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William Villegas-Ch, Sergio Luján-Mora, Ángel Jaramillo-Alcázar, Santiago Criollo-C. Improving accessibility and usability in e-learning. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (Edulearn 2016), p. 656-662, Barcelona (Spain), July 4-6 2016. ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2016.1128
The e-learning has emerged as a solution to problems that traditional education cannot respond. This allows to overcome the geographical barriers, since it is not necessary to go anywhere; the problems of time, as it makes possible to combine study with work and family obligations to the student choose their own schedule; and demand problems, because you can follow the same training program with people who share interests but being of different geographical areas. It could be placed in the last stage of distance learning, in which information and communications technology are applied to education.
Under this concept groups exist people with special needs or elderly, who will be affected, if it is not taken into account parameters such as usability and accessibility. These problems must be analyzed and resolved, since the number of people with disabilities is large and growing. In 2011, the World Health Organization stated that more than one billion people worldwide live with a disability.
E-learning has the potential to provide opportunities for access to education for persons with disabilities. However, e-learning is undergoing a process of constant expansion, through colleges, universities, schools, businesses and government agencies. The importance of providing accessible learning experiences fitting the preferences and requirements of learners with special needs is on the rise.
Accessibility involves the removal of any obstacle to fluid interaction the learning environment with the content to be acquired; this makes reference to the design of a virtual learning resource that can be usable and enable access to all users. Not excluding those with some physical limitations, of the language, technical or geographical. By taking into account these indicators a site is accessible and can be used by people with special needs.
There are various rules and standards like WCAG, who provides guidance on the deployment of applications accessible. However, these guidelines are based on technical aspects of access.
For example, the W3C standards are more adaptable to aspects like the content for sightless, which can be read by a person with visual limitation. The assistive technologies, such as the screen readers; rather than emphasize the cognitive or conceptual knowledge are more related to the usability and quality to the user with disabilities.
Similarly, during the development of guides and learning resources should consider the contribution of stakeholders. Including education experts, experts in human factors and struggling students. This will help improve the usability and accessibility of resources.
It is important to mention that there are several works that contribute to the design and accessibility learner-centered.
This paper presents a study on the state of learning content and a set of guidelines aimed at accessibility, taking into account not only a technical approach, but also from a cognitive perspective.
Accessibility in e-learning offers the greatest potential to change the focus and not rely solely on the access to resources. Because the important thing is how they are perceived by students; usability and knowledge generation are the result of the quality of resources and ease of use, this will determine the improvement of e-learning.