Decision Optimization

 View Only

E-learning and technology-based education make professional training more accessible to people with disabilities

By Anonymous User posted Thu March 10, 2022 05:41 AM


With the emergence of e-learning, professional training is no longer as challenging as it once was for people living with disabilities.  Technology provides them with personalised solutions that empower them to pursue their academic and career goals. 

Disabled individuals find it less challenging and more satisfactory to study online as e-learning resources make it easier for them to acquire knowledge at their own pace and through means customised to fit their requirements. It can be difficult for students with disabilities to be admitted to standard educational institutions, as some institutions lack the necessary means to accommodate their needs. The same goes for disabled workers who may not be able to engage in traditional workplace training in the same way as  their colleagues. However, this isn’t the case when it comes to online learning and platforms, as they use technology to facilitate access to training courses and further education for all individuals, regardless of their physical or mental capabilities. 

Over the last couple of years, universities, colleges, educational institutions and training course providers have built online learning platforms, and the concept of virtual learning environments enables disabled people to enrol in education. Technology plays a paramount role in developing proper learning solutions for disabled individuals because it allows them to decide where they study from and what means they prefer. 

Also, studying online offers more time to complete assignments and rest periods when they are needed. 

The benefits of e-learning for people with disabilities

Depending on their disability, individuals enjoy several benefits if they engage in e-learning. 

E-learning for individuals with learning disabilities

Those who struggle with learning disabilities find it challenging to enrol in standard tuition or training courses as they need unique assistance. Online learning provides them with the necessary tools, time, and space to work, review their materials, and read, listen, or watch the content as many times as they need to. Software and IT programmes enable people with visual processing disorders or dyslexia to manipulate digital text by modifying its size and font to match their needs. A great pro of distance learning is the user sets their own pace for their studying. 

Online learning for people with physical disabilities

An obvious benefit for physically-disabled individuals is that they stay in their home without worrying they cannot access the educational venue or commute between courses. Online educational platforms integrate technologies for those who cannot type, like voice-activated programmes and voice-to-text tools. Distance learning makes professional training courses more accessible to physically disabled workers. 

Distance learning for visually-impaired individuals

It’s easier for individuals with sight impairment to use their computer to engage in training rather than attending a face-to-face course. Online learning platforms integrate adaptive technologies like voice-to-text software, braille keyboards, and audio recordings to facilitate their learning. Blind or visually impaired workers no longer find it challenging to engage in training when they have access to learning resources that feature audio description because it offers context to visual information and makes the content clear with the help of sound. Distance learning resources that integrate audio description offer increased digital accessibility for the visually impaired  as AD describes what it’s happening on screen, like the speakers’ movements, expressions, and body language, which are essential for grasping complete information. 

E-learning for hearing impairments

Technology helps people with hearing ailments improve their quality of life by using video content with subtitles. Standard educational institutions don’t offer this facility, but more and more online learning resources pair their video lectures with subtitles in several languages the users can pick from. 

Distance learning for individuals with psychiatric disabilities

Such people can study and work in their comfort zones, but it’s challenging for them to cope with the anxiety associated with being in an unknown space or situation. Therefore, they find it more bearable to engage in online learning or training. Two main factors are beneficial: flexibility and convenience. 

Online courses integrate more interactive methods like closed-captioned videos, graphics, and visuals that allow people to pick and use those they find more accessible. 

How To Create Accessible Content?

It’s important to adapt the content to make it easy for everyone to navigate it. It’s recommended for trainers and instructors wrestling with making their educational resources more accessible to research methods and alternative teaching solutions to provide accessible content for individuals who experience a sight or hearing impairment. 

Here are some tips for creating accessible content

Use descriptive titles and headers – if they assign studying materials like reference sheets or handouts, they should ensure the information is presented in a format optimised for assistive technologies, so all their students can access it. Effective use of mark-up styles, lists, and headers facilitates navigation and makes organisation easier. This practice is essential when presenting text content in PDF or Microsoft Word formats. 

Also, it is effective to refer the individuals to other locations where they can find the same information in diversified formats. 

Graphics and alt-text for images – if their courses rely heavily on photos, graphs, and charts, it’s essential to use alt-text to allow students to convey information they wouldn’t be able to access otherwise due to their impairment. PowerPoint and Microsoft Word include the option to add alt-text to images. 

Transcriptions and closed-captions – when the education content is delivered in audio format, closed-captions and transcriptions make it easy for individuals with hearing impairments to study it. Several video services provide solutions to add transcriptions and generate captions. However, teachers and trainers should use high-quality tools as the captions’ accuracy varies from one programme to another. 

Distance learning technologies provide instructors with comprehensive solutions for presenting their courses in accessible ways for all students. Instructors shouldn’t rely solely on the technological features their educational platforms offer but also search for other solutions that could enhance their content’s quality. 
1 view