Design for accessibility first – or else

Francis Kneebone, eWorks Accredited Consultant and accessibility advocate

eWorks’ Accredited Consultants are training, learning and development specialists. The Consultant Program allows us to work with industry thought leaders to champion our award-winning learning solutions. Let’s meet Francis Kneebone, eWorks Accredited Consultant and an accessibility advocate.

Why design for accessibility?

Design for accessibility first. It’s far too important to ignore and too hard to add on later. An accessibility-first approach also makes sense from a design perspective. The best way to make an educational video is to write a script, which can then be used as your plain-text alternative. It is the same when you write text content for a course – it would be bad practice to write your first copy in Authorware; it’s a better idea to make a plain-text version first. So when creating a digital object from scratch, your early output should include:

  • plain text
  • heading hierarchy
  • labelled images
  • transcripts for videos or animations
  • colour schemes and more.

A better experience for everyone

Accessibility in e-learning can sometimes become all about meeting government requirements or ticking off on web standards. It should really be about ensuring a better user experience, for everyone. If you want best practice in accessible e-learning, work with your learner group to go beyond the standard to improve your user experience. This will mean talking to your learners and asking them what could make their experience better. Standards are one measure, but mix this with the feedback from your learners and you’ll be on your way to approaching accessible products. And that means happier users in general.

Find out more

Not convinced? Or maybe you feel as strongly about all of this as I do? Either way, read more on the BlendEd website.

Want to become an accredited consultant for eWorks? The Accredited Consultant Program offers everything a consultant needs to start delivering eWorks’ e-learning solutions. Comprehensive training is provided, together with full ‘eWorks Accredited’ branding.

Learning culture, 70:20:10 and digital transformations

Darcy Nicolson talking with an attendee at the Learning@Work conference

This year was the first year that eWorks both attended and sponsored the Learning@Work conference in Sydney in October 2014. We take conference sponsorship pretty seriously here at eWorks, as we feel that it is important to support events that promote the latest strategies, developments and technologies underpinning training. But eWorks consists of a bunch of e-learning experts – so why bother with a learning and development conference?

What is Learning@Work?

Learning@Work is Australia’s largest independently organised L&D conference and Australia’s only L&D trade show focused exclusively on technology for L&D Managers. The event brings together learning and development (L&D) directors and practitioners, human resource (HR) directors and practitioners, training providers and recruitment companies.

The agenda this year followed a number of important themes, including how social media and mobile learning will accelerate workplace learning and development. It also offered L&D and HR professionals an ideal platform to discuss the growing role of technology to transform the workplace.

Main topics covered were:

  • Building a learning culture
  • 70:20:10 and beyond
  • Collaboration and learning with social media
  • m-learning
  • Getting into the mind of the working learner.

What did eWorks’ staff say about the event?

“It was great talking with the Learning@work crowd, hearing their excitement about new technologies and processes that will underlie future training projects,” says Darcy Nicolson, e-learning consultant at eWorks.

MOOCs were again a hot topic, as was gamification, and the discussions we had at the eWorks stand centred around how to apply these theories to learning program design,” says Darcy.

Why did eWorks sponsor an L&D conference?

Back now to that question of why we sponsored the event. Well first of all, we’re all about making learning easier, more convenient and more efficient through technology – both for the learner and the organisation delivering the training.

Secondly, we’re not just technology experts who sit around talking about the latest developments in digital learning systems. We have really cool solutions to help you get started. We even develop your online content. Here is a bit of a spiel but in fact we offer a flexible solution (TVC Enterprise) specifically designed for learning and development management, like:

  • Individual learning plans to reflect employee roles, training needs and objectives
  • Compliance and assessment management plus business analytics and reporting
  • Facilities to track on-the-job training, guide development and assess progress towards career and company goals.

See you at Learning@Work next year. In the meantime, if you have any questions about digital learning management, do get in touch.

NVET 2014 – Making the impossible possible

Darcy at NVET 2014

Way back in September (how time flies!), three eWorks staff members set off for sunny Brisvegas to attend the 2014 National VET Conference. The theme for this year’s event was Impossible is Possible Together, encouraging all attendees, delegates, presenters and sponsors to consider:

  • the huge range of resources that is available to the VET sector,
  • upcoming changes in the VET sector and how to engage with each other to embrace these changes.

The Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, was a keynote speaker at the 2014 National VET Conference, where he addressed the future of the VET sector. He discussed the Australian Government’s plans to revamp the training system, suggesting that the proposed reforms are designed to elevate trades and vocational education to the centre of Australia’s economy.

There was a huge amount of excited energy throughout the two days in Brisbane, as you would expect when so many passionate VET practitioners come together. It’s tough to choose the highlight of the event – excellent speakers and workshops, or perhaps the masquerade ball! But this is definitely one to mark in the calendar for next year.

“We had such a great time at NVET this year”, says Darcy Nicolson, E-learning Consultant at eWorks.

“The feedback from people accessing ready-made content through VET Commons was incredible. It is so rewarding to hear that the work we’re doing is actually making life easier for busy VET practitioners”, says Darcy.

Register today to access high-quality, easy-to-use, free content from VET Commons.

Thinking outside the box ­- 70:20:10 and sunny days

Kylie McKeon, eWorks Accredited Consultant

eWorks’ Accredited Consultants are training, learning and development specialists that eWorks has selected to champion its learning solutions. These authorised agents have been chosen for their field and industry expertise, and work closely with eWorks to deliver high-quality e-learning solutions across Australia. Meet Accredited Consultant Kylie McKeon – a lover of the outdoors, the 70:20:10 framework, and everything e-learning.

Spring is here….well sort of in Melbourne, but there have certainly been some days when I’ve looked out the window from the training room and thought “If only we could do this training outside!”. How many times have you had that same thought? Or if you’re not a trainer, you may have wanted to take your work outside. With the adoption of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the implementation of more contemporary e-learning delivery, educators, trainers and students can now do exactly that this Spring and Summer – spend more time outside while still building knowledge and skills.

As an eWorks Accredited Consultant, I’ve recently had the pleasure of discussing with eWorks the better use of tools in blended deliveries. I have also discovered many new and exciting technology advances that have taken place in e-learning. I’m now more excited than ever about working with organisations to help explore and expand their paradigms regarding their training delivery options.

I’m a big believer in the 70:20:10 framework credited to McCall, Lombardo and Eichinger. The application of 70:20:10 in the learning and development arena can help organisations and learning and development professionals to plan improved learning strategies for an organisation by using tools that provide opportunities for more than just the traditional workshop sessions.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the 70:20:10 framework and how e-learning and social media can play an important part in the learning and performance solution. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to ask any queries that you might have, share your ideas, or just to have a chat. If at all possible I’ll be on my mobile device enjoying the sunshine…

Want to become an accredited consultant for eWorks? The Accredited Consultant Program offers everything a consultant needs to start delivering eWorks’ e-learning solutions. Comprehensive training is provided, together with full ‘eWorks Accredited’ branding.