Notifications are an essential part of any eLearning platform. They keep learners informed about new updates, activities, and course content. This blog post will discuss five ways to test an email notification in Docebo LMS. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to choose the one that best suits your needs. Let’s get started!
Why Testing Notifications is Important
Before we dive into the different ways of testing notifications, it’s necessary to understand why testing them is so important. As I said above, notifications are the backbone of communication in any eLearning platform. They are how learners receive critical information and how an admin can keep track of learner activity.
If notifications are not working correctly, it can significantly impact the learning experience. For example, you may find users unable to access newly published content, missing course deadlines, or even showing up to the wrong ILT session. In short, testing notifications are essential to ensuring that your learners receive the information they need.
Monitoring Docebo Notifications
Before you do any notifications testing, it’s crucial to set up a monitor email. A monitor email is an email address cc’d on every email that your Docebo LMS sends. To set this up, navigate to the advanced settings page from the admin menu. Then open the advanced tab and enter the email address you would like to use in the field labeled: CC this email address for all emails sent by the platform. Be warned that whatever address you use will receive every email sent from the platform. So, it’s important to use an address with an inbox that you don’t mind filling up. To find more information on this setting, check out Docebo’s official documentation.
Before we get to the testing methods, let’s talk about test users. The term “test user” refers to a user account created specifically for testing purposes. This account should not be associated with any real person and should only be used for testing. Nearly all of the methods below involve a test user who will be one of the recipients of the test notification.
To set up a test user, follow the same steps that you would use to create any user. You will then need to add your new user to any branches, groups, or courses relevant to your test.
Now that a notification monitor and at least one test user are set up let’s look at some of the different ways that you can test notifications in Docebo.
Using an Online HTML Editor
This method doesn’t technically test the notification, but it will allow you to see what the notification looks like without sending it. Since Docebo’s notifications are built using HTML, there are a lot of benefits to pulling them into an online HTML editor. Not only will this give you a better idea of how the notification will look, but it can also help with debugging.
To test a notification using an HTML editor, open the description in the notification’s settings and click the source code button.
Then right-click on the text field and choose “select all”. Next, copy the HTML and paste it into an HTML editor.
When to Use an Online HTML Editor
This method should be used as a first step whenever testing any notification. It gives an idea of what the notification will look like that is more accurate than Docebo’s built-in WYSIWYG editor. This is also perfect for testing any quick formatting changes that don’t need a full test.
When not to use an Online HTML Editor
If you are testing anything beyond how the notification looks, then you will need to use one of the other methods on this list.
Send Notifications Manually
Most notification triggers in Docebo require an action from the learner in order for the notification to be sent. However, one trigger does not require any action from the user. In fact, the trigger is designed to be used when the learner has not taken a certain action. This is the Learner has yet to complete a course trigger.
This trigger is the quickest way to fully test a notification, but it requires a one-time setup. Create a course named “Notifications Test” then enroll a test user in the course.
After this setup, take the notification you would like to test and change the trigger to Learner has yet to complete a course. Then, in the Schedule Notification menu, choose the Manually option.
Next, remove all assigned branches, groups, and courses from the notification and assign your “Notifications Test” course. Then save the notification and find it in the notifications menu. You will see a new button added to the row with the notification.
A green play button will appear next to the publish checkmark.
If you press this button, you will be prompted with a pop-up asking if you would like to proceed. Hit the checkbox and then click “trigger.”
Your test user should receive the notification shortly.
When to use the Learner has yet to Complete a Course Trigger
This method is perfect for any time you need to test the same notifications multiple times. For example, when making many small changes to a course enrollment notification, this method saves time by not re-enroll your test user to retrigger the notification for each new version.
When not to use the Learner has yet to Complete a Course Trigger
This method, although easy to use, is not ideal for every notification. For example, if you are using trigger-specific shortcodes or testing the notification trigger, you will want to use a different method. Also, this method requires you to reset any branches, groups, or courses assigned to the notification, which could leave a lot of room for error when you publish the notification.
Using a Branch or Group to Test Notifications
Another method is to assign your notification to a branch or group explicitly created for testing notifications. This method is a fundamental way to see what the notification will look like after it’s sent and ensure the trigger is functioning correctly.
When to use a Notifications Test Branch or Group
Use a test branch or group when you want an example of how the notification will look after being sent or if you just need to make sure the trigger is working correctly. It’s best used when creating a notification before the actual branch or group has been set.
When not to use a Notifications Test Branch or Group
This method is not ideal for testing every notification. Like the previous method, you will have to remove any branches or groups, which can be tedious for notifications that target multiple branches or groups.
Using Power Users
Power users are a special type of user in Docebo with extra permissions. These permissions are associated with power users through profiles. When selecting a user level in a notification, a power user profile can be selected limiting the recipients of the notification to only those power users assigned to that profile.
What this means is you can create a power user profile that is only assigned to test users and then send notifications to only those users without changing the branches, groups, or courses that the notification is assigned to.
The first step will be to create a power user profile named “Notifications Test.” Since only test users will be assigned to this profile, don’t worry about giving it any permissions.
After the profile is created, you will need to create a power user for each user role in your platform. When naming these users, use “Test” as the last name, then as a first name use something descriptive. For example, if you were making a test user for a user in the “Certified” branch, you could name that user “CertifiedBranch Test”. This step is important to keep your test users organized, especially if you have more than a handful of roles in your platform.
Now that the test power users are set up, the next step is to assign the notification you are testing to the “Notifications Test” power user profile. Navigate the notification settings until you are asked to select a target role. Choose “Power Users” from the drop-down and choose the “Notifications Test” profile. Save the notification. All that’s left is to trigger the notification for your test users. Depending on which trigger you are using, you may want to use a group.
Using Groups with Power Users
By adding all of your power users to a group, you can quickly activate some notification triggers for all power users at once. For example, the User Enrolled into a Course trigger can be activated by adding all of your power users to a group and then adding all users in that group to the associated course.
When to use Power Users
This is a great method for testing just about all notifications. It’s perfect for making sure the right users will receive a notification. It’s also a good way to test the visual appearance of a notification for different user roles.
When not to use Power Users
Unfortunately, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Some notifications don’t have the option to be sent to power users. You also may not want to use this method if the notification will be sent to an admin, as you cannot select more than one role per notification.
Testing Scheduled Notifications
Scheduled notifications are a bit different than other types of notifications because they are not sent immediately. Usually, to test a scheduled notification, you will need to wait for the notification to be sent until its scheduled time and date. But if the scheduled date is three weeks out, you probably don’t want to wait that long. Below I’ll cover how to test two different scheduled notifications.
Scheduled Notifications Triggered by Enrollment Date
Enroll a test user into the associated course using the course’s enrollment menu. When you enroll the user, add a custom date that is however many hours, days, or weeks before or after the notification’s scheduled time.
Scheduled Notifications Triggered by an ILT Session
Create a new course, then create a test ILT session for the new course. When you create the ILT session, schedule it for a custom date that is however many hours, days, or weeks before or after the current time according to the notification’s scheduled time. Now assign the test course to the notification that you are sending.
The best way to test a notification depends on the notification itself. The power user method is the most powerful, but if you just want to test the visual appearance without all the setup, you may just need an HTML editor.
Call the Experts
If you need help testing notifications or any other aspect of your Docebo LMS, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And if you’re looking for more tips on using Docebo, be sure to check out our blog.
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