As a learning professional, I think it’s important to get excited and dream and think outside the box about, ‘Wow, this would be really great to do,’ but not to lock in and say, ‘We’re going to launch a mixed reality solution next week.’ Because you may not have the budget, or the technology is not practical everywhere yet.

Nick Floro, the president of Sealworks Interactive Studios, has more than two decades of experience developing eLearning solutions, applications, and web platforms. He sees himself as a “learning architect” who defines the vision of eLearning stakeholders and aligns it with the audience’s needs to provide an amazing eLearning experience. Nick’s long involvement with The eLearning Guild has been mutually beneficial. The Guild recognized Nick as a Guild Master at FocusOn Learning 2016.

I recently spoke with Nick about integrating new and emerging technologies into eLearning design.

Pamela S. Hogle: As eLearning developers get caught up in engaging learners with new technology—using touch screens, for example, rather than using an input device like a mouse—how can we ensure that learners with different abilities don’t get left behind? For example, a tenet of user-centered design is that anything users can enter with a mouse must also have a keyboard equivalent. How does that translate to a touch-screen universe? Is it possible to personalize content and give learners greater control while also engaging a broad spectrum of learners with different disabilities and levels of technical competence?

Nick Floro: Wow, what a great question.

The key to accessibility or attempting to support every platform is that we need to realize that we do not normally have the time, budget, and resources to accomplish this goal perfectly. So we need to understand the technology, accessibility, and what is possible within a browser or app on a desktop vs. a mobile device vs. VR/AR/MR [virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality] and what you want to accomplish within a particular deliverable.

It is essential to help the team and stakeholder understand what the challenges are, what the possibilities are—and guide them through each phase of a project by communicating and demonstrating. Think, “How can we define the goal into a smaller, simpler, and achievable one,” and then plan how to develop the solution within your timeline.

Our primary objective with most projects, whether a small audience of 100 or a global audience of hundreds of thousands of users, is to measure the goals of the stakeholder while understanding and defining the audience needs, and, if accessibility is a primary requirement, then designing content and activities that can support each type of technology and the deliverable.