Online and virtual training opens doors to include employee development. Online training allows you to train anyone in your company regardless of their location or work hours. If you don’t be careful, eLearning could also cause roadblocks that can leave learners with different abilities behind.
Online navigation and media can present additional challenges for people with disabilities. Accessible learning is key to ensuring everyone has the best possible training experience.
According to CDC data, more than one-fourth of Americans are living with a disability. Globally, 15% experience some type of disability. This means that your employees might need special considerations when it comes time to navigate your training.
This article will discuss accessibility in eLearning. We will also discuss steps to plan and create training that is accessible to all learners.
What is accessibility and why does it matter?
What does it mean to make training accessible? It’s about creating courses that are accessible to people with disabilities. This means that instructional design should take into account the following abilities:
- Motor skills – Does your training require keyboard or mouse navigation that is difficult for someone with limited physical dexterity, such as someone with limited mobility?
- Vision – Will your design cause problems for students with impaired vision, blindness, or trouble seeing color contrasts?
- Hearing – Do you have parts of your training that rely on audio or video files?
- Cognitive ability – Is your content difficult or dense to process for someone with a neurological disability like ADHD, ADD or dyslexia?
All of these groups can benefit from inclusive training at IDOL Courses. You want your employees to have full access to your training program for many reasons.
- Accessible training allows all employees to have equal opportunities to advance and achieve their career goals.
- Employee satisfaction is influenced by career development opportunities. Employee happiness leads to increased productivity and retention.
- You can create accessible training without having to manage multiple versions.
When you create your online training, be aware of possible problems. You can plan ahead to create an online training program that is accessible to all employees.
Building Accessible eLearning Courses: A Checklist
How do you make accessible training? This checklist contains 9 steps that will help you make your training inclusive right from the beginning.
1. Design with Contrast in Mind
It may look great when used in design with medium gray text and a light background. It will frustrate many learners. Visually-impaired learners will have trouble reading the text without strong contrast.
Make clear distinctions between colors and backgrounds for key navigation elements. These are some tips to consider:
- You should make sure that the buttons on your menu and any other element you are asking users to locate and click stand out.
- Avoid making navigation color-dependent. These can be distinguished with symbols or text.
- Learners can distinguish data from graphs and charts with texture and color to help them understand the key.
2. Make text scannable
Contrast is also important when choosing headings. Different fonts and text sizes will help you read the content better. This will help you recognize when topics are changing.
Tag text using the correct styles (e.g. H1, H2, etc.). Assistive technology also requires the use of tags. Screen readers can recognize these tags and communicate any changes to learners with visual impairments.
3. Provide captioning and transcripts
Learners with hearing impairments can be provided alternative text formats for any audio or video content. You can speak to different learning styles by using a variety of media types. This keeps people interested in the content. Closed captions and transcripts are helpful tools for learners to follow along with audio and video media.
These features will be beneficial to those who are hard of hearing or deaf. They will also make it easier for people who don’t speak the language fluently or who aren’t primarily auditory learners to learn.
4. Describe Visual Elements
eLearning is more effective when you can include eye-catching and dynamic media. It doesn’t matter if your visuals are reduced to be inclusive. All you need is to make them understandable. You can include alternate text descriptions and voice-overs for videos, infographics, and animations that are essential to learning.
If you include an infographic that illustrates the lifecycle of a customer/sales relationship (for example), add alt text. Screen readers will be able to understand the graphic by providing a summary written description. For videos with helpful animations, you can include commentary in your script to describe what’s going on.
5. Navigation can be done mouse-independent
Training is more effective when employees are required to interact with the screen frequently. Most people use a mouse to interact with the screen. However, for people with mobility problems, the mouse can prove to be a hindrance.
Take, for example:
- Any mouse action should be clearly labeled, and the spacing between them should be good. It can be frustrating to miss a quiz question if the answers are not grouped together in a concise list.
- Drag-and-drop functionality is a great way to get hands-on experience. It can be difficult for those who have difficulty using the mouse with precision.
These issues can be resolved using alternative keyboard shortcuts. LMS platforms allow users to hit the “tab” key to navigate from one option to another on the screen, and then hit the “enter” key to click. To control navigation, you can set up the arrow keys and create your own shortcuts.
6. Break Up Dense Content
It can be difficult for people to understand dense blocks of text and long explanations that cover more than one concept. This type of delivery will pose a problem for those with cognitive impairments.
Creating online courses, break down your content to make it easier for everyone to understand and digest. Each slide should have a minimum of text.
Microlearning is a good option. You can break down lessons into smaller, more digestible chunks that focus on one topic. When a concept can be learned in just minutes, people will be more able to concentrate on the lesson.
7. You can use a variety of content types
One of the many benefits of eLearning is the ability to accommodate different learning styles. You can expand your training to include video, images, and audio content delivery methods.
Let learners explore the formats that make it easiest for them.
8. Make language accessible and inclusive
Make sure your course is simple and clear. Your meaning can be obscured by industry jargon, technical terms, and cultural idioms. This is especially true for those who struggle with learning or have language barriers. When you read your text, ensure that it is broken down into clear, concise sentences.
It is also important to ensure that language is inclusive. You should write to both traditional users as well as people with disabilities.
People who are unable to use a mouse can be excluded from the benefits of telling them to click on the correct answer. For colorblind or sight-impaired learners, prompts to click the red button for more info might not be as helpful. Also, phrases such as “let’s take a look at this in action” are not common.
You can replace common words like these with inclusive language. You could say, “select correct answer” or “select button below for more.” These are examples of a common language that can be replaced with inclusive language.
9. Make the Most Of The Existing LMS Accessibility Options
Don’t forget to make the most of what you have. Most likely, your LMS includes technology to make content and navigation accessible. Integration with assistive technology such as screen readers.
IDOL Courses Instructional Design
Look for features such as:
- Automated requests for “alttext” descriptions of all images
- You can upload a pre-formatted caption text file to use the built-in technology of video captioning
- You can customize different tracks for different users. For example, a learner using a screen reader will log in to their home screen and be taken to the course version with the required features.
- Zoom-in functionality allows learners to adjust the content size for easier comprehension.
- To help users navigate, there are built-in keyboard shortcuts.
Accessible training requires an inclusive mindset
Your courses are not universally accessible. It’s a start. Start by living the talk to make accessibility and inclusion a part of your organization.
Building inclusive training with IDOL Courses will ensure that you meet your team’s needs. Include everyone in the training to show employees you value DEI. You can follow up by making sure your employees have the skills to create an inclusive environment. Empathy, respect, and clear communications are all skills that can be developed.
You will show your employees that you care about their success and well-being by setting the example and providing learning opportunities.