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How to make E-learning content accessible for everyone

E-Learning content is more popular than ever. According to KMPG, 90% of corporations use E-learning for their workforce. In 1995, this figure was just 4%.

But while e-learning and video content is deemed pretty accessible and perfect for offering staff the flexibility to choose when to complete compulsory training, is it really accessible for everyone? 

For staff – or University students – that doesn’t speak English as their first language, technical e-Learning courses can be difficult to understand. Those with partial sight may not be able to view videos in the same way, while those with hearing difficulties will need to visually access the course materials. 

So how can you make your e-learning content accessible for everyone? 

Don’t make accessibility an afterthought

It’s easy to focus on creating, editing, and publishing content and think of accessibility after. However, this is the quick route to providing a negative experience for those who need extra support. 

You’ve probably seen incorrect subtitles on YouTube videos or audio captions that don’t quite fit. This is because accessibility was an afterthought. By thinking about it from the start, you can find the right tools and services with plenty of time to set them up.

Know the difference between captions and subtitles 

Subtitles make video and audio content more accessible for those with hearing difficulties but don’t go the full way to providing these people with the same experience as those without. 

While subtitles focus solely on the speech, captions offer additional information about music and other sounds within the video. 

Subtitles and captions aren’t just helpful for those with hearing difficulties either. Those accessing videos on mobile or during their lunch break often watch content without sound on and, as such, rely on subtitles or captions to understand what the video is. Google, which prioritizes content with accessibility for all, finds that captioned videos are viewed 40% more than those uncaptioned. 

Offer translation options

Voiceover translations and translated captions are the best way to make your e-learning content accessible for those with hearing or sight impairments, as well as those who speak other languages. Brightlines translation services offer both voice and text translations available in multiple languages to help you provide the right content for just about everyone in your workplace. 

Avoid flashy content and transitions 

Disorders related to epilepsy can quickly be triggered by flashing content or transitions within video and e-learning content. If you need to use this type of material, you should offer a trigger warning (TW) beforehand.

Include audio description options 

For the visually impaired, audio descriptions should be made available. This type of audio narration describes everything on the screen. This is particularly helpful if your e-learning course displays examples like health & safety scenarios that need to be seen to be understood. Audio narration will explain the setting, the actions the actors take, and their facial expressions – rather than just what the actors are saying. 

When done correctly, audio descriptions can smoothly transition between dialogue, sound effects, and description – which is why it needs to be prepared rather than added as an afterthought. 

Sign language interpreters 

Just because you’re offering audio descriptions and captions doesn’t mean the job is done. There are other options you can offer – making those with difficulties or impairments feel less like a burden and more valued. 

Some people will prefer a sign language interpreter so that they can watch e-Learning content rather than having to read along. Therefore, it’s good to offer both options. According to The World Health Organization, more than 5% of the world’s population will have disabling hearing loss by the year 2050. Therefore, the demand for sign language interpreters, as well as the need to learn sign language, will become more important. 

Final thoughts 

If you want to make sure your courses or videos are available to a wider audience, you need to consider accessibility each and every time you create something new. Adding captions, audio descriptions, and translations should be a no-brainer, while sign language an added bonus. 

There are plenty of professional services that can offer help creating accessibility for everything you create. Be sure to understand who your e-learning content is for and any of their individual difficulties so that you know exactly how to make everyone feel comfortable and well represented. Make sure that the facts about language are covered off too.

The idea is to create as many possible options for your staff or students if you are offering e-learning options to educational facilities. With such a diverse workforce, and the ever-advancing technology available, nobody should be left behind.