When it comes to eLearning, I develop content for many government and education organizations where Section 508 Compliance is required. Section 508, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, requires all Federal agencies to make electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
If you want to make your eLearning courses accessible for everyone, it's a good idea to think about people who are hearing, visually, and dexterity (motor skills) impaired. Additionally, it's important to consider the elderly population and people who speak English as a second language.
Assistive devices provide a way for people with disabilities to communicate and train using technology. People who are visually impaired or blind need devices such as:
- Screen readers (Jaws, Window Eyes)
- Screen magnification
- Braille displays
People with hearing impairments need visual representation of auditory information such as:
- Closed captions
- Graphic displays
People who have mobility impairments may need:
- Alternative keyboards
- Keyboard shortcuts
Although creating accessible eLearning can feel like an additional task, the goal is to enhance your eLearning courses by ensuring that all learners can master the instructional material and meet the learning objectives. When learning is accessible to all types of learners, you are not only complying with regulations, but you are reaching a larger audience, upholding social responsibility, and increasing your effectiveness as an eLearning developer and instructor.
Note: This is the first in a series of articles covering accessible eLearning from Anita. Stay tuned for more! And if you'd like to take a 3-hour deep-dive into the best practices for creating accessible eLearning, check out Anita's live, online course.