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Breaking Barriers: The Importance of Digital Learning Accessibility

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The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we have the ability to learn and work online and remotely. Because of that Digital learning has become increasingly popular in education because of the flexibility for students. While digital learning has many benefits, it's essential to ensure that the information you're providing is accessible to all students, including those with disabilities.

Digital learning accessibility refers to the accessibility of information for students with diverse learning needs. By providing accessible educational material you are enabling students with disabilities to participate and contribute to class activities and have an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.

Here are some key ways for you to make your digital learning business more accessible:

  1. Provide captions and transcripts for videos: Captions and transcripts can help students who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who are dyslexia or ADHD. Not only does it allow people to watch your video in a quiet space without interrupting others, but it also bridges the gap between those with disabilities and those without.

  2. Use accessible digital materials: Make sure the digital materials used in the course, such as documents, images, and videos, are accessible. This means using alt text to describe images, using headers to organize content, and ensuring that the colors used have enough contrast (to learn more about how best to do this download my free ebook: Principles of accessible design)

  3. Use a clear and simple layout: Use a clear and simple layout for the course materials, with headings and subheadings that help organize the content. This can make it easier for students with cognitive or learning disabilities like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism to follow along.

  4. Provide multiple means of engagement: Some students like those with dyslexia learn better through a multisensory approach as it activates the different areas of the brain and captivates their attention. Providing multiple ways for students to engage with your course content helps them to better understand and retain that information. Ways to do this are through videos, text, interactive quizzes, and discussion forums.

  5. Communicate clearly and often: Communication is key for educational settings however ensuring that you're communicating frequently and clearly to students with a disability helps provides additional support and reduces stress. This can be done by providing detailed instructions that the student can re-read over and over again and by answering questions in a timely manner. Students with dyslexia will also benefit from seeing examples as they are most often visual learners.

  6. Use accessible fonts and colours: Disabilities often overlap and some students might have more than one disability. Ensuring that all material be that video, text, worksheets, etc. utilise dyslexic-friendly fonts and colour combinations means that the accessibility of your learning material is enhanced and more students will be able to access the information.

An image with the text saying "The principles of accessible design. The ultimate FREE cheat sheet to make your content accessible to a wider audience. Never again contribute to the inaccessible content flooding your client's feed." Under the text is yellow button saying Oooo Gimme!

By making digital learning accessible, we can create a more inclusive learning environment and ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and succeed. This requires a commitment from instructors and course designers to prioritize accessibility and make it a core part of the digital learning experience. With the right tools and strategies, we can create a more accessible and equitable digital learning environment for all students. And make a positive change in the lives of those with disabilities.

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