what the QA team is requesting can be boiled down to the “well-I-wouldn’t-write-it-THAT-way” syndrome … also known as one’s own stylistic preference in writing.  And there’s the rub for many of the instructional designers. 

The ID folks have been working with the client and have delved deeply into the content, figured out the best way to represent the information to ensure learning occurs, and met with the client group to make sure it meets with their intent and approval.

Then along comes QA – characterized by many as a ‘bull in a china shop’ – asking the ID to pour through numerous edits that really boil down to writing style … but is frequently tagged as a grammar error.


We’re hoping that these info sessions will get the necessary conversations started about roles and responsibilities and scope of authority between these two teams.

About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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