Approach to Accessibility
Education is about sharing. Lumen has a firm commitment to sharing learning materials that meet the needs of learners with variable strengths so that all learners can access and use them effectively. We strive to understand what barriers learners may face and what inclusivity really means and to adhere to guiding principles regarding accessibility in order to be able to create inclusive learning materials.
Lumen has developed and continues to develop its approach to accessibility and inclusivity with advising from the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University in Canada.
This statement describes Lumen’s general approach to accessibility in the Approach to Accessibility section, and it describes the current status of the Waymaker courseware in the Current Accessibility Status section.
Who is Currently Excluded?
All learners potentially face barriers to learning. These can be seen as a product of a mismatch between the needs of the learner and the learning experience and environment. Learning needs that affect learning can include:
- sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional and social constraints
- individual learning approaches or preferences
- linguistic or cultural preferences
- technical, financial or environmental constraints
Some learners are more constrained than others and are therefore less able to adapt to the learning experience or environment offered; for this reason the learning environment or experience must be more flexible.
In order to identify and understand the mismatches that our learners may face, Lumen increasingly incorporate user research and feedback into our design and continuous improvement processes.
What is an Accessible Learning Experience?
An accessible learning experience is a learning experience that matches the needs of the individual learner or the learners within a group. It should enable the learner (or learners) to achieve a learning goal, in their learning context.
To achieve an accessible experience, the first step is to obtain information about:
- the learning goal
- possible access needs
- how the open educational resources (OER) should address those needs to help the learner achieve the goal
The next step is then to adapt learning materials to meet those needs by doing one or more of the following:
- transform the resource (styling)
- augment the resource (adding video, captioning, alternative text)
- replace with another resource (matching the learner’s specific needs)
Since different learners will have different needs, goals and contexts, Lumen is investing in features that allow content to be transformed, augmented and replaced based on user needs.
Understanding the underlying principles to accessible learning content development are key to the thoughtful creation of accessible learning materials. Lumen adheres to the following accessibility principles set out by the W3C in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG).
- Perceivable. Content should be able to be heard, seen, or experienced either through the browser or assistive technologies.
- Operable. Interactions should be operable by everyone. Some ways to accomplish this are to provide clear, well organized headings, make text readable and understandable, and remove unnecessary complexity.
- Understandable. Content should be plain and clear to comprehend. Some ways to accomplish this are to provide clear, well organized headings, make text readable and understandable, and remove unnecessary complexity.
- Robust. Content should be accessible by a wide range of technologies, both old and new.
Ensuring accessibility is an ongoing endeavor that requires attention, understanding and responsiveness to learner needs. Accordingly, Lumen is investing in building accessibility into our general design, development and continuous improvement process in the following ways:
- Content and technology designers and developers are trained in accessibility.
- We increasingly conduct user research, co-creation and testing.
- Users who encounter accessibility challenges may contact email@example.com.
- Issues will be addressed and solutions will be communicated in a timely manner
Current Accessibility Status
Waymaker Content and Technology Components
Both Waymaker and Candela courses provide course content via the Lumen Platform and support for integrating courseware into educational institutions’ Learning Management Systems (LMSs) via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) Integration.
- Course content includes:
- Existing open educational resources (OER) that are brought into the Lumen platform and modified for accessibility as well as quality.
- Original content developed by Lumen and collaborators
- Links to external sources that cannot be modified due to copyright restrictions
- Lumen Platform is a WordPress-based platform
- LMSs are not provided by Lumen and are administered by educational institutions
Compliance with Accessibility Standards
Access is an important part of our purpose at Lumen—we can’t have the impact on learning results we seek if people don’t have access. Barriers to access may involve cost or design that isn’t inclusive. We care a lot about access, and we design our services to be inclusive for all.
Lumen regularly assesses our progress toward inclusiveness using the voluntary product accessibility template (“VPAT”). Our full accessibility statement as well as VPATs for our products can be found on our website here. The VPAT contains documentation on Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Success Criteria & Conformance Requirements (Levels A, AA).