There was a notable shift in the way educators and students convey learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the closure of schools and universities during this time, educators were forced to quickly adapt to remote teaching methods. In order to administer and distribute educational content to students online, Learning Management Systems (LMS) become important in this situation.
One of the well-known LMS today is Moodle and you have probably heard of it. Moodle is a platform that offers educators, administrators, and students individualized learning environments that is strong, secure and integrated. It became very popular with most educational institutions and corporations. Some of Moodle’s benefits for its users are its customizability and scalable system. It is also very cost-effective and user-friendly. One of Moodle’s main commitments is its dedication to web accessibility, which guarantees that all students, including those with disabilities, can access and use its content.
But what makes web accessibility important for those learning online? Well, to start, web accessibility refers to the design of websites and its contents to make sure that they can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. When it comes to online learning, web accessibility is important to make sure that all learners have an equal opportunity to access and engage with course materials. Moodle aims to establish accessibility by providing a range of features and tools to support different learning needs. Web accessibility makes sure that no one is left behind!
Moodle is WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) certified. WCAG 2.1 is an approach developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that provides recommendations for making web content more accessible for people with disabilities. WCAG 2.1 succeeds WCAG 2.0, adding more and new success criteria to deal with new technologies and common barriers for people with disabilities. These guidelines are essential for ensuring that everyone can access online content with ease.
Furthermore, WCAG 2.1 follows four principles of accessibility; perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. According to Hawkins (2020), for a web’s content to be perceivable, the users must be able to perceive that the content exists using at least one of their senses. For a website to be operable, users must be able to navigate the website easily. For a web content to be understandable, easy words and easy navigation should be considered. And lastly, for a website to be considered as robust, users must be able to access it across different platforms or devices.
Here are some of the benefits in using WCAG 2.1 in Moodle:
- Use of clear and consistent navigation menus, the inclusion of alternative text for images and other visual content, and the use of accessible color contrasts and font sizes. It provides a simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for learners to access and complete their courses.
- Learners with visual impairments can use screen readers to access course content, learners with motor impairments can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate the platform and learners with hearing impairments can benefit from the provision of closed captions and transcripts for video content.
- Comply with legal requirements as many countries have laws and regulations in place that require websites and online platforms to be accessible to people with disabilities.
- Accessibility and usability of the platform in different devices. Moodle is designed to be responsive, which means that it can be accessed from a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets.
While the goal of WCAG 2.1 is to ensure that digital content is accessible to everyone, implementing these guidelines can also help make digital things more human. With our ever evolving digital world, WCAG 2.1 aims to enhance usability and inclusivity. It provides recommendations for designing web content that is easy to navigate and understand. By understanding the web contents better, we can promote supporting emotional connections by providing clear and concise content as people tend to form emotional connections with things they can relate to.
To sum it all up, Moodle makes sure that online learning can be accessed by everyone, anywhere by following the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. Moodle stays as an adaptable and capable LMS that can help organizations of all types and sizes to deliver online learning experiences. Even though the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have started to minimize, a lot of educational institutions and corporations decided to continue the practice of online learning, thus making the presence of the learning management system still relevant. As to what the Moodle developers believe, there should be no barriers for people regardless of disabilities, assistive technologies that are used, different screen sizes and different input devices
Biwer, F. et al. (2021). Changes and Adaptations: How University Students Self-Regulate Their Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.642593/full
Hawkins, T. (2020). WCAG 2.1, Simplified: How to Make Your Website Accessible. https://levelup.gitconnected.com/wcag-2-1-simplified-how-to-make-your-website-accessible-1cfadd03d20d
Moodle. (n.d.). About Moodle. https://docs.moodle.org/401/en/About_Moodle
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Why Web Accessibility is Important. https://accessibility.uncg.edu/why-web-accessibility-is-important/
World Wide Web Consortium. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/
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