Assistive technology in eLearning platforms
An unpredictable pandemic led to a world shutdown. It had the worst impact on the education sector. After the pandemic, the use of eLearning platforms increased. This global industry has grown by 900% worldwide since its inception. In 2020–21, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.2 million. Thus, nearly 7.2 million students require assistive technologies to be integrated into available eLearning platforms. In order to be inclusive and provide equal learning opportunities for all, a learning management system (LMS) has certain features. Let’s take a look at what types of learning challenges children may encounter and how some features of LMS platforms can help overcome these challenges:
Students with hearing impairments find visual teaching styles beneficial. The video lecture that the eLearning platform offers with added features like captions/closed captions is a plus for these kids. Subtitles are an important tool to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing access media. With the use of AI technologies, even live sessions can be transcribed in real time in real time! The transcription/subtitling of video lectures, slides, PDF online books and other interactive content provided by the learning management system is very useful for students with special listening needs.
Students with disabilities such as dyslexia have trouble reading and writing coherently. Dyslexia is a learning disability that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Dyslexia, also called a reading disorder, affects the areas of the brain that process language. One of the great things about today’s technology is that it allows for more personalized learning experiences that help children who have dyslexia or other conditions that cause them to learn differently. For example, technology such as Dragon Speak helps dyslexic students “write” their work by voice, ensuring that their responses are not limited by their ability to spell. In addition, they can learn through audiobooks rather than slowly going through printed text.
Students with physical disabilities who require a typist, or students with writing disorders such as dysgraphia, require features to help them write. For students whose disabilities prevent them from using any kind of hand-held input device, speech-to-text technology has become a reliable alternative. LMS platforms that integrate voice-to-text devices help students write assessments or exams without the need for a recorder. And for students with writing disorders like dysgraphia, there is special software like Ginger which has several other features like word prediction, sentence rewording, TTS function and a personal trainer to avoid the mistakes you made before.
4. Students with visual challenges
Incorporating personalized computers for visually impaired students plays a vital role in providing quality education. For example, the BrailleNote Apex is a kind of computer for the visually impaired. It doesn’t have an LCD display, but there is a Braille display with raised buttons so readers can feel them. There is 8GB of internal memory, two USB ports, a card reader, a GPS receiver, a Wi-Fi router, etc. It has almost all the functions that an ordinary user uses, so it is an indispensable device for people with poor eyesight. Integrating learning management systems with such customized computers helps students with visual impairments get a quality education just like any other student.
5. Students with autism
Students with autism have difficulty concentrating. An autism-related case study found that wearing Google Glasses significantly helped autistic children understand other people’s moods. Additionally, eLearning platforms allow students to study at their own pace. This is a huge benefit for students with autism as they can study at their own time and pace.
Social and cultural barriers and unequal opportunities in access to quality education remain some of the most serious problems affecting national education policies. But with the help of eLearning platforms, one can achieve equality in education and provide quality education to all. For a socially responsible person, it is important to consider children with special educational needs when designing e-learning platforms and integrating assistive technologies. Because LMS platforms are flexible, it is very easy to incorporate tools that may be required to teach children with special educational needs.
Originally published on www.bsetec.com.