Best Practices for Achieving Accessibility in Digital Learning
Posted on:8 June 2023
To create all-inclusive learning programs, educational institutions must adopt vital principles of accessibility. Accessibility means that all learners can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with learning materials with ease. Although accessibility is often related to disability, the truth is that all learners can benefit from more accessible training content.
As technology enables us to move towards creating more attractive and interactive eLearning courses, we risk widening the gap between the training experience of those with and without disabilities even further. Accessibility in eLearning does not mean just providing a Word or PDF version of a course. We can do so much more to create innovative eLearning material with accessibility at the heart of it and one format of content that will cater to all requirements.
When building courses, faculty and instructional designers should factor in the usefulness of writing, designing, and developing accessible eLearning course content guided by these three principles: - universal design, universal access and universally acceptable.
e-Learning Accessibility Principles
Writing accessible eLearning course content involves use of clear sentences written in simple language and easily understood by learners. The flow of ideas should be logical with provisions for inclusion of visual alternatives such as multimedia to accommodate different learning needs. During the design process, select a Learning Management System (LMS) built with accessibility in mind - like Moodle. Provide “alt tag” text to describe all images, diagrams, and graphs, provide captions or transcripts for multimedia content such as video and audio, avoid flickering visual content that may put learners at risk of seizures, and also check for colour contrasts to ensure all your learners can see your content.
While building content for the LMS, use the content editors formatting tools correctly to give a better experience for screen-reader users. Use the correct ‘styles’ to organize and identify different levels of headings: H1, H2, H3, H4. Use the inbuilt bulleting or numbering feature. To make passages stand out, use boldfor importance, italics for emphasis and "blockquotes" for quotes. Most importantly, stick to consistent navigation. Do not use coloured or highlighted text to make passages stand out.
Whilst you will try your best to achieve accessibility in eLearning, it is always good to get feedback from learners on how they feel about the course; ask them to show you where they are having trouble and what barriers they are facing. You can do this by providing your contact details like an email address, using the chat function in the LMS or planning for a live session to handle questions and answers. The information will help shape your eLearning content to be accessible.
Ready to start designing accessible courses but do not know where to start? Look no further. KENET is available to offer further support.