E-learning and accessibility: an exploration of the potential role of generic pedagogical tools

Seale, Jane and Cooper, Martyn (2010). E-learning and accessibility: an exploration of the potential role of generic pedagogical tools. Computers and Education, 54(4) pp. 1107–1116.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2009.10.017


This paper reviews a range of accessibility tools and evaluates how successful they have been in helping teachers in higher education and further education develop accessible e-learning materials and activities for disabled learners. It is argued that these accessibility specific tools have had limited success to date, and that there may therefore be value in exploring the potential role that more general pedagogic tools might play in the development of accessible e-learning and accessibility practices. Two examples of general pedagogic tools, learning theories and learning design tools, are assessed for the extent to which they raise awareness of an association between accessibility and pedagogy; highlight potential barriers to and facilitators of accessible e-learning and offer methods and approaches for developing accessible e-learning. This assessment suggests that the general pedagogical tools will have a limited or abstract influence on the development of accessible e-learning, but that this influence could be potentially increased by 'blending' the use of specific accessibility tools with the use of more general pedagogical tools. The success of a blended approach to designing and developing accessible e-learning will depend on a number of factors, including teacher and learner agency. Nevertheless such an approach could be significant in terms of seeking to make accessibility as much a pedagogical issue as it is a technical one.

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