There are many things to consider when designing a learning and development program. Prioritizing learner needs, choosing the right information, and creating compelling content are top priorities. But most importantly, make sure your training meets accessibility compliance guidelines. Even the best program won’t work if everyone can’t participate effectively in the given program.
As you design your next training program, remember that ease of use is just as important as availability. Over the past 40 years, the U.S. federal government has established guidelines about what accessibility means and how certain rules must be followed to create a level playing field.
Chief among them is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, or simply Section 508 compliance. It contains the rules that learning platforms, websites, and other media must comply with for all users to interact correctly.
What Exactly Is 508 Compliance In Elearning?
For eLearning to be 508 compliant, the course material must be developed to make it simple for people with reading disabilities to understand. Employing multimedia in courses ensures that the eLearning content adheres to the minimum acceptable criteria, such as “the inclusion of text descriptions for graphics, etc.” Section 508’s primary goal is to remove obstacles in the way of information technology. It makes it possible for people with disabilities to access new opportunities while utilizing technology to support such individuals in achieving their objectives.
Different Sections Of The 508 Compliance
Here’s a closer look at the various 508 compliance sections:
Subtitles And Closed Captioning
Hearing-impaired users can access videos and visual presentations with audio, thanks to subtitles and subtitling. This is a must for all learning and development resources as it ensures learners access all audio content regardless of device.
Avoid Navigation Links
Users may view this functionality as necessary depending on how your training is set up. Using the keyboard rather than a mouse to browse and choose menu items is feasible by omitting navigation links. This is especially useful for those unable to operate a mouse due to motor limitations because it allows for easy navigation without the requirement to point and click. If your learning and development program includes a large menu with numerous options, omit the navigation links to ensure that all learners can obtain and read the content.
Ability To Use A Screen Reader
An example of assistive technology is a screen reader that converts on-screen text to an audio file or Braille output. It is used to assist visually impaired learners in determining text and can be compared to flipping captions and subtitles. This accessibility is required for 508 compliance and is useful when accessing training on the go to accommodate visually impaired learners.
This list of sections is not an all-encompassing and exhaustive list. There are various other sections with the intention of creating an all-inclusive online learning environment.
Why Is 508 Compliance Needed?
E-learning is made simpler for folks with specific disabilities because of 508 compliance. These people are intelligent enough to understand the information. Still, the traditional format makes it challenging for them to understand, especially those who have hearing and vision-related issues and struggle a lot.
Lms And 508 Compliance-
You require a Content Management System and Learning Management System that enables you to set up training courses and eLearning content that adheres to Section 508 best practices if you want to adhere to a strict 508 compliance checklist for eLearning. Only if you use an LMS with features that cater to their needs, including high-contrast themes and screen reader compatibility, which are all parts of 508 compliance, do e-learning courses make it simpler for employees to participate in training.
Your business must prioritize the learner to comply with Section 508 requirements. The core principles of accessibility compliance are equality and inclusion, and designing programs that are not appropriate for all of your learners can lead to various problems. Understand and put into practice 508 compliance criteria, and stay up to speed on the latest techniques to establish an equal learning environment to ensure you are building a good learning culture in your company.