How Accessibility Solutions are making e-Learning More Inclusive

Tarveen Kaur November 2, 2016
Why should physical disabilities stop someone from experiencing the boons of knowledge? Where traditional classrooms fail to engage, encourage or teach physically challenged students the way the need to be, can the digital world make a difference? You will be glad to know that the world of online learning is gradually opening up to students and educators with low-incidence disabilities, to make education more inclusive in nature. Specially enabled individuals require a specific kind of environment where they can learn at a comfortable pace, engage with the educator and find out how well they are doing. And this is where accessibility solutions have stepped in to offer the right platform for specially abled students to pursue academic excellence. Regarding accessibility, Universal Design for Learning or UDL is a platform which deserves special mention. It helps in representing useful information in engaging ways such as narrative description or transcripts, visual diagrams, or videos. So while visually impaired students can listen to educational audios, hearing impaired students can read transcripts. UDL has been developed based on researches conducted in cognitive neuroscience, and takes account of individual learning differences. It is ideal for those suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, making interaction easy and soothing. Accessibility solutions also help disabled students to receive prompt feedback on the tests they perform, keeping them interested and motivated. These also make learning an exciting process by introducing games, which the students can participate in to access educational information in a friendlier manner. Those who are suffering from dyslexia will find such an approach more convenient than having to concentrate on difficult textbooks. As a more empowering move for specially enabled individuals, tools are being developed which feature functions that convert text to speech. Students with language challenges, visual problems or basic illiteracy will particularly find such tools supportive. Since it is often an arduous task to maintain the interest of physically challenged learners throughout the span of a lesson, platforms with accessibility solutions are becoming more aesthetic, colorful and well-designed. Simple language, drag and drop keys, effective use of color contrast, and gesture navigation for touch-screen devices are some notable aspects of such platforms. Finally, accessibility solutions take account of the fact that learners will definitely want to track their progress to stay motivated. Which is why; e-learning platforms are developing provisions to keep scores. Accessibility solutions will make it possible for countless physically challenged students to learn and grow with personalized support in a convenient and interesting environment. What better way to include them in the mainstream society and help them achieve their aspirations?

Tarveen Kaur

Accessibility Practice Lead at Magic EdTech, Tarveen is actively engaged in building new class digital accessibility solutions for education.