Elements of Accessibility

While both of the previous quality standards include elements of accessibility, it's useful to quickly review Universal Design for Learning and Universal Instructional Design, to keep the basic guidelines in mind as you plan and design.

Universal design principles, developed for product design, were introduced to educational design to ensure accessibility for persons with disability. They have evolved to encompass a wider diversity of learners. Three core Universal Design for Learning principles can be applied to online learning design. Designers should try to incorporate:

  • multiple means of representation: give learners ways of acquiring information and knowledge
  • multiple means of action and expression: provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know
  • multiple means of engagement: offer learners ways to participate that interest them, offer appropriate challenges and increase motivation.

A more recent change has focused on Universal Instructional Design principles that fit well with a learner-focused design approach. The UID principles that focus on designing learning materials and activities amy be useful as you design your Unit or prototype activity. Your activities and materials shoudl be:

  • accessible and fair;
  • flexible (provide flexibilitiy in, participation and presentation);
  • straightforward and consistent;
  • explicit (clearly explained); and
  • supportive.

Brock University Teaching Wiki. (2008) Seven Principles of Universal Instructional Design (UID). Retrieved from https://kumu.brocku.ca/twiki/Seven_Principles_of_Universal_Instructional_Design_%28UID%29

Elias, Tanya (2010) Universal instructional design principles for Moodle (pdf), The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Vol.11, No.2 (May 2010) Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/869/1575

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines 2.0, (browse different representations) Center for Applied Special Technologies, Maryland State Department of Education and Howard County Public Schools, Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial