How To Design Section 508 Compliant Mobile Learning
Every member of your staff deserves to build their skills and expertise. That includes employees with special needs, either physical or developmental. Fortunately, there are ways to offer them the support and online training resources they require on-the-go. Here are 9 tips to create mobile-friendly, Section 508 compliant mobile learning for your employees.
1. Survey Employees With Special Needs
Employees with special needs know their own abilities and personal preferences. As such, you should survey them beforehand to create effective mobile learning content. Invite them to share their opinions about your current online training strategy and how you can improve. For example, they may have difficulty accessing the interactive online training materials on their tablets, or they would like to see more variety when it comes to the online training resources you provide.
2. Incorporate Subtitles Or Captions
Subtitles and captions are ideally suited for employees who are hearing impaired, as well as for those who speak English as a second language. They have the opportunity to turn on the subtitles and follow along or switch to their localized language. You can also focus just on the key takeaways instead of including verbatim text. Alternatively, create a checklist or chart that features all the important discussion points. This also serves as a great reference for other members of your staff who need a knowledge refresher.
3. Add Optional Audio Narrations
Record audio narrations for online presentations, branching scenarios, and other online training content that is text-heavy. Employees who are visually impaired have the ability to listen to the key takeaways instead of reading along. Just make sure that you give employees the option to turn off the audio when necessary. For example, corporate learners who are in a public space may not be able to listen to the compliance online presentation. They should have complete control over the playback and volume levels.
4. Create Social Media Groups To Offer Online Support
One of the most valuable support resources that employees have is one another. Every member of your staff brings something unique to the table, and you can help them tap into the power of peer-based online training through social media groups. Start a closed group for employees with certain types of special needs, and then invite them to leave comments. Spark online discussions by posting prompts or thought provoking questions.
5. Offer Clickable Online Training Course Maps To Cater To Individual Needs
Clickable, online training course maps personalize the online training experience. Employees with certain types of special needs can pick-and-choose the online training assessments, modules, and activities that work best for them. They can also go at their own pace instead of having to keep up with co-workers. This allows them to focus on individual skill and performance gaps whenever it's most convenient. You can also create personalized online training paths using an adaptive LMS. The system automatically displays relevant online training resources and tools based on employee performance. For example, a staff member receives a low score on the customer service assessment. As such, the LMS gives them a list of online training resources and modules that focus on specific skill sets.
6. Provide Supplemental Asynchronous Resources
Employees should be able to expand their knowledge base whenever, wherever, even if they aren't scheduled for a regular online training session. Supplemental online training resources allow them to continually improve their work skills and performance autonomously. They can focus on their own areas for improvement privately, instead of sharing them in a public forum. Try to incorporate a broad range of microlearning online training materials, and categorize your list based on topics or tasks. For instance, one section of your online training library may center on task proficiency or compliance knowledge.
7. Opt For Buttons Over Text Hyperlinks
Certain employees may have trouble seeing or tapping small text-based hyperlinks. Therefore, you might consider buttons that are clearly labeled and easily accessible. Use bold colors and fonts to draw their attention. You should also make icons clearly visible so that employees know where to find additional information. For instance, how to access your Facebook page so that they can ask a pressing question. Text hyperlinks are also more difficult to see on smaller devices, such as smartphones. Thus, every member of your staff will appreciate easy-to-tap buttons and icons.
8. Incorporate Visual Aids To Improve Comprehension
Employees with cognitive impairments may not be able to absorb and assimilate text-based information. As a result, they need visual aids to simplify the concepts and impart the key takeaways. This may be in the form of infographics, charts, online presentations, or images. Incorporate a good mix of visual representations to improve their understanding and increase employee participation.
9. Include Detailed Online Instructions
You're putting a lot of time and effort into creating mobile learning courses for your staff. But do they know how to access the Learning Management System and utilize the new features? For example, employees who are hearing impaired may not know that they can turn on closed captions during the interactive online training simulation. It's essential to include detailed online instructions that highlight every aspect of your mobile learning program. That includes how to login to the LMS, complete coursework, and turn on/off the special features.
Use these 9 tips to develop mobile learning courses that are easily accessible and all-inclusive. You can also use a responsive design tool to save time and resources. This will allow you to create a master layout that adjusts based on the employee's device. As such, everyone receives an optimal online training experience anytime, anywhere.
Did you know that learning disabilities usually afflict people with a higher IQ? Or that there are tell-tale signs someone may be suffering from a learning impairment? Read the article Learning Disabilities In Online Training: 10 Facts eLearning Professionals Should Know to learn how to recognize and support your learning disabled workforce.