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International elearning accessibility

We’ve talked a lot about accessibility on our blog, but mainly in the context of designing elearning and online content to be usable by people with various types of disabilities. Enabling tab functionality, having properly tagged and styled headers, using the correct numbered list styles, contrast checking, text-to-speech reader functionality; these are all accessibility features we are aware of and make every effort to include in our elearning projects.

However, our current project creating elearning content for international students presents a new kind of accessibility challenge, where students from some countries do not have the same kind of access to online content as students in North America, for instance.

This affects the accessibility of sources and links for content we choose to put in the elearning. Elearning that contains video content from YouTube, for instance, might be unavailable to students taking the elearning from China, North Korea, Tajikistan, or Turkmenistan. This means that video content produced by the client must be hosted elsewhere so that their students might not run afoul of their country’s censorship laws.

Of course, making sure international students have access to the elearning videos does not preclude all the previously discussed accessibility features, so we still have to ensure the videos also provide closed captioning or a transcript for hearing-impaired learners.

The most important takeaway on accessibility is that knowing all the possible ways you could make your elearning difficult for your learners to learn from and making sure you have budgeted the extra time and effort to mitigate these problems are what will set your elearning apart for that portion of your students who might not have been able to use the elearning otherwise.


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