This short post is an edited excerpt from the Spicy Learning Guide, an essential compendium of 101 tips to improve your learning strategy. Register here to receive your free copy!
An inaccessible e-learning course risks non compliance, frustration, anxiety and lost productivity. Saffron’s five tips will help you avoid all that and build something accessible, usable and ultimately more effective.
1. Revise your definition
Yes, accessibility is about catering to users with disabilities, but it pays to take a broader view: accessibility is about usability. Everyone benefits from easy-to-use interactions, intuitive navigation, clear language and a considered design.
2. Build accessibility into your plans
Many people believe an accessible course is an expensive course, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Consider accessibility from the outset, plan how you’ll build it into your design, and you’ll find that the investment pays off.
3. Aim for accessibility, not perfection
It’s worth finding some guidelines, like the W3C standards. They apply to websites rather than e-learning, so create your own test plans that tick as many of the boxes as possible and find alternatives if you can’t meet a particular requirement.
4. Don’t be tempted to build two versions
Creating a separate version of an e-learning course isn’t inclusive, so it opens you up to equivalence issues. It also adds to your workload, which impacts on the timescales and bottom line, and it can compromise testing procedures.
5. Be aware of the common mistakes
Don’t create interactions that require intricate mouse control. Don’t design a course that relies on an awareness of the visual layout. Don’t use descriptions that will be lost on visually impaired users (‘click on the green box on the right…’).
Last night’s Learning Awards saw Saffron Interactive win the coveted award for the second time in four years – the only e-learning provider ever to do so. Beating stiff competition from Mind Click, Dell and Unicorn Training, Saffron’s Moira Nicolson took the prize for an extraordinary e-learning course on mental resilience created for Transport for London.
This category, which is judged by industry figureheads including Clive Shepherd and Julie Wedgwood, recognises ‘exceptional instructional design’ which is ‘innovative and of high quality’ and delivers ‘demonstrable performance improvement for learners.’ In 2010 the same award was won by Saffron’s Stephanie Dedhar for her work with BT.
‘I’m immensely proud of Moira and I’m pleased to say I’m not surprised!’ says Noorie Sazen, Saffron CEO. ‘Winning this award for the second time shows why Saffron is such a special company. Moira never settles for less than perfection and always challenges our clients to develop learning experiences that really do change behaviour. That’s the Saffron difference.’
Moira is modest about her achievement: ‘I had a wonderful time at the Awards and I’m so happy that the judges recognised what this course achieved. Not only did we deliver £7.8 million in ROI by reducing paid absences, but we also tackled taboos around stress, depression and anxiety and helped to change TfL’s organisational culture for the better. This is a cause I’m passionate about.’
In the run-up to the Olympics and with various other high profile projects underway, it was important for us to boost mental resilience among our workforce,’ says Dan Church, online learning consultant at Transport for London, ‘but we never imagined that replacing a classroom session with this e-learning intervention would have such a positive impact! Moira did an incredible job in taking difficult subject matter and transforming it into very human, personalised online learning. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most effective and well received 40 minutes of e-learning I’ve been involved with in my career.’
The Learning Awards ceremony takes place each February and is hosted by the Learning & Performance Institute (LPI), which accredits L&D teams and vendors and drives better standards across the industry.
To find out more about the thinking behind Saffron’s award-winning approach to e-learning, readers can attend an LPI webinar on 28 February at 11am to be co-hosted by Dan Church at Transport for London. Register here
To read Moira’s case study about the project and find out more about Saffron Interactive, contact us today.