Accessibility in eLearning

I ran across this great video/post on Accessibility Mindfulness by Los Angeles Pacific University.  The video is focused on presentation tools.  I’d like to expand on that discussion and discuss three more options for improving eLearning accessibility.

Voice Over

It’s not uncommon to have audio in an eLearning presentation, and we all know the benefits voice over brings to eLearning.

But from an accessibility viewpoint it can do even more.  Think about the images you are including in your eLearning (or Corporate) videos…  Include a brief, mindful, description of the images in the script for improved accessibility.  The voice over professional can adjust their pitch and volume to drop the image narration in without disturbing the flow of your primary message or save it as a separate video file for accessibility.

Closed Captions / Transcripts

Did you know there are laws that govern the use of closed captioning for some businesses?  Here’s a link to the American with Disabilities Act laws for closed captioning. 

There are free and inexpensive tools available on the web to generate closed captioning for your videos.  If you load you videos onto your YouTube Channel, closed captioning if automatically generated using speech recognition technology.  They’re not perfect, but they’re close.  You can then edit the captions using instructions found here.

Other free tools include:

Looking for something a little more robust but not free?  Try Rev.

Language Services

Some of the captioning services above, such as also offer language services.  If your business has a call center, then you’re probably already familiar with LanugageLine Solutions, the over-the-phone interpreting service.  If you’re a legal firm, you probably use some type of document translation service.

Liberty Language Services did a study and found that 8.6% of the US population did not have a firm grasp of the English language.  They may speak English well, but do they read it?  Will they be proficient enough to fully take in and understand the important messages you want to impart in your eLearning?

Depending on the demographics of your eLearning audience, you may want to consider creating alternate videos in other languages.  According to, the five most spoken languages (native speakers) are:

Many businesses use certified business translation services such as:

Sign Language

Please let me call out special attention within Language Services to sign language interpreters.  If you have even one employee who identifies as part of the Deaf community, I urge you to engage the services of a certified sign language interpreter for your all-company meetings, important briefings, and eLearning productions.

American Sign Language is a recognized natural language.  It has its own grammar, syntax, manner of expression, and regional dialects. It may be tempting to look within your own employee group and ask someone to translate.  Before you do that, think back to middle school or high school where you may have taken one or even two years of a foreign language.  Would you want to be asked to translate or interpret in that language for a native speaker?

A certified interpreter will have extensive knowledge and understanding of deafness, the deaf community, and Deaf culture.  They will also have specialized training and experience in other tools to enhance and ensure the accuracy of communication.

Here’s a link to a directory of Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDI).

If you need a foreign language voice over please reach out.  It won’t be me.  (Just being honest.)  But I will do my best to reach into my network of voice over professionals to find a bilingual voice over artist you can talk with.

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