Accessible E-learning: Ensuring Inclusivity in Your Training Programs

Accessibility is important – everyone deserves to feel included in a workplace, regardless of any physical or mental differences with their colleagues. However historically only the most able are considered. So how can we change for the better? And how can e-learning perform a key role?

Ensuring your workplace is inclusive and making your employees feel like their needs are met is a key step in creating a healthy and happy working environment.

A great first step in cultivating inclusivity is by incorporating it into any mandatory training, as every employee will need to take it at some point. Making sure you provide something bespoke that considers differing abilities will show your employees that you care about their wellbeing.

An illustration of an inclusive group of people standing together under a large umbrella. It includes individuals of different genders, races, and abilities, including a person using a wheelchair. Above them are various symbols representing ideas, communication, learning, and questioning, suggesting a theme of inclusive learning.

What can make training inaccessible?

To understand how to make training accessible, we first need to consider what aspects of ‘traditional’ or common training methods could be inaccessible to different learners.

It can be boring
Think of any classroom setting, even with an enthusiastic teacher and a funny powerpoint, there is nearly always someone nodding off at the back. For those who struggle with attention deficits or retaining focus for long periods of time, a classroom approach may immediately switch them off

Peer pressure
A familiar feeling is that anxiety when you don’t understand something a teacher says, but you don’t ask a question to avoid embarrassment. This environment means that learners might not feel comfortable to come forward, which can let people fall through the cracks.

Many companies need to have training done externally, which can cause a whole host of accessibility issues. Even if your own office is accessible, you can’t guarantee that the learning space fulfil those needs too. Remote working is also a huge benefit to many who struggle with accessibility. Therefore holding training in a fixed location either forces those workers to come in for training, or leaves them out, which are both problematic.

Say you mitigate all of the issues we’ve listed above, and you’ve set up different learning sessions for different employees that have specific needs. The next issue is making sure they’re all taught the exact same information. Even the most skilled teachers will vary lesson from lesson, which means different groups might take in different information.

All of these problems boil down to the fact that classroom teaching assumes that ‘one size fits all’ and that everyone in that classroom learns at the same pace and ability as each other, which we all know isn’t the case.

What are the knock on effects

An obvious impact of these issues is that the training will not be effective, which means learners won’t retain the essential information that everyone involved just put time and effort into learning about.

Ineffective learning could also impact employee satisfaction. Although this may seem like a reach, nobody likes feeling like they are being spoken down to, or that their work isn’t valued. And if you were taken away from essential tasks, only to be spoken at for an hour or so; it could make many employees feel frustrated, even if the information is important.

This can be even worse for those who find classroom teaching inaccessible, as not only has their work tasks been disrupted, but they can then be left feeling deflated and undervalued if the training didn’t consider their needs.

Still from Health and Safety Training Game of Chickens Crossing a busy Road

Solving the problem at the source

Although it may sound contradictory to say there is a ‘one size fits all’ solution, using e-learning rather than traditional learning can mitigate every one of these accessibility issues, and has a number of great benefits as well.

E-learning can be done anywhere, which as we’ve established, solves a number of issues. Whether someone is working from home, or they are comfortable in their working environment, being able to do the training wherever suits them is always a great bonus to any e-learning.

Even with the most basic e-learning such as reading a document, this can be done at whatever pace suits the learner best. Which means no confused glances as a teacher rattles through information. Each employee can go through the information and take the time they need to process.

E-learning can easily have a range of different feedback integrated into the learning. Something that can then channel into in person reviews, this allows users to ask whatever questions they need privately and ensures no one is left out or missed.

More engaging
You may have heard of the term gamification, in reality it’s just a fancy word for interactivity; and utilising it in your e-learning can have huge benefits for engagement. Adding interactive quizzes and puzzles help those who struggle to focus as you have to actively engage with the content to progress.

E-learning will always be the same for every user, meaning every user gets the same information. It might seem like a simple benefit, but it sets an even playing field for all employees, and makes sure that information is taught effectively.

Easier to tailor to different learners
Different softwares can assist with auditory or visual impairments and the same information can be edited to suit different types of learners. Even different types of interactivity can be used to ensure everyone gets the most out of the learning

What options are available

There are a huge range of different e-learning options. Simple question and answer quizzes are already more engaging than classroom learning. However they can be made to be simple, concise and easy to understand by having text, videos then quizzes. Although this isn’t the biggest application of interactivity, it still has the location, pacing and digital benefits over traditional learning.

You could also have features such as branching storylines. Adding a narrative can help learners learn the cause and effect of the subject matter by having different outcomes based on their choices. This not only helps employees apply the subject matter, but the narrative also motivates them to go through the lesson, and as different people could get different outcomes, it makes it exciting to discuss with your colleagues.

As we’ve already mentioned, integrating any type of feedback can be hugely beneficial for a number of reasons. This can be done in a variety of ways, this could be as simple as confetti going off when answering a question correctly, all the way to an analysis of strengths and weaknesses.

Interactivity can also be as complex or as simple as needed. E-learning in its most complex cases could mean virtual reality, however it could also be as simple as videos and digital hand outs. Whatever your subject matter, interactivity can be a huge benefit, and can be tailored to fit your use perfectly.

Although all of these options have a variety of different uses and benefits, you have to keep your eye on the ball. The main two focuses of your training should always be the subject matter, and the people doing the training. What is the most effective way to get this important information into the minds of the people who need it?

A chalkboard-style illustration featuring various icons and elements related to gamification. The central focus is the word 'Gamification' written in bold yellow letters.

Work with us

We’ve made the full range of e-learning, from VR to simple e-learning modules, so we know how to make something that will work for you. With our depth of experience, we can come in and help at any step, and work collaboratively with you to create something groundbreaking.

If you don’t know what you need, we can help advise, and show you examples of previous work so you can make an informed decision on what you need. You can trust us to make something bespoke and accessible to all of your employees. Contact us today to get the ball rolling for your training.

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