9 Challenges In Designing Accessible eLearning Courses

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Top Considerations When Creating Accessible Learning Content

Employees working in any company should feel safe and protected, no matter their background. As a Learning and Development (L&D) professional, you have a great responsibility on your hands: to design eLearning content that’s accessible for all employees, regardless of learning and other disabilities. Unfortunately, most eLearning content for employee training doesn’t have accessibility features. Of course, designing lessons that don’t obstruct the training of any employee can be challenging. There are things you should be aware of and you should research. In this article, you will find out about the nine challenges you’ll have to address in the accessible learning content you create.

9 Mistakes To Avoid When Creating Accessibility-Centered eLearning Courses

1. Not Including Subtitles

Many learners prefer that your lesson’s audio be also available in text. This can be for any sort of reason. However, since you are designing the content carefully, you have to provide closed captions, subtitles, and even a transcript of the audio included. This will be very helpful for people who have trouble hearing or are deaf. Not including assistive technologies like this is a big mistake, and it’s something that troubles learners who are in need of this feature. However, this is also useful for people who are learning a new language or have a short attention span.

2. Absence Of Personalization

You should include the ability for learners to customize their training experience in every design you make. Especially when creating accessible eLearning courses, it’s better to personalize the content to help users with learning and cognitive disabilities. This can be done by considering their existing knowledge or experience, the reason for their training, the accessibility features they prefer, etc. This way, you will design more meaningful and relevant content, while also engaging the learners in a process that’s inclusive and interesting.

3. Lack Of Audio Description

Audio description is incredibly significant for learners with visual disabilities. By adding this feature to every video or presentation, even the entire lesson if it’s mostly in text and images, you offer people the ability to understand the learning material without the help of others. Make sure to use inclusive language in the voice-over, too. Also, it’s better if it’s recorded by a real person and not some automated voice. This will make learners feel more valued and appreciated.

4. Sensory Overload

Accessible eLearning courses should be simply designed. You don’t want to overwhelm your learners, right? Avoid flashy animation and images, loud sounds, or bright lights. These can be extremely distracting and create sensory overload, which will make some of your learners uncomfortable, or worse, cause them to panic. When you design lessons, you have to remember that some of your learners need calm environments and definitely more time to get comfortable and begin their training.

5. No Instructions

Not everything is common sense, especially when it comes to learning. Don’t let your learners figure out everything on their own. Even if they have used the L&D program before, or have experience with a specific platform, it’s important to never forget to offer learners clear, step-by-step instructions. The instructions should also be offered in a variety of ways, according to each learner’s needs. Whether it’s on-screen or audio instructions, it’s probably the most important aspect of the interface. Everyone needs help at some point in their training, so make sure to add a help button, too. Also, in case learners need further assistance, keep an open line of communication.

6. Complicated Navigation

We can’t stress enough how necessary simple design and user-friendly interface are when designing accessible eLearning courses. People have to be able to easily navigate the platform, using only their keyboard, for example. Even better, consider including voice-activated navigation. Not many L&D professionals remember this, but it’s of vital importance to offer obstacle-free navigation to everyone.

7. Forgetting An Alternative Text

Apart from subtitles, closed captions, and transcripts, you can also add alternative text to explain the images that are portrayed. This is necessary because people with visual disabilities usually have software that reads the text out loud, so it can detect the text behind an image and describe it to them. However, it’s best if you include the option for narrated alternative text, too. As we said, it’s best if learners can hear the narration with a real person’s voice, as it will better transfer the emotions, too.

8. Complicated Interactions

Not all interaction types suit all users. You should carefully consider the interactions you include in your design. Specifically, adjust them to your learners’ needs. For example, avoid mouse interactions if your users operate the platform using only a keyboard. Similarly, don’t include drag-and-drop or slide interactions. Simplify the ways your users have access to the content and make the necessary adjustments. While you’re working on it, pay attention to the language you use for the instructions. For instance, don’t write “click here” if your learners don’t use a mouse, or “press this key” if they use a voice-operated platform.

9. Not Having Color Contrast

Accessible eLearning courses aim for readability, too. More specifically, you need to pay attention to contrast. You can use different colors or tones to make sure that the contrast remains high. Also, try bigger texts to improve readability. The text has to stand out at all times, so if you want to use it over a background or image, make it more visible by adjusting the colors or adding a shadow behind the letters. Text should never be put over a noisy background, as it’s going to be very difficult for people with visual impairments to distinguish the two. It will also be hard for text-reading software to identify text in such cases. Aim for color contrast at all times, and your course will be easier to read.


Designing accessible eLearning courses can be challenging. There are many things you should avoid doing, and you may even feel overwhelmed by doing all the research into available technologies and learners’ requirements. However, if you follow the list given above and stick to an easy and user-friendly design, you’ll be able to create learning experiences that everyone can benefit from.

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