E-learning accessibility is an aspect of almost every kind of craft that we often overlook. Ramps for wheelchairs, audiobooks, larger bathrooms, and subtitles are all common content accessibility options that we see everyday and may often overlook. So, how do we make our learning content accessible?
Why do we Need Accessibility?
In 2010, the United States census counted roughly 19% of the population as legally disabled. This includes people who are blind, deaf, hard of hearing, are diagnosed with a mental illness, or have some sort of physical impairment that requires an accessibility device. When it comes to a learning environment, eLearning accessibility options are required in schools to help children learn. Recently, accessibility regulations have been taken into the workplace with Section 508, a law stating that requires all users must have a comparable learning experience when training in the workplace.
With about 1 in 5 people deemed legally disabled, accessibility in the workplace is more common than you’d think. However, some places tend to overlook minor details that could be a major part of someone’s learning experience.
A Few Ways to Make Your Content Accessible:
When it comes to videos, however, there are several things content creators can do to make sure new hires can fully understand your message:
Subtitles and Alternate Language Options
The first and most recognizable eLearning accessibility option you can put in your videos are subtitles. Subtitles can help people with auditory processing problems, people who don’t understand the language your video is in or people who cannot hear the audio by describing sound cues through text at the bottom of your video.
Just because someone doesn’t speak your language doesn’t make them disabled, but providing alternate language options does account for eLearning accessibility since people of different ethnicities and linguistic backgrounds need to understand your content too!
If possible, consider dubbing your videos into other languages so your learners can hear the audio. Alternate language subtitles can also help provide this level of accessibility to non-English speaking viewers.
For people who are blind or visually impaired, providing audio descriptions of a video is another way creators can make their content accessible. For example, having your subject matter expert describe what happens on-screen can help visually impaired learners understand what happens as it happens. You can also add optional audio descriptions that can be turned on or off as needed.
508 Compliant Hosting Services
Sometimes, your choice in hosting service can make or break eLearning accessibility options in your videos. Sites that can provide options for people who need to navigate with a keyboard or turn on and off audio descriptions are ideal for hosting your content.
Third-party websites or sites that specialize in uploading all kinds of videos (like YouTube) may not be the most accessible for viewers. Since these sites update and change interfaces frequently, features may be moved around and harder to access, or even removed entirely. For example, YouTube’s automatic caption system was recently removed in an update, making thousands of videos inaccessible to viewers.
Making Content Accessible After Your Video has Been Produced
If you’ve already released your eLearning content, that’s okay! You can still take steps to make your eLearning content accessible to others. If you’re able, consider re-uploading your video with subtitles, putting it on a different website, or including links in the description to other accessible versions of your videos that have audio descriptions. Releasing copies of your videos dubbed in another commonly spoken language can also add to accessibility, and using your given platform’s subtitle (or captions) settings once its been uploaded can help users turn on or off subtitles directly in the video player.
Remember, always consider your target audience when making eLearning content accessible to your learners, and listen to feedback. For help creating engaging, accessible eLearning videos for your company, contact us today!