Test for Comprehension

Designing Information Material 4(1+3)

Lesson 16 : Field Testing

Test for Comprehension

  • Does the audience understand the message?
  • Does the message contain words or ideas that the audience finds hard to understand?
  • Is the message communicated using the language commonly used by the intended audience?

Test for Acceptability

  • Are words, ideas, images, and layout pleasing to the intended audience?
  • Are any words, ideas, or images offensive to any groups in the audience?
  • Are the messages important to your audience? Should any other ideas or messages important to the audience be included in the material?
  • Are too many messages or visuals being conveyed at the same time? Should some messages or visuals be eliminated? Analyze Your Findings and Refine Your Messages and Visual Concepts Summarize your findings in a report that includes a description of the pretest’s objectives and participants, how and where the tests were administered, and the conclusions that emerged in the focus groups and interviews. Include recommendations for revisions and copies of instruments (questionnaires, discussion guides) used. When reviewing your results, look for general trends and agreement on issues, but also note disagreements. It’s more valuable to capture the range of opinions
    about an issue, rather than just to focus on agreements or consensus. Pretesting may bring up some suggestions and concerns, but it is always your decision as to whether to incorporate those suggestions or address those concerns. A common error is to over-generalize findings from preliminary pretesting: If 20 out of 40 people in your pretest found an aspect of the material confusing; it doesn’t mean that half of the general public will. Still, it does suggest that you may want to strongly consider revisions to address that issue. The number of respondents participating in the testing may affect the weight you give to each person’s opinions. If, for example, 3 out of 50 people share a particular response, it may not be as much of a concern as having 3 out of 10 people share that response. Also consider the nature of the comment. Remarks indicating a problem with message comprehension need to be considered very carefully. Some changes might be fairly simple to make (for example, choosing words that are more easily understood or more clearly labeling illustrations), so you might make those changes even if only a few respondents note them. Comments about the appeal of the material might be less of a concern if brought up by only a few participants, as no format will appeal to everyone. You might need to start over if participants found the materials so confusing that the key behavioral objective could not be identified, or the messages had little personal relevance to the members or were culturally inappropriate.
    When we design information and learning materials, it is very important that the materials are reviewed and approved by people with expert knowledge in the appropriate fields. The effort put into training and learning may actually give a negative result, and the learner may end up less competent than before the learning experience. This may happen when he or she uses information and learning materials that has poor readability of text and pictures, and therefore is hard to understand.
Last modified: Tuesday, 1 May 2012, 7:25 AM