Before we proceed to the designing of a 508 complaint mobile-based eLearning, it is essential to know, ‘what is 508 compliance’ and why is it important. Section 508 compliance aims at ensuring that everyone has “access to information that is comparable to that of others”. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 established compliance requirements and mandates so that federal entities make software and websites accessible even to those with disabilities.
Your organization may have employees with extraordinary caliber but with sudden disabilities like hearing impairment or problems with eyesight, etc. But they deserve the same access to the training materials used by their colleagues. And by making your e-learning accessible and 508 compliant you will provide them with this boon.
The importance of 508 compliance
Every federal agency and institution that accepts federal assistance must comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This calls for the use of software and web resources viz. eLearning that are accessible to people with disabilities who may utilize auxiliary aids like screen readers by government organizations, federally supported nonprofits, public higher education institutions, and public K–12 schools. And not just the public sectors, several private businesses, including those that produce accessible software are 508 compliant. It is requested and expected from you to design an eLearning course that adheres to these standards as an e-learning developer.
How to make a mobile-based eLearning course accessible:
1. Choose the appropriate colors: An eLearning portfolio must contain more than 1000 modules, and each course you design must have a unified structure, layout, and aesthetics. The optimal design strategy is clear and clutter-free. If the material they are viewing is “too decorated,” some students may find it difficult to focus.
Therefore, it is essential to test the content using a screen reader to make sure that all of the pieces appear on the screen in the right order and are readable to every learner.
2. Keep the design concept consistent: Think carefully about the colors you choose while constructing a design. Most color-blind students do not possess the capacity to see the colors like others do. So, keep that in mind as well while designing these classes that are completely screen-based.
3. Keep in mind the matter of font sizes: Do not use too small of a font in your design; pay attention to it! Providing the ability for learners to modify the font size is a common addition made by instructional designers, so you can either do it or utilize a minimum font size of 12pt or higher.
4. Use of GIFs, animated video closed captions: Occasionally use animation in our eLearning course to make it more engaging. For both photographs and videos, it’s crucial to add Alt Text and also, make sure your video material has closed captioning. By doing this, it is ensured that learners who may be visually challenged can have information read to them by a screen reader.
5. Use social media offering online support: To provide online support, establish social media groups. The employees themselves are one of the most important sources of support. Through social media groups, you may assist your workers in utilizing the benefits of peer-based online training. Each person on your team contributes something special to the table. Create a private group for staff members who may have certain specific needs, then invite them to post comments. Encourage online debates by publishing thought-grinding questions or prompts.
6. Use text transcripts: Audio is used in online learning to support students or trainees. If you are not comfortable providing voiceover to your content, make sure to offer a text transcript so that those with hearing impairments may access the information.
7. Clickable online course: The online training experience is personalized through clickable course maps. Employees with specific needs have the option of selecting the online training modules, tests, and activities that are most effective for them, with these options in hand. Additionally, they are not required to keep up with their coworkers and can go at their own pace. This gives them the freedom to concentrate at any time and it is the most practical approach for individual skill and performance gaps. Personalized online training routes can be developed by using an adaptive LMS. Based on employee success, the system automatically presents pertinent online learning materials and tools.
8. Supply Additional Asynchronous Resources: Even if they are not scheduled for a regular online training session, employees should be able to broaden their knowledge whenever and wherever they desire. They must be able to independently and continuously enhance their performance and work abilities if provided with the assistance of supplementary online training tools. Instead of throwing them out in a public arena, focus on their own areas for improvement and try to include a variety of online training resources for micro-learning, and organize your list by themes or tasks. For instance, a component of your online training library might focus on compliance expertise or task competency.
9. Provide easy navigation: The layout and design of the course should take into account the navigational needs of eLearning, resulting in a clear and uncomplicated user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). The navigational alternatives for people with physical disabilities must also be addressed.
These are the few ways that can be utilized to make online courses available to all. Creating a mobile learning course is essential as data from GSMA intelligence suggests, that there are approximately 5.34 billion mobile users all around the world and each human including people with disabilities strongly relies on these portable smart boxes that act as a source of information and amusement, all at the same time.