Accessibility in learning management systems

More and more teaching is taking place digitally, a development that has been accelerated by the pandemic. In Norway, the Discrimination and Accessibility Act has been tightened so that the education sector is also covered. This means, among other things, that both customers and suppliers of learning management systems need to focus on accessibility. Funka contributes to increased knowledge and awareness through a new research project.

In the project, we will investigate and map potential shortcomings in existing learning management systems, provide support for better procurement and further development. The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Families, BufDir, is funding the project.

Several surveys show a lack of accessibility in Norwegian school environments. Digitization provides new opportunities for both teachers and students, but it also places demands on end users. If the learning management systems are not accessible, they risk becoming a barrier. When this happens, digitalisation tend to lead to special solutions for certain groups of students, which is often both expensive and stigmatizing.

With this project, we want to contribute to the learning management systems becoming a technology that everyone can benefit from, says Saja Andersson, who is managing the project. I can not imagine anything more important than all children getting the same opportunities in school.

Within the project, we have mapped the Norwegian market for learning management systems to prioritize those that are most in use. We have ongoing contact with suppliers and schools and right now we are developing a test methodology that is suitable for the systems. In the next phase, we will audit and test how well the systems meet accessibility requirements and document the results.

The project will result in a comprehensive report that presents how well the various platforms meet the requirements for accessibility on an overall level. The report will be published online and presented at conferences and seminars. In addition to the overall report, each learning management system that we have tested will receive a detailed checklist of deficiencies, which provides opportunities to address them and increase the accessibility of the systems.

Financing: The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Families, BufDir
Project period: 2020
Budget: 40 000 EURO