Have you encountered an online learning website with small-scale text, different language, colors that make reading difficult, or videos with complicated controls? Chances are, that website has limited web accessibility.
Web accessibility is important for many businesses, especially those operating online, like the digital marketing industry. You get a good user experience from accessible sites, and search engines reward those sites for that.
Online schools also benefit from web accessibility. For students enrolled in online courses, web accessibility is almost as important as having a fast, secure home internet connection. Both are needed for a seamless and uninterrupted online learning experience.
In education, web accessibility means that websites, technologies, and tools are developed and specially designed so that individuals with disabilities can use them. Web accessibility enables these students to navigate, interact, and understand website content and online educational tools with ease.
For example, you can adjust the text size to make reading the course material easier. If you have eyesight problems, this feature may assist in reading your lessons.
Read on and find out how important web accessibility is in education, particularly online learning of students with disabilities. This article discusses the various benefits of accessibility to students, parents, and educational institutions.
Importance of Web Accessibility in Education
In education, limited accessibility can make online course content unreadable. Such is the case if you look at the content on a small screen like on a smartphone. The following are some benefits web accessibility brings to various educational stakeholders like students, parents, and the school.
Provides Students With Access to Various Educational Features
Web accessibility allows students to interact with various educational services with ease.
- Online course content – Having readable course content helps the student understand the lesson modules, discussion forums, assignment submissions, and even information about your instructor.
- Video lectures – Video controls should be visible and large enough to interact with ease, even for students with disabilities.
For example, students with limited motor skills can easily click the play button on the video. Another example is text captioning for students who have hearing issues.
- Quizzes and exams – Quizzes are one way to assess how much the student has learned.
Voice assistance may be added to quizzes so that students who have difficulty reading the text may hear the questions instead.
- Other class resources – Other educational resources like libraries, grammar and plagiarism checkers, and student counseling services may also benefit from having web accessibility features integrated into them.
Benefits Students Receiving Special Education
Special education students and those with disabilities may greatly benefit from web accessibility. By having accessible services, students with special needs can have equal use and enjoyment of the various online educational facilities as the other students. Providing equal educational opportunities to special needs students requires the school’s solid commitment to ensure the institution’s educational services are accessible to all students.
Benefits Parents Engaged With Their Children’s Education
In 2018, there were around 6.7 million students in the U.S. receiving special education. These students include those with hearing, vision, motor, and cognitive disabilities.
Students with these limitations may find using the computer and accessing online educational services challenging. For this reason, parents have to be engaged with their children’s education and assist them as they learn. With high web accessibility, parents may have an easier time assisting their children in attending their classes.
Some parents may have difficulties navigating or interacting with the website. Web accessibility lets parents view their children’s grades, contact their teachers, and easily access educational resources. For example, colors that make the text easier to see may help the user read the words. Foreign language translation on the website may also help international students or their parents understand the course content through their language.
Fills Gaps in Career and Technical Education
Eventually, one of the goals of education is to provide students with a clear career path and open up new educational opportunities to increase the students’ knowledge and skill.
This goal aims to address the job market gap, especially for professions that are highly in demand.
Web accessibility ensures that students, especially those with disabilities, can navigate, read, and understand the course contents needed to close that job gap.
Benefits Schools and Universities
High web accessibility seems to be the ideal goal for educational institutions to achieve. This goal is essential if these institutions want to appeal to all types of minds.
However, many websites still have accessibility issues. For example, the text is non-resizable, background colors make reading complicated, or words that are difficult to see cannot be heard.
These schools and universities have to consider improving their websites’ accessibility to minimize these issues. Resolving these issues will help students have a more productive and enjoyable time learning online.
For students with special needs and disabilities, web accessibility is almost as important as fast and stable internet. However, not all online learning websites have high accessibility, and many students may still find navigating these sites challenging.
Educational institutions have to address web accessibility so students can have an easier time navigating the school website, understanding their lessons, and interacting with other students and their teachers online.
To determine if the online course website is highly accessible, consider using the steps outlined by the Web Accessibility Initiative on how to evaluate web accessibility.