Accessibility in L&D has been a hot topic for the past couple years. I started to recognise this industry trend several months back, and I decided to use my podcasting platform to bring greater awareness to this important issue.
I contacted an L&D colleague and hatched a plan to pull in some experts to talk about accessibility in general, accessibility in learning, and, most important, what it is like to need accessible learning and not get it. This was an important project, and I knew I wanted it to lead season three of my podcast.
We recorded 3.5 hours of rich discussion that was divided into three episodes. The episodes were part of series titled “I Have Questions about Accessibility” that is available on YouTube and in podcast form. Each episode is full of expert opinions, experiences, and personal stories about the impact of accessibility needs in guests’ lives.
Episode 1: “Accessibility in L&D” answers questions such as:
- What is accessibility?
- How do we make things accessible?
- How does accessibility link to inclusion?
Episode 2: “Accessibility in L&D” answers questions such as:
- How do we make all learning modalities accessible?
- Who is responsible for accessibility?
- Should someone’s entire job be about accessibility?
My favorite is Episode 3: “Accessibility in Real Life,” which answers questions such as:
- How do you relate to the audience for accessibility?
- Tell us about your experience as someone who is part of the audience for accessibility.
- What difficulties have you had when experiences are not accessible to you? Please share your story.
- What is it like when the experience you are in has incorporated these accessibility principles and techniques?
- What do you want L&D peeps to know about accessibility from the standpoint of someone who could truly benefit?
Hosting these podcast episodes changed my perspective and gave me a deeper understanding of accessibility. Here are my biggest takeaways from the series:
Accessibility benefits all of us. Think about the last time you used a crossing. Did you walk down the ramp of the footpath, or did you choose to bypass that and step off the curb? Or the last time you watched your favorite movie or TV show, did you use the captions when you didn’t really need them? Accessible resources benefit everyone.
Accessibility begins in design. When designing learning experiences, accessibility starts at the beginning. As you are storyboarding and writing your narrative, do so with an accessibility lens. Checking for accessibility at the end of the design process could result in double work and possibly even rework. Make accessibility part of the design.
The need for accessibility is not always obvious. We spent time talking about physical limitations as well as other types of disabilities that might need accessible accommodations. The conversation was riveting as the guests talked about neurodivergence, low visibility, and recovery from stroke. They also shared the difficulties of not having accessible resources and the ease of having them available.
I would love for you to get to hear these conversations - check out the videos or podcasts at the link below!
ifyouaskbetty Podcast Season 3 Episodes 1-3: https://ifyouaskbetty.com/podcast/
ifyouaskbetty Video Series “I Have Questions about Accessibility”: https://youtu.be/TLjWqG_yWf8?si=Vj9m41fz2iSC7vs9
About the Author
Betty Dannewitz is a Learning Solutions Architect for Blanchard®. In that role, Betty specialises in multimedia, augmented reality strategy, production, and implementation, L&D strategy, and leadership and management training. Betty brings a proven ability for strategic thinking to the development and implementation of innovative programs to drive corporate initiatives, expand employee knowledge, and increase engagement.