High Accessibility Issues In On-line Coaching
Why is accessibility important in the context of adult education?
What do you think of when you think of accessible online training and learning? For many instruction designers and trainers, “accessible” is synonymous with legal protocols such as Section 508 or WCAG 2.1. However, real accessibility in terms of learning involves far more than checking the compliance box. It’s more about removing barriers and creating an inclusive environment that ensures effective learning for all.
Imagine yourself in a meeting where everyone speaks a foreign language. Or you have a video conference call and the sound goes off. This is what it feels like to be a learner with a disability trying to take an inaccessible virtual training course. The experience is understandably frustrating and daunting for the learner. However, it is also a big problem for organizations.
Accessibility Considerations in the World of Online Training and Learning
True accessibility is more about removing barriers and creating an inclusive environment that ensures effective learning for all.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn. However, people with disabilities are sometimes inadvertently excluded from the same experiences of their colleagues. The effects are far-reaching. On a purely practical level, they may not be able to fully absorb the learning material intended for them. Emotionally, they can leave their virtual training session (s) and feel angry. The company could be legally liable for violations. In the worst case scenario, the inadequately trained learner could endanger his own safety – or the safety of others.
How many people are affected?
According to the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO), World Report on Disability: Summary, 2011, there are more than a billion people worldwide with some form of disability. Almost 200 million people have significant dysfunction. But defining exactly what constitutes a disability is not an exact science. While those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory [such as hearing or vision] Differences fall under the roof, many people face short-term challenges that affect or impair their ability to learn.
Imagine the case of an employee with a broken wrist who can only type with one hand. Or how about a worker taking a prescribed, short-term drug that makes her dizzy when staring at a computer screen? What about a person who successfully undergoes cataract surgery but has poor visual acuity during the healing process? These employees face temporary situations that affect their ability to fully participate in online training and learning initiatives.
Some learners may not even be aware of the fact that they are living with something called a disability! They may have faced dyslexia or ADHD-related challenges for years without ever realizing or acknowledging their “disability”. For example: color blindness affects 5 to 10 percent of the US population and affects significantly more men than women. In its mildest form, an individual may not even realize they are suffering from this disease! He may perceive colors, but cannot distinguish nuances in shades. If he is given a selection of blue boxes in a virtual workout, he will be specifically asked to click on the blue-green one. But what if he has trouble figuring out exactly which box the moderator is referring to?
Online Training Accessibility Considerations: Why Should Organizations Care About Accessibility?
It creates equal opportunities
Companies that prioritize accessibility enable people with disabilities to be more independent and to offer them the same opportunities as their colleagues.
It’s the law
Legal mandates for accessibility currently exist worldwide in some form and are only expected to be further developed in terms of scope and standardization.
It encompasses and integrates innovative technology
The accessible design ensures that training materials can be viewed by users who rely on screen readers, braille displays, or headers. They come with subtitles, automated transcripts, reader support, keyboard shortcuts, and color adjustments.
It’s good for business
Companies that prioritize accessibility improve their ability to reach new customers and enter new markets.
Many companies today focus on inclusion. Much has been written about the need to consider diversity and inclusion and the value that an inclusive corporate culture offers. Experts agree that diversity promotes a more creative and innovative workplace. This also gives companies a competitive advantage in a globalized world. On a purely practical level, having a diverse and inclusive workforce helps companies attract and retain talent. As such, they reduce the high cost of sales. An inclusive environment helps learners reach their potential and contribute their best to organizational goals. Ethically, it’s the right thing to do.
Download the eBook. Accessibility considerations in the world of online training and learning to find out how to create inclusive L&D experiences for each member of your team.
World report on disability
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