The Tabletop Review

The Goal of Tabletop Review

After the course has been developed, the training specialist delivers a first draft of the course materials to the client. It's now time for a tabletop review of the course.

During the tabletop review, the training specialist and client check the content's accuracy and completeness. They walk through the course materials as experts looking for errors rather than as learners interacting with the course.

The tabletop review serves as a quality assurance step. The training specialist and client check the course's content before any learners interact with the course.

How the Tabletop Review Works

The tabletop review works best when the course developers and the client's review team can actually speak with each other. A tabletop review could occur during a face-to-face meeting or a phone call. It's much more difficult to conduct a tabletop review through e-mail or reading reviewer's notes in electronic files.
During the tabletop review, the training specialist asks the client's reviewers to focus on two important questions:

  • Is the content accurate?
  • Is the content complete?

If a specific section seems vague or unclear, the training specialist might ask a third question—how can we communicate this idea better? It's important to gather ideas that will strengthen the course materials, but the tabletop review shouldn't turn into "what if" discussions that last for hours.

The tabletop review can focus very tightly on these issues because so many questions have already been asked and answered during the needs analysis and instructional design phases.

Tabletop Review Participants

The training specialist usually will ask the client's project leader and key subject matter experts to attend the tabletop review. These participants will best be able to address the questions of accuracy and completeness.

Some clients may also want other internal people to attend the tabletop review. Additionally, the client may require additional internal review cycles before the course begins pilot testing.