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Legislative context

Professor Hughes discusses the context of learning.
Black justice scales.
© University of Nottingham

According to Bower and Vlachopoulos (2018), learning design frameworks often lack a meaningful focus on the wider context of teaching and learning. This is a major shortcoming given the profound consequences that legal and regulatory requirements have on the practice of learning design.

In the case of accessibility, for example, as we saw last week, it is important to design experiences that are accessible and address the needs of learners with differing abilities. This is not just a moral imperative, but also a legal requirement as set out in national web accessibility legislation.

In the UK as well as many other national contexts, web accessibility law is based on the international standards outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). There are several versions of the guidelines each with levels of conformance that range from A to AAA. Currently, in most jurisdictions that have adopted them, organisations conform to either the 2.0 or 2.1 guidelines and are required to meet level AA criteria.

WCAG 2.1 is based on four principles:

  • the content and user interface must be ‘perceivable’
  • the functionality and navigation must be ‘operable’ i.e. usable
  • the content and interface must be ‘understandable’ for all users
  • the content must be ‘robust’ i.e. can be interpreted across a range of different assistive technologies.

Are you required to conform to legal requirements in the area of accessibility in your country? If so, what impact has it had on your design practice? If not, what steps do you take to ensure that your online content is accessible? Use ‘comments’ below to discuss.

© University of Nottingham
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