While designing your e-learning an important consideration is to make the e-learning accessible for all. Accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the e-learning content. By creating an accessible content, it can be made available to a wide range of people,who are suffering from :

  • Blindness or visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • A difficulty with speech and control
  • Limited reach and strength
  • Dyslexia problems and to access it without any difficulty
  • Any other forms of temporary disabilities

There are laws on accessibility, which state that web resources must be made accessible to all including permanent or temporary disabilities. These laws are:

  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • Rehabilitation Act (Sections 504 & 508)

Section 508 Compliance

Section 508,is a 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It lays out electronic and IT-related accessibility requirements primarily for the US federal agencies. These requirements have become the standard for how individuals with disabilities interact with commercial, education, and federal government websites.

Section 508 of the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973 tells us that all the electronic and information technology developed, procured or used by the federal government should be accessible to people with disabilities.

The section is applicable for :
• Images
• Maps
• Stylesheets
• Scripting languages
• Plug-ins
• Multimedia presentations
• Software, applications, and websites
• Videos
• Electronic documents
• E-Learning material

The requirements spelled out in Section 508 do not specify what colors to use or how large your font size should be, but they do offer a general framework to be followed. For example, the colors you use need to use in your e-learning content should have a high contrast to each other (e.g., red text on a green background is not a good idea), and any e-learning video must provide transcripts or captioning for all spoken text.

While the law does not address educational websites specifically (in fact, it only addresses federal agencies’ use of technology), it has provided the foundation for tools to be developed to aid those with disabilities. Screen readers, for instance, allow those with visual impairments to move through the e-learning content by reading the text on the page to the learner.

Some examples of content that must be Section 508 compliant within your e-learning are:

  • Multimedia: All multimedia (e.g., screens, videos, simulations, animations) must contain a transcript or closed captioning.
  • Graphics: A description of any image or icons or infographics that is considered essential content must be accessible to a screen reading software.
  • Attachments: All uploaded content must be formatted properly and accessible by screen reading technology (e.g., MS Word, PDF, PPT, Excel, etc.).
  • Curated content: All third-party resources you use within your e-learning must be compliant  with Section 508 requirements(e.g., YouTube or any other external links).

Through this blog, I hope I was able to answer What is Section 508 Compliance and how does it relate to e-learning?

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