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Most Accessibility Learning is Broken: Let's Fix It Together

taught by: Corbb O'Connor

Session Summary

Whether built internally or purchased externally, most accessibility training isn't resulting in behavior change. Adult learning theory tells us that adults learn best when we're engaged, surprised, guided, and measured.


Find Most Accessibility Learning is Broken: Let's Fix It Together on the Knowbility Learning Center

Our attention spans have precipitously dropped, now to as low as eight seconds. Statistically, only 28 percent of you will read this entire description and, for those who do, you'll forget nearly half of these words in 20 minutes.

The solution is to tackle training with an approach that incorporates the way adults learn best with modern learning methods that have proven to beat the "Forgetting Curve" and drive real behavior change in a way that isn't disruptive to your team members' day-to-day work.

Despite a record rise in lawsuits, many of which require companies to send their teams through training, WebAIM measured that the accessibility of the top million home pages increased by less than one-tenth of a percentage point.

Gamification and competition work to help my son get ready for bed quickly, and the strategies can work just as well with adults.

In addition, we need choice in how we learn. When content is presented in many formats — audio, video, tactile, and even movement — we'll naturally choose the ones that work best for us on that day. The one-size-fits-all method may work for neckties (well, does it really?) but it doesn't work for training; the days of bringing an entire team together to sit taking copious notes have been replaced by doing the same over Zoom; sure, it's cheaper…but we are learning even less. On the other hand, if we offer self-paced pre-learning, reinforce it with in-person activities, and follow it all up with micro-learning that's within reach for everyone, we can beat the forgetting curve.

As with so many discussions of accessibility, leaders want to know the return-on-investment of training. Most tools offer an assessment that learners take at the end of each course, but—as anyone who's heard Malcolm Gladwell's research about the law school entrance exam—multiple choice tests don't demonstrate someone's ability to implement what they've learned.

Join us for a lively discussion about the application of the latest research on adult learning to our work in accessibility that will result in real behavior change.

Practical Skills

  • Explain the principles of adult learning theory, including the forgetting curve.
  • With a small group, critique existing accessibility education through the lens of adult learning theory.
  • Together, generate hypotheses about the ROI of this new model of accessibility education.