Training that is accessible to those with disabilities is training that is a highly usable custom e-learning program.
- Are you providing e-learning or learning management systems to the government or institutions of higher education that have asked for an audit or documentation to prove your solutions are compliant for accessibility?
- Have you recently updated your online learning content and are unsure if your changes are accessible to learners with a vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive disability?
- Beginning a new learning development project and want to integrate accessibility into the design?
What is accessible e-learning?
Accessible e-learning is an approach to digital education that ensures that all online courses are accessible to all learners, regardless of any disabilities or differing abilities they might have. This includes the design of course content, website interfaces, multimedia, and learning activities in ways that accommodate the needs of learners and students with disabilities of various physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities and allow for the use of assistive technologies.
The goal of accessible e-learning is to eliminate barriers to learning and ensure that every student can access educational resources, participate in learning activities, and demonstrate their knowledge and skills. It emphasizes inclusivity and fairness, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.
To achieve this, accessible e-learning incorporates principles and guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and other relevant accessibility standards. These guidelines address various aspects like providing text alternatives for non-text content, ensuring content is perceivable and understandable, and making it compatible with assistive technologies.
In essence, accessible e-learning is about inclusivity, equality, and empowering all learners by providing them with the same opportunities for education and growth.
Why is accessible e-learning important?
Which of these individuals has a disability?
They all do. Many disabilities are not immediately apparent.
Nearly 1 in 4 people have a disability, as reported by the United States Census Bureau. Because disabilities are generally self-reported, this percentage is probably lower than the actual number. Also, some people who might benefit from accessible content, such as those who use reading glasses, might not consider themselves as having a disability.
With advancements in technology and the impact of social issues, access to information and services are increasingly moving to the digital realm. Digital offerings and services can be powerful tools for organizations if they are accessible to everyone.
Accessible e-learning plays a pivotal role in today’s educational ecosystem by offering equal educational opportunities, irrespective of any disabilities or varying abilities. This concept empowers learners, highlighting the importance of inclusivity in education. Compliance with accessibility guidelines is just the tip of the iceberg – accessible online educational content can positively impact a vast number of individuals. Therefore, ensuring everyone can learn effectively is essential.
Moreover, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has set forth principles aimed at making web content more accessible and reducing barriers for people with disabilities. These principles are integral to understanding and implementing accessible e-learning. Adherence to such standards helps educational digital content reach a wider audience, truly embracing the inclusive nature of e-learning.
Training designed with accessibility in mind creates opportunities for learners
When training is designed to be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust, it helps ensure that people with disabilities receive training in a manner equivalent to those without disabilities. It means that training reaches everyone who needs it.
Does designing custom e-learning and training programs mean learning must be simple and boring? Not at all.
When considering how to develop a curriculum for training accessible to those with disabilities, consider that accessible e-learning, as any custom elearning, needs to be designed for how people learn. It needs to be interactive, meaningful, and structured so that the learner can achieve their training goals.
Section 508 & WCAG: Their Role in Accessible Learning & Development Projects
Section 508, a provision of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide integral frameworks for making Learning and Development (L&D) projects accessible to individuals with various sensory, physical, and cognitive abilities. Their fundamental objective is to promote inclusivity and ensure equitable learning opportunities.
The process of aligning L&D projects with Section 508 and WCAG involves the intentional design of all aspects of the course to be understandable and accessible. This includes the universal design of all course materials, including text content, audio, visual, and interactive elements, ensuring that employees of all abilities can fully engage with the material.
To ensure accessibility in L&D projects, it’s crucial to take an anticipatory approach by implementing Section 508 and WCAG from the beginning of the project. A prior understanding of these guidelines can make course development more streamlined, avoiding the need for later modifications and providing a more inclusive and effective learning experience.
Challenges in Creating Accessible E-Learning
Accessible e-learning, while incredibly beneficial, comes with its own challenges. Common roadblocks include understanding and interpreting legal requirements, figuring out how to incorporate accessibility features without disrupting the user experience, and ensuring that the content is equally effective for all learners.
Overcoming these challenges often involves staying updated with the latest accessibility guidelines, getting expert advice, and, most importantly, keeping the learner’s needs at the heart of all decisions. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create an inclusive learning environment where everyone feels valued and has an equal opportunity to learn.
Making Your E-Learning Platform Accessible
Ensuring accessibility of your online learning content is not enough. It’s equally important to ensure the accessibility of the learning platform that hosts the content. A methodical approach is crucial if you’re selecting and acquiring an E-learning platform. Our team is here to assist you in creating specifications that prioritize accessibility for your learning management system. We also assess accessibility compliance reports for different platforms and conduct audits on online learning platforms to ensure accessibility.
Continual evaluation and improvement of accessibility are crucial to maintaining an accessible e-learning content platform. To maintain the inclusivity and accessibility of your e-learning platform, it’s important to conduct regular audits, gather user feedback, and stay up-to-date with the latest accessibility guidelines.
Future of Accessible E-Learning
The future of accessible e-learning is promising. The latest trends indicate a growing focus on inclusivity, propelled by technological progress. Sophisticated e-learning development tools and improvements in assistive technologies are poised to make e-learning more accessible than ever before. We’re on the brink of a revolution, ready to redefine the boundaries of learning and inclusivity. It’s an exciting time for e-learning, and we’re thrilled to be part of the journey towards a more inclusive future.
Microassist Accessible E-Learning Services
Microassist is a leader in providing accessibility services to companies and organizations that want to make sure their learning products and materials are accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities. We have a team of experts who can assess your learning content and materials and make recommendations for how to make them more accessible. We can also provide training for your employees or members on creating and delivering accessible learning content. Contact us to learn how we can help you make your learning products and materials more accessible.
Our staff has experience creating, auditing, and remediating online learning and classroom training content to Section 508 and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
Accessible E-learning Development
Microassist’s learning professionals will work with your team to create learning that meets accessibility standards. Creating accessible learning allows you to engage your workforce and comply with the law.
Learning Management System Accessibility Verification
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are responsible for delivering your learning. Choosing an LMS that is accessible is critical to making your training program accessible to people with disabilities. Our firm has extensive expertise in evaluating learning and content management systems for accessibility concerns. In addition, we can collaborate with your staff to assess an LMS vendor’s Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and offer suggestions for the proper next steps.
Learning Content Audit & Remediation
Our team can audit your learning content for accessibility compliance. Learning content audits include e-learning modules, webinars, virtual training, instructor-led training, and documentation. The goal of the audit is to identify potential accessibility issues. After issues are identified, we can either guide your team in creating a more accessible course that meets WCAG 2.1 AA compliance standards or remediates your existing courses. After the audit, we write an Accessibility Compliance Report (ACR). Accessibility Compliance Reports are critical if you are a vendor and would like to sell your training to the government or educational institutions.
Why Choose Microassist for Your Accessible E-Learning Development
Aligned Accessible E-Learning Solutions
At Microassist, our focus is on bridging the gap between digital learning content and accessibility. Our custom e-learning solutions are tailored to incorporate the principles of accessibility, ensuring alignment with your business objectives. Our drive to deliver measurable results is combined with a strong commitment to making e-learning accessible to all.
Accessibility-Centered Learning Approach
The cornerstone of our e-learning methodology is an unwavering commitment to learner accessibility. We develop a wide range of solutions, including accessible e-learning, virtual training, blended learning, and microlearning, all enriched with interactive, accessible content. Our approach to online accessibility goes beyond simply delivering information – we are dedicated to creating engaging, context-driven experiences that learners of all abilities can apply in real-world scenarios. We aim to foster long-term knowledge retention and performance improvement, empowering learners to navigate their journeys and utilizing constructive feedback to enhance performance and skill sets. This philosophy allows us to transform standard e-learning experiences into impactful, inclusive knowledge and personal growth journeys.
Driving Inclusive E-Learning: Our Accessibility Professionals and E-Learning Audit Team
Microassist stands out as a leading e-learning company with a specialized focus on accessible e-learning.
- We bring over 30 years of experience in accessible learning design and technology.
- Our team boasts dedicated accessibility experts ensuring all e-learning components, including audio, video, animations, documents, and applications, are fully accessible. Possessing an in-depth knowledge of accessibility guidelines and legislation, they drive the development of compliant and inclusive e-learning materials. Furthermore, we have a standalone team devoted to testing and auditing e-learning accessibility solutions, ensuring the highest standards of inclusivity and accessibility are upheld in our offerings.
Inclusive Learning Environments
Microassist is a staunch advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in e-learning. Our dedication to these principles allows us to create some of the most accessible and inclusive custom e-learning experiences in the industry today.
Comprehensive Services in Accessible E-Learning
Our array of services encompasses every facet of accessible e-learning, ranging from instructional design to e-learning development. Our team, composed of expert instructional designers, content consultants, digital designers, and project managers, is highly adept at delivering tailored, effective, and, most importantly, accessible e-learning solutions using the appropriate authoring tools.
Holistic Accessible Training Solutions
Instructor-Led and Virtual Training In addition to e-learning services, we offer accessible Instructor-led training (ILT), virtual instructor-led training (VILT), curriculum and program development, and accessibility testing and validation, ensuring a holistic approach to your accessible training needs.
Contact our Learning Developers
Need to discuss developing e-learning? Creating curriculum for classroom training? Auditing and remediating e-learning for accessibility? Our learning developers would be glad to help.