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CIPD Call to Make E-Learning Accessible to All


Training professionals must ensure that e-learning is accessible to people with disabilities, for the sake of their business, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has warned.

In a new report Why Accessible e-Learning Makes Business Sense the CIPD says that unless employers ensure e-learning can be accessed by learners with disabilities, they could waste a great deal of money or find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

The report also highlights the contribution that the effective use of e-learning can make to including people with disabilities in the labour market, tackling issues such as skills shortages, the growing number of people in the UK unable to work and the impact of future legislation on employing people with disabilities.

Many of the participants in the research felt the Government needed to do more to drive better accessibility in e-learning, particularly if there is a genuine desire to deliver on commitments to reduce inequality and get more people off long-term sick benefits and back to work.

According to the report, the Government should:
* Do more to raise awareness of the issue of access for people with disabilities to learning opportunities, and e-learning in particular.
* Provide more support for employers, in terms of advice and financial incentives, to make e-learning content more accessible
* Lead the way by using its position as a major commissioner of e-learning to set higher standards for best practice.

Jessica Jarvis, CIPD Training, Learning and Development Adviser and author of the report, said that making sure that e-learning is accessible makes business sense for employers, especially considering the current tight labour market.

"Research shows that where e-learning is adapted to meet the needs of learners with disabilities, the changes are likely to benefit all learners," she said. "However, our research shows that employers are not exploiting more accessible and usable methods of e-learning to the full, despite a clear understanding of the potential that exists.

"People management professionals have a key role to play in raising awareness of this issue. By exerting pressure over minimum expected accessibility standards during procurement, they can help to 'raise the bar' across the industry."

Fiona Hover, Fiona Hover of the Educational Development Department, Dyslexia Institute, backed the report.

"There is nothing that dyslexic people need that wouldn't make it easier for everyone else. Good clear symbols, good navigation, simple layout, audio - these are all things that a good e-learning package should have," she said.


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