Accessibility in eLearning: Where you stand

accessibility

Throughout the last two years, there has been a shift in thinking on eLearning. Through a necessary move to online learning, thanks to the pandemic, the world was able to see the capabilities that eLearning can offer students of all ages, irrespective of location.

But whilst this is a welcome change, there is still some way to go in making eLearning accessible for all. This includes people with permanent, temporary or situational impairments that have no choice other than to learn online.

This blog explores where we, as an industry, currently are with accessibility in eLearning and why it should matter to you. 

The latest update

Courtesy of W3, there are new guidelines for those who are creating content for any eLearning platform. There are four principles that provide the foundation for web accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

These principles cover all corners of the accessibility spectrum and allow you to ensure that any eLearning content you produce is optimised for all audiences.

Where can you find this information?

The latest update was released last year and is available to view on the W3 website.

It offers a full guide on what businesses should be doing to make their websites accessible to as many people as possible.

What are the four principles?

Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. You must provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.

Adaptability is key in modern content design. This includes creating non-text alternatives and making it easier for users to see and hear content, including separating foreground from background. This is vital for those with visual impairments.

Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable. By having a website that is easy to navigate and easy to use, you’re providing the best user experience for your visitors.

Time-restrictive content that impacts a visitor’s use of your site is a no-go. It is also important to avoid hard-to-use navigation tools that mean a user can’t access all of your website’s functionality.

Understandable

Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable. This means no hidden tricks or gimmicks.

Your content must be readable and understandable. Your web pages must appear and operate in predictable ways, and help users avoid errors or mistakes.

This is important not just for the user’s initial journey, but also for their likelihood of coming back and visiting your content again.

Robust

This emplores that your content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

You can achieve this by maximising compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. When your eLearning content is robust, it creates an easier experience for the user and reduces the risk of them encountering problems.

How this impacts elearning

If you’re considering setting up an online course, it’s vital that you’re working to the latest guidelines from W3 and you’re making your course available to all users, irrespective of their disability or lack thereof.

By ensuring compliance with accessibility laws and best practices, users can expect a better experience with eLearning that will further progress the growth of digital learning platforms across the globe.

What this means for you

When you’re creating an online course, it should be accessible to all. This benefits every end-user, but also your brand and your content. This does, however, mean there are more factors to consider when creating eLearning courses that you’re putting to market.

And after the EU and UK governments passed their Accessibility Regulations in 2018, it meant that The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Great Britain and the Equality Commission in Northern Ireland were able to enforce W3’s guidelines.

The good news is we are here to help ensure your content is accessible, your business is compliant and your learners are happy.

Give us a call

With many years’ experience creating bespoke packages that engage learners and delight our customers, your online course creation is in safe hands at Foster & Forge.

The team and I would be happy to chat with you about your online training needs. Click here to schedule a call.

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