“Accessible eLearning Benefits All Learners” explores the reasons for creating accessible eLearning content. This Spotlight concludes a four-part series on how to remove different types of barriers that learners might face:
“Accessibility from the Ground Up: Build Captions and Usable Design into All eLearning” describes accessibility for learners who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“Accessibility from the Ground Up: Without Glasses, You Couldn’t Read This Content” addresses learners with visual disabilities.
“Accessibility from the Ground Up: Remove Barriers to eLearning Content” considers mobility issues that create barriers to online access.
Making content understandable
Ensuring that content is clear and unambiguous is much more than an accessibility issue of concern to people with disabilities, though it has obvious benefits for learners who are deaf or have autism, dyslexia, or cognitive or other disabilities that affect their ability to access or use written language. Writing in plain English and using additional formats—such as visual media to accompany text, or captions with audio—aids all learners, including those who are English learners or have limited literacy skills. It also ensures that eLearning content is accessible to any busy employee who is trying to learn complex material about an unfamiliar topic.
Understandable content is usable content. This is the essence of the “U” of POUR: understandable content.All the captions and alt text descriptions in the world are useless if learners simply don’t understand the material.
Know your audience; if you can be certain that every learner has the same basic knowledge, it’s reasonable to skip basic information. It is generally wise to include the basics while enabling advanced learners to skip introductory sections.But that’s rarely the case.
Build in features for people who have difficulty remembering things to make it easy for learners to search for content or review content they have already covered, and allow unlimited access to exercises that offer spaced repetition and skills practice.
Include supplemental material and additional resources, such as illustrations, infographics, videos, and animations. This serves multiple groups of learners: Learners who want to explore a topic more deeply benefit from the additional materials. The non-text materials are essential for learners with some cognitive disabilities, low-literacy learners, and learners who have dyslexia.