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  • Welcome to ATD Intensive: Accessible Learning Design
  • Sarah Mercier & Diane Elkins
    Removing Barriers to Learning
    Is there a big, hidden if in your training offerings? You can take this e-learning . . . if you can use a mouse. You’ll learn great things from this PowerPoint presentation . . . if you can read aqua text on a white background. You’ll get a lot out of this webinar . . . if you can hear. As learning designers and developers, we can take active steps to avoid excluding learners in our audience who may be unable to access our content. Despite what some people think, designing accessible learning for individuals with disabilities doesn’t have to be confusing or intimidating! It starts with knowing what barriers can prevent parts of your audience from accessing your learning content. And more importantly—what you can do to break down those barriers.

    In this session, you will:
    • Discover how common design decisions can have unintended consequences for many individuals.
    • Explore real examples and practical ways to begin removing barriers from your training.
    • Address myths and misconceptions about accessibility.
  • Judy Katz Headshot
    Judy Katz
    Designing for Neurodiversity
    There’s no question that the explosion of commitment to accessibility is a positive...but accessibility goes far beyond 508 or WCAG standards. In this session, we’ll examine some of the challenges of being a neurodivergent learner, focusing on autistic and ADHD perspectives. We’ll explore different options for learning events, solutions, and materials. And, we’ll explore what impact designing for neurodivergence can have on neurotypical learners and those with other disabilities. Neurodiversity is a complex topic with many nuanced perspectives. We invite everyone to come with an open mind to learn about authentic experiences from inside the neurodivergent community.

    In this session, you will:
    • Identify how your organization’s choices positively and negatively affect neurodivergent learners.
    • Strategize tactical and strategic improvements you can make to improve accessibility for all brains and all learners.
  • Thomas Reid Headshot
    Thomas Reid
    Getting Started with Audio Description
    Now that you have identified a missing component to ensuring your content is accessible to those who are Blind or have low vision, how exactly do you proceed with the implementation of audio description (AD)? First, we’ll examine: what exactly is audio description and why is it important? Then, we’ll break down potential fears and hesitations about AD as we explore both the art and science of what makes up good, quality AD.
    Take part in hands on examples geared to help you begin describing what you see and encouraging you to go beyond subjectivity. Participants will also receive multiple resources to help further their understanding of audio description and confidently move forward with its implementation.

    In this session you will:
    • Identify the broader implications of audio description going beyond access.
    • Practice applying the elements required to producing quality audio description that best serves the audience.
    • Create audio descriptions with practice material geared to help you begin putting words to your visual media.
  • Doug Harriman Headshot
    Doug Harriman
    Color and Form
    No, this isn’t a session on postmodern art, as fun as that would be. Rather, we’ll explore the equally interesting accessibility considerations involved in using color and designing layouts, so you can indulge your creativity while keeping things accessible to all. Topics will range from color contrast and communicating with color to the many benefits of headings and how to use them appropriately, making things easier to read for all audiences, and using titles to help contextualize digital environments. Along the way, we’ll practice using contrast checkers to evaluate color pairings, crafting and correcting heading hierarchies, and designing content to be more easily digestible.

    In this session, you will:
    • Evaluate and choose color pairings for their compliance with WCAG contrast standards, and utilize color in tandem with something else (text or icons, for example) that communicates the same message.
    • Create layouts that utilize space, structure, and other properties to maximize legibility and readability for universal audiences, while accomplishing other learning and design goals.
    • Use titles and headings to provide context, communicate applicable relationships, and aid in navigation.
  • Sarah Mercier Headshot
    Sarah Mercier
    Community Reflection Activity and Wrap Up
    As we conclude the first day, join this collaborative community reflection activity and wrap-up session. We’ll reflect on the insights gained from the day’s topics, share experiences, and solidify our understanding of accessible learning design principles. During this session, the speaker will create a safe and inclusive space for you to engage in open dialogue and reflect on the day’s learning journey. We’ll revisit the core themes covered in the sessions about removing barriers to learning, designing for neurodiverse learners, accessible video and visuals, and color contrast and layout considerations. Through thoughtful discussions and shared experiences, we’ll celebrate our progress and set the stage for the upcoming sessions.

    In this session, you will:
    • Engage in a collective reflection on the day’s sessions to reinforce learning and insights.
    • Share experiences and challenges in a supportive environment.
    • Plan to implement key takeaways from the day’s topics.
  • Welcome Back!
  • Mary Henry Lightfoot Headshot
    Mary Henry Lightfoot
    Making Audio Accessible: Closed Captions, Sign Language Interpretation, & Transcripts
    Do your training programs include accessible audio content for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals? How might you assess technical needs for accessible audio content? Why is this important to consider? Join this session to discuss three important aspects when designing learning. We will explore the use of sign language interpreters, closed captions, and transcriptions as three accessibility features. At the end of the session, you will be able to incorporate at least one component associated with each of the three aspects within your work.

    In this session, you will:
    • Identify three concepts related to using a sign language interpreter within synchronous and asynchronous materials.
    • Apply three principles of producing accurate closed captioning.
    • Incorporate one technique to produce accurate transcriptions for audio material.
  • Belo Cipriani Headshot
    Belo Miguel Cipriani
    Design With Assistive Technologies in Mind
    Did you know that even if your training program passes accessibility scans, it may not be accessible to learners who use assistive technology? In this session, you’ll discover how assistive technologies work with live demos of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and speech-to-text tools. We’ll discuss some of the most common assistive technologies and differentiate between novice and advanced assistive technology users. This will enhance your ability to make better design decisions. By making a few alterations to your content, you can better support assistive tech users—no matter their level of proficiency.

    In this session, you will:
    • Navigate content with a screen reader.
    • Differentiate between the needs of novice assistive tech users and specialized assistive tech users.
    • Practice writing navigational copy for screen readers.
  • Diane Elkins Headshot
    Diane Elkins
    Best Practices for Alt Text and Focus Order
    For learners navigating your content with a keyboard (versus a mouse) or with a screen reader, logical order matters much more. You wouldn’t want instructions to come after an activity or the Submit button to come before a question. In this session, you’ll learn how to make your content easier to navigate by structuring everything logically behind the scenes. And while screen readers can announce on-the-page text such as headings, paragraphs, and text buttons, they can’t (at least not yet) announce the contents of images. In this session, you’ll also learn how to add meaningful descriptions to graphics that screen readers can pick up and announce to the learner. Nobody wants their time wasted. That’s why we’ll also cover which graphics are purely decorative and should be removed from the focus order completely.

    In this session, you will:
    • Write helpful alt text that supports learning for learners who can’t see your images.
    • Distinguish between decorative and informative graphics.
    • Arrange content in a logical order for screen-reader users and keyboard-only learners.
  • Diane Elkins Headshot
    Diane Elkins
    Practice Lab: Focus Order and Alt Text
    When managing focus order and alt text, some decisions are easier than others: a blue square behind some text is purely decorative; a company’s logo requires simple alt text. But many of the decisions you must make are more nuanced: Should you describe the race, age, and gender of a person in an image? How much detail do you need to share about a graph?

    In this session, you will:
    · Practice making these decisions yourself.
    · Gain confidence that your choices will provide real value to people using assistive technology.
  • Sarah Mercier Headshot
    Sarah Mercier
    Community Reflection: Troubleshooting Q's and Setting Goals
    Join this wrap-up session focused on troubleshooting common accessibility challenges and setting actionable goals. Building on the insights gained from earlier sessions, this session will equip you with practical strategies to overcome hurdles and enhance the inclusivity of your learning materials. We’ll revisit the key concepts covered throughout the day and explore their practical applications. By reflecting on the sessions covering audio considerations, alt text and focus order, and designing for assistive technologies, we’ll identify potential challenges that could affect the accessibility of your design projects. With a focus on troubleshooting, we’ll collaboratively develop solutions to ensure your materials are accessible to all learners.

    In this session, you will:
    • Identify potential challenges that could affect the accessibility of your design projects.
    • Engage in discussions to set actionable goals for integrating accessibility features into your design practices.
    • Create a personalized action plan to enhance the accessibility of your future projects.
  • Welcome Back!
  • Suzanne Ehrlich & Michelle Bartlett
    Redesign In-Person Learning Experiences
    As more organizations revisit in-person physical spaces as places of learning, we have an opportunity to redesign these spaces to maximize learning engagement for all participants. This session will provide a tiered approach to rethinking learning spaces, from technology to people and everything in between. We’ll explore the importance of accessibility in training materials, how to optimize the physical learning environment, and how to enhance presentation techniques for in-person learning. You’ll participate in three activities around training materials, environmental considerations, and language considerations for diverse in-person audiences. The speakers will also provide a list of resources, including articles, websites, research papers, books, and multimedia content, that have been carefully selected to help you continue your journey of creating inclusive learning environments beyond this session.

    In this session, you will:
    • Evaluate what criteria to include when designing accessible training materials.
    • Identify successful strategies for creating accessible environments and physical spaces.
    • Distinguish inclusive language tactics based on group size and the formality of the interactions.
  • Gwen Navarrete Klapperich Headshot
    Gwen Navarrete Klapperich
    Design and Deliver Accessible Virtual Instructor-Led Training
    When we think about accessibility, we often think of Section 508, WCAG, and other required compliance measures for asynchronous e-learning environments. But accessibility and inclusion should be addressed in all forms of learning, including virtual instructor-led training (VILT). In this session, we will explore ways to make VILT accessible and inclusive for as many learners as possible. We will discuss the importance of providing options for participant engagement, how to ensure accessibility through activities and breakout sessions, and the process of determining participants’ accommodation needs.

    In this session, you will:
    • Identify and address possible accessibility challenges in VILT.
    • Develop a process to determine and implement needed accommodations for accessibility.
    • Discover accessible tools that can be used for collaboration and interactivity.
  • Belo Cipriani Headshot
    Belo Miguel Cipriani
    Create Accessibility Testing for Your Training Content
    Automated accessibility testing only catches about 30 percent of access issues on average. Learning to perform manual testing allows designers to deliver more accessible training materials. In this session, you’ll be empowered to go beyond the limitations of accessibility checkers as you learn how to create testing personas and how to write for them. You’ll also learn how to work with the existing tools you already have and simulate tests to audit the accessibility of your content and training materials. If you’re intimidated or don’t know where to start with an accessibility testing process, the speaker will demonstrate how anyone can do this with tools you already have.

    In this session, you will:
    • Discover how to optimize your existing testing tools.
    • Identify how to form testing groups.
    • Write assistive tech user scripts to test for different accessibility personas.
  • Haley Shust Headshot
    Haley Shust
    Championing Accessibility: Overcome Obstacles and Build Support
    For most organizations, an accessible learning ecosystem is a goal. For leaders, it’s an expectation. For learners with disabilities, it’s a necessity. But is it a reality? In this session, we’ll start by examining accessibility maturity models. You’ll assess your own organization and identify efforts to champion. We’ll discuss common obstacles and then determine techniques to overcome them. The session will be rich with storytelling, collaboration, and discussion. No matter your industry, role, or experience, you can (and should) champion accessibility. There will certainly be obstacles, but it’s worth the effort. Everyone deserves meaningful learning experiences. Wouldn’t you agree?

    In this session, you will:
    • Identify hurdles that organizations encounter when striving for accessible learning experiences.
    • Explore strategies for obtaining stakeholder support to champion accessibility.
    • Assess your organization’s learning ecosystem to determine its commitment to accessible practices.
  • Meryl Evans Headshot
    Meryl Evans
    Taking the “Progress Over Perfection” Approach to Your Next Steps
    You’ve attended all the sessions. You have pages of notes. Now, you’re at the last one wondering, “What’s next?!” This session will help you determine what to do next. The process of starting or moving forward with accessibility can be daunting. In the context of accessibility and disability inclusion, the “"progress over perfection” approach can help you move forward without feeling overwhelmed. This approach promotes a more positive and productive dialogue around accessibility and disability inclusion.

    In this session, you will:
    • Understand the “progress over perfection” approach as it applies to accessibility.
    • Learn how to use the TEACH method to encourage change.
    • Start practicing how to apply progress over perfection in your work and communication.