New to Accessible e-Learning
If you're new to accessible e-Learning, you may be confused about what this means. It may help to understand a few of the common terms you'll see as you are researching this topic.
- Accessibility: generally describes the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. When referring to accessibility of online content, such as e-Learning, accessibility refers to the degree to which all people, especially those with disabilities, can access the content.
- Assistive (or Adaptive) Technology: Assistive or Adaptive Technology commonly refers to "...products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities...", according to the definition proposed in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998.
- Section 508: In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) as amended by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105 - 220), August 7, 1998 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Specifically, Section 508 of that act requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use EIT, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Read more at: www.section508.gov/index.cfm?fuseAction=stds
Compliance is challenging
Section 508 compliance for e-Learning content is:
- Costly - Section 508 compliance is commonly avoided during the sales process and instead, it is often an afterthought. The potential risks and costs of remediating courses that fail Section 508 testing can should not be overlooked when projects begin.
- Challenging - All too often, interpretation of Section 508 requirements is left to individual developers on a course by course basis. Limitations are imposed to creativity and design when the intricacies of programming Flash for use with adaptive technology is required by those unfamiliar with this ever-changing technology.
- Complicated - The complex interactions between web browsers, the e-Learning content, and an LMS (Learning Management System) make e-Learning development complicated. The sheer number of technology layers that must work together is significant. An adaptive technology layer (screen readers, for example) adds an entirely new dimension to an already complex landscape.
We can help
CourseAvenue's unique software can put you on a shorter road to compliant e-Learning development. Our team of experts has the experience in developing Section 508 content you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.
Additional resources for those new to Accessible e-Learning
- WebAIM for Web Accessibility: http://www.webaim.org
- Section508.gov: http://www.section508.gov
- Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI): http://www.w3.org/WAI/
- Usability.gov: http://www.usability.gov/
- National Center for Accessible Media: http://ncam.wgbh.org/
- JAWS Screen Reader: http://www.freedomscientific.com/products/fs/jaws-product-page.asp
- Window-Eyes Screen Reader: http://www.gwmicro.com