Elearning accessibility - Learning for everyone
Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC
Disability affects 19% of Australians, 24% of New Zealanders and 19% of workers in the UK. These individuals undertake elearning just like the rest of us, yet these learners may experience challenges as not all elearning is created equal. Whereas web developers make accessibility a part of their design process there continues to be inconsistency within elearning course development and design.
In this blog we wish to convey our dedication in supporting accessible elearning to everyone so they can participate in workforce training equally. We will highlight the main areas of consideration in digital learning and what you should consider best practice in your workplace elearning programs.
What are the main elearning accessibility challenges?
Accessibility in elearning falls into the following main categories:
This is defined on a scale from the need to wear corrective glasses for short or long sightedness to total loss of sight and includes conditions such as colour-blindness. Given that elearning content is predominantly visual this could be regarded as the biggest accessibility challenge. To accommodate these needs, an alternative should be provided, such as course audio .
For people that are hard of hearing or deaf; transcripts, subtitles or closed captions should be provided to accompany visual media like videos and animations.
Reading and comprehension challenges
This is a more complex category as there are so many variables incorporating decoding skill challenges and language and reading comprehension such as ‘phonics.’ Dyslexia is a common example and attention deficit disorders also fall into this area. Simple, direct messaging can benefit the learning experience.
This could be a temporary disablement such as a hand, arm or shoulder injury or a more permanent disability affecting movement.
We highly recommend that when choosing ready-made elearning or designing your own learning program that you follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines exist to make websites and web applications accessible (elearning falls into this category as technically an elearning course module is a web application). The WCAG underline that accessibility is now a compliance requirement for all organisations.
Adopt a standard for accessibility in your workplace elearning programs
Alongside the WCAG, check your elearning from the learner’s perspective and make sure that it is simple, easy to understand and caters for all learning abilities. Where problems arise, are they issues that are easy to solve? Is the learning engaging and is it recountable for successful knowledge transference?
There are simple solutions and assistive technologies to accommodate accessibility such as:
Make your instruction clear with click next buttons for your learner to easily work through their training
Learning content should be keyboard-friendly, so that learners aren’t reliant on the use of their mouse. With keyboard accessibility, learning can be undertaken on any device
Proper contrast colours
To comply with WCAG colour contrast rules, there should be a good contrast between foreground text and background colours.
High contrast is for those who would need extra care, for example in case of colour blindness. The high contrast filters help to ‘invert’ the course to black background with white/yellow texts and blue buttons. This may also benefit more elderly learners.
Some fonts are more challenging to read. As a rule, choose a larger rounder font as these are easier on the eye and keep the focus on the learning content.
Text alternatives (or Alt-Text)
Alt-Texts are required for screen readers, but can also be used for devices where images are not being loaded or cannot be loaded (for example too much bandwidth or device/browser compatibility issues).
An assistive technology software solution that renders text and image content into speech or braille. Screen readers are essential to those that are vision impaired, or struggle with reading and comprehension.
Accessibility is fundamental to Kineo Courses’ design and build process. We love to create elearning for everyone and all learning abilities. If you’d like to find out more contact us or sample our course library. We offer a 14-day free course trial for you to experience Kineo Course content for yourself and for your organisation without any obligation to buy.