About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2393-2402
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.1525

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain


L. Marco, S. López-Pernas, A. Alonso

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
E-Learning can be considered as a means to promote lifelong learning. As an enabler of sustainable economy and social cohesion, e-Learning is becoming a real solution to overcome physical distances and to make education more flexible and self-managed by students. Advances in communications and web technologies benefit the evolution of e-Learning and enable new educational paradigms. Nevertheless, technology often becomes a factor in social exclusion, making the gap wider between people who can and those who cannot access the digital services and information.

In this scenario, several initiatives propose accessibility guidelines and methods as a starting point for designing web services to overcome barriers. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines accessibility as “the universal access to the web, regardless of the type of hardware, software, network infrastructure, language, culture, geographic location and user capabilities”. When talking about web accessibility, it becomes necessary to take into account the differences between types of disabilities, the context conditions and limitations, and the principles that hold the web design for all. In the specific context of web-based e-Learning, the literature considers the following as the technical affordances for an inclusive environment: connectivity, intuition, diverse multimedia resources in proper working conditions, meeting accessibility requirements and responsive design.

This paper presents an accessibility review for web-based learning tools and materials. It starts with an overview of web content accessibility guidelines, with a special focus on the WCAG 2.1, a new version of the W3C recommendation that extends the previous guidelines (WCAG 2.0) to address accessibility of web content on different devices. Regarding methods of evaluating accessibility in web content, the document goes through the manual and automatic evaluation, placing emphasis on the most popular evaluation tools currently used. With regard to web-based learning tools, we analyse several inclusive learning studies, and highlight W3C Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) as a technical way to address the inclusion problem from the very outset. At this stage, we establish the difference between reactive and proactive methods for designing web applications, considering the former as a response once the application is ready and the latter as the inclusion of accessibility requirements from the design phase.

After the analysis, we conclude that nowadays the most common accessibility approaches for designing web-based learning tools are those whose methodological basis are grounded in reactive principles. As a consequence, the designed services and applications are not optimal with regard to web accessibility, increasing the aforementioned gap and social exclusion. Accordingly, it is necessary to move forward and propose solutions that contemplate inclusive design from the early stages of development.
author = {Marco, L. and L{\'{o}}pez-Pernas, S. and Alonso, A.},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.1525},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.1525},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {2393-2402}}
AU - L. Marco AU - S. López-Pernas AU - A. Alonso
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.1525
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 2393
EP - 2402
ER -
L. Marco, S. López-Pernas, A. Alonso (2018) ACCESSIBILITY REVIEW FOR WEB-BASED LEARNING TOOLS AND MATERIALS, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 2393-2402.