HowTo Guide - accessibility checkers

Fionna Mortimer
28th February 2021

As a department I decided that I wanted to look at our overall accessibility and address the special needs of our diverse set of learners. We work very hard to set different pathways within our courses to accommodate the learners’ needs but having completed several online courses relating to adapting content I felt that we needed to embed the use of digital tools to improve the ability to support the wide differentiation. I have devised a set of HowTo guides for the team – the first of which was how to use the accessibility checker in Microsoft 365 applications. I used some of the Microsoft sites to research and gather the information then created a short guide which would be shared electronically with the team and wider business unit.

Targeted Audience

The resource was for the team at EKC IntoWork Eastchurch as a department and then will be shared with the rest of the Business unit. There are so many helpful tools available via the technology we already use on a day to day basis but we were not using it consistently across the department.

Resource effectiveness in solving the identified problem

The issue was being able to effectively use the tools available to enhance the teaching and learning experience for the learners considering the various learning needs of the learners. The ability to use the large variety of digital tools was important and not being harnessed. Therefore, the CPD session to explain how to use the accessibility checker resulted in the staff having the knowledge and confidence to apply the knowledge to their resources which immediately made a difference as it reduced barriers for those learners who experience difficulties with written documents.

Use, impact and benefits seen from learners

The immediate impact was that a large proportion of the materials and documents in constant use within class have been improved and adapted – the time taken to run the checker is incredibly small and the help that the tool offers users to make changes and updates is very small and therefore has been adopted by the staff. The changes are subtle and have not necessarily been noticed by the learners. The fact that a wider diversity of learners will have less issues with the documents should mean greater inclusive content across the courses. We have also used the checker on all generic documents and resources used across the department. I hope to see less frustration and less learners disengaging with the qualification due to finding it too hard to understand.

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