How Can We Improve Accessibility with AI? With Michael Vaughn

Michael Vaughn
AI in Education Leaderboard Post Page
Ai In Education Square Post Page

--- Advertisement ---

Hello everyone! My name is Ladek and my guest for this episode is Michael Vaughn, an Adoption and Education Specialist at Open LMS. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Michael helps LMS administrators and instructional designers effectively leverage learning tools and platforms.

In this very ‘accessible’ conversation Michael Vaughn and Stephen Ladek talk about

00:00 › Start

8:38 › Why Accessibility—Why does it matter across all learners and educational experiences?

17:26 › 99% Invisible—How can improving accessibility help address needs that a majority of learners don’t even know they have? (Including YOU)

27:02 › ∆I—How can Artificial Intelligence be a game changer in improving accessibility in learning?

32:41 › Tools of Today—What services or apps exist today to create efficiencies for people or organizations that create learning?

36:39 › Remaining Tasks—What are those challenges and gaps and considerations around AI that we need to address around data privacy, ethics and other current topics?


Click to expand\collapse

This is the eLearn podcast. If you’re passionate about the future of learning, you’re in the right place. The expert guests on this show provide insights into the latest strategies, practices,

and technologies for creating killer online learning outcomes. My name’s Ladek, and I’m your host from Open LMS. The eLearn podcast is sponsored by eLearn Magazine,

your go -to resource for all things online learning. Click -by -click how -to articles, the latest in EdTech, spotlights on successful outcomes and trends in the marketplace. Subscribe today and never miss a post at eLearnMagazine .com and Open LMS,

a company leveraging open -source software to deliver effective, customized, and engaging learning experiences for schools, universities, companies, and governments around the world since 2005.

Learn more at Open LMS .net Hello everyone, my name’s Ladek, and my guest for this episode is Michael Vaughn, who’s an adoption and education specialist at Open LMS.

With over 15 years of experience in the field, Michael helps LMS administrators and instructional designers effectively leverage learning tools and platforms. In this very accessible conversation,

Michael and I talk about why accessibility is incredibly important in education in general. And then we move on to talk about how can improving accessibility actually help to address the needs that 99 % of learners don’t even know they have.

Next, Michael and I talk about how artificial intelligence can be a game changer in improving accessibility and learning today, and then we talk about what services or apps exist today to create efficiencies for people or organizations that are creating learning today to make more accessible learning.

And then finally, as we always do, I ask Michael about what are those challenges and gaps and considerations around AI that we need to address around data privacy or ethics and other current topics that are extremely important to make sure that we get this right.

And remember, we record this podcast live so that we can interact with you, our listeners in real time. So if you’d like to join the fund every week on LinkedIn, on Facebook or on YouTube, just come over to elearnmagazine .com and subscribe.

Now, I give you Michael. Hello, everyone. Welcome to the elearn podcast. I join us to, you know, take the time to listen to us and talk about what is a,

I think, going to be a super critical conversation for at least the foreseeable future for the next several years, which is talking about accessibility in, you know, the age of AI and the age of artificial intelligence,

things like chat GPT, things like Bard, things like, you know, that are disrupting the education space. But I’m not the expert that’s going to be talking about that today. Today,

the expert is Michael Vaughn, who is one of my colleagues here actually at Open LMS. How are you today, Michael? I will admit, I am a little under the weather, so I hope you all can be patient with me until my voice is a little rougher around the edges,

but just working through a science infection. We had a nice three week string of no sickness in the house. And then, you know, it’s just when you have a kid in school, it’s you can’t avoid it.

You can’t avoid it. I know everybody knows you. Yeah, I’ve got three of them. So, yeah, it’s just it’s just the way it is. That’s parent. I do have my T. So I’m in pretty good shape there. Fantastic.

Michael, where do we find you sitting? It looks like it’s gorgeous day. Oh, yeah, I’m over in North Carolina right now. We’ve got a really nice week lined up. So I don’t know if there are any folks internationally joining us.

So apologies for giving the weather in Fahrenheit. But yeah, it’s like mid 60s, mid 40s all week, like that’s our temperature range. So it’s nice and cool in the morning throughout the day. It’s like,

get those beautiful suns just really temperate. So can open up the windows, sit outside, work a little bit. It’s really nice. Love it. It sounds like, you know, beautiful. I love I love a crisp morning.

That’s the way it should be for sure. And as I do, you know, as I like to everybody who comes on the podcast, I want to I want to give you the opportunity to take, you know, the 60 seconds to just introduce yourself.

Like what do you do for open LMS? What’s your focus? And I think I need to encourage you to just flex a little bit that you’re quickly becoming one of our voices around AI and education too.

– Yeah, thanks so much for the opportunity. So at Open LMS, I’m an adoption education specialist, which means that I get to do some cool things like building and leading our academy training courses,

just academy .Open LMS .net. We actually have a course coming up in the beginning at June that we’re launching about how to use ChatGPT to, if you’re a learning and development specialist.

So using AI and ChatGPT powered tools to build courses, build training programs, how you might incorporate into your workflows. So we’re really excited about that. And I’ve been working in instructional technology,

working with the Moodle LMS for, gosh, almost 15 years. At this point, a lot of my experience was in higher ed. I worked at a really large community college, worked at a really large state school,

worked at a small private liberal arts university. So it’s kind of like higher ed, bingo. And then I joined Open LMS. So I’ve had a chance to run the gamut of the educational technology industry and learn a lot along the way.

So I do have quite a few individual passions within education, but one of those is accessibility and another is inclusion. So I was really gifted with a really wonderful opportunity several years ago to be a part of the advisory board for the Realize grant at Redford University.

The goal was to improve inclusivity and diversity within their science programs. So it was a multi -million dollar grant funded by the Howard Hughes Foundation. And it was a really wonderful program to be involved in.

They’re doing incredible work up there at Redford University. I’ve also really cared about accessibility for a long time, done some presenting on that. I look at it more as a systemic issue rather than a personal responsibility issue.

A lot of times we say like, “Oh, you didn’t put captions on your video. “That’s the instructor’s fault.” I’m like, if we don’t provide helpful workflows for our instructors to be able to work that into ways already a really valuable resource,

which is their time to stretch really thin, then can we really be surprised when captions don’t show up on videos, alt text doesn’t show up on images, when we’re not providing proper course design that helps someone who maybe needs a keyboard to navigate because they cannot use a mouse.

So I’m very big on what are the workflows that we can use so that when we’re building content from scratch, we’re actually preemptively apologies. We’re preemptively avoiding those issues.

The metaphor I sometimes use is like, you see those aprons on sidewalks to help folks get down to the street if they’re like crossing the street, whatnot. If you don’t build one of those to begin with,

then what you have to do is you’re going to have to come back later and rip up that entire part of sidewalk, and then build it all over again. And the same thing sort of happens in education from time to time. We’re not building in those workflows to account for accessibility and inclusivity right off the bat.

As we’re building, we are going to have to come back later and do even more work to update and revise and fix that content so that it is. So I’m always really interested in how can we just do it to begin with,

right? How do we make that easier? People are more likely to do it to begin with. And those are just some pet passions of mine. I’m going to plug our session just real quick.

I promise. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. So we’re going to be doing a session for Global Accessibility Day on May 18th. This is a global event for us. So we are going to have four different sessions running almost concurrently.

There’ll be a 12 or one per the local time. So we’re going to have one that’s like over in the Australia, Asia region. I know we’ll have one that’s delivered entirely in Spanish.

We’ll have one for the US audience, one for the European audience. So it really everybody’s covered in there. I don’t know if I could paste the link into the chat here if I need to go over to LinkedIn to do it.

But I’ll go ahead and leave a little comment under your post in there and hopefully folks will see that. If you put it in the comments there,

it should go out to the universe there. But like it’s a little reply to the comment that you had left under the event and hope that that will go ahead and do the trick. But yeah, really excited for that.

We have to do it annually and this year is gonna focus on what we’re talking about today, which is how are we going to use AI, how are we going to use things like chat GPT to improve accessibility and inclusivity when we’re building courses,

when we’re building content, what we’re teaching, and when we hope others are learning. Absolutely, yeah. And I’m you know, I’m happy you stole my thunder. That’s exactly what I was gonna say.

So just to remind everyone, May 18th we’re having our Global Accessibility Day celebration, really, at the end of the day. It’s you know, it’s a focused moment to think about this issue.

And that’s why I thought, you know, first to sort of talk about the issue and set the set the table, so to speak, around what what’s important about accessibility and why is it an important topic,

but then move our conversation into how our artificial intelligence tools and opportunities and you know, the thought, you know,

gonna be reshaping or maybe making that easier, maybe making it more efficient, maybe just sort of changing the game entirely for this particular issue going forward in the you know,

in the years to come. So why don’t we start there. I love your analogy around the sidewalk, right? I think if you’re in the United States,

everybody knows what these are. You absolutely see it in in Europe. Obviously, you definitely know what it is in some other parts of the world, maybe not so much, but why is accessibility important in education?

Let’s set the stage there. And then you have a wonderful way of doing this as well about, this isn’t just about somebody who really doesn’t necessarily,

can’t come to the table in the same way as everybody else. Or the thing I always, I find fascinating, the more I’ve learned about accessibility is that we all have our own personal needs,

right? Inaccessibility. And it’s something that is applicable to essentially everyone. And so let me stop there before I start sounding like a fool.

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the most important things coming into this conversation, you know, the example I would give, there’s this really wonderful show called Grand Designs.

And I don’t know if anyone’s had a chance to see it, but if you haven’t, please do track it down. It’s literally about this designer named Kevin MacLeod. And what he does is he goes around and he visits people who are building their own homes.

Like they’re not necessarily working with contractors, they’re just going to build it themselves. And he’ll show up in like February and say, when do you expect to be done? And they’ll say by Christmas and he’ll say by what year. And it’s just,

it’s a genuinely interesting show. But one of the episodes that really stuck out to me was a gentleman who has been a paraplegic since the 80s. He used to have full faculty. He used to be able to,

to fully move his body. Like he used to be able to walk and run. I think he was an athlete if I recall correctly, and was in an accident paralyzed from the waist down and lived at home where the kitchen didn’t really work for him.

Like if he was making pasta on the stove, he had to grab the pot and roll in his wheelchair across the kitchen to the sink, which is very dangerous. Like you have near boiling hot water there. He like the bedrooms were upstairs where his daughters slept.

And you know, if they were sick, he couldn’t go up and take care of them. If they were hurt, he couldn’t go up and make sure that they were all right. So he spent this entire time building his home that was accessible to him.

I think he said something really important in the episode though, all paraphrase, which is, you know, it’s not that his disability keeps him from the environment.

It’s the environment that keeps him out. And once he finally had a home that worked for him that was built around what he needed,

everything started to work a lot better. Like he actually had an elevator in the new home. So he could go to any floor of his home and check in on his daughters and check in on his partner. The kitchen was completely built up differently.

There were even like little handrails around the counter. So he could pull himself along if he needed to. And, you know, I think that’s the really important lesson. Like when we talk about accessibility,

it’s not that we need to make space for folks. It’s that space, these spaces are deliberately exclusionary. Like we are leaving people out by not considering what they need. And A,

just from a moral perspective, like, you know, I hate to be so base about it, but that sucks. Like that sucks to just leave people out like that. And, you know,

I hate to pass moral judgment, but it really is bothersome when people don’t think to accommodate like all the different types of learners that might be popping up in your learning environments.

But to extend that a bit, there’s a huge benefit to putting in the time and effort to making sure that content is inclusive, that content is accessible. The one example I love to give is,

you know, it certainly will not provide transcripts and captions for video and audio. And the most obvious example that is of someone is hard of hearing or deaf, then having a transcript and captions is incredibly valuable,

right? Having that available for those learners is incredibly valuable. But really obvious visible disabilities and impairments only make up about, I think, 9 % of all impairments registered disabilities in the US.

US. The vast majority are invisible. They are not easy to observe. They are not easy to know that they exist. If you are a typically abled person and someone else is struggling with something like IBD and irritable bowel disease as an example,

you won’t know until they disclose that. So you have, it’s not like you can look at someone in wheelchair and be like, okay, they have a mobility impairment or you see a hearing aid and you realize, okay,

they have a hearing impairment. They might have a cane or a guide animal. It’s like, okay, they probably have a visual impairment. But a lot of these things you can’t see. So when we’re providing transcripts and captions,

obviously that helps folks who are deaf or hard of hearing. But it also helps folks who have learning impairments. ADHD is one of the most commonly accommodated impairments in higher ed.

So when students register with their disability services office or accessibility services office, wherever it’s called at your college or university, those accommodations are some of the most common accommodations that you will see nationally in the US.

And most of the folks who are diagnosed with ADHD or ADHD, it’s just officially ADHD at this point, also have significant comorbidities, which means they’re usually diagnosed with multiple learning impairments and not just ADHD.

A really common one is an auditory processing disorder. It’s really hard to explain, but it’s sort of like, if you know someone with ADHD, they probably prefer watching the TV with captions on.

And because sometimes the sound just doesn’t process properly as the brain’s taking it in. So having those captions available, having those transcripts available, certainly it befits someone who can’t hear very well,

but it also befits folks with auditory processing disorders who are probably much more likely to end up in your class at some point. If we think about the goal of education, the goal of education is for your students to learn.

And all it takes is like these simple extra steps that are becoming easier and easier thanks to AI and tools like that to be able to build in those experiences,

build in those accommodations in a way that overall improves the content in your course dramatically. – Hi there. I’m sorry to break into the show right now, but if you’re enjoying this show, if you are challenged,

if you’re inspired, if you’re learning something, if you think that you’re gonna be able to get something out of this to put into your practice, do me a quick favor, pause right now and just hit subscribe on your podcast player right now. It doesn’t matter which one,

just hit subscribe because that way it’ll make sure that you never miss an episode in the future. Thanks. Now, back to the show. – Thank you. – Can I? – Yeah, can I? – I can probably talk about that forever, but I’ll take a pause there.

– No, no, I wanna jump in there because what I know happens as, you know, now that we’ve done this, at least I’ve been a part of the company now for almost three years and we’ve done this,

this will be my third accessibility day. I love that the layers that are peeled off this topic for me that have been peeled off this for me,

the thing I specifically wanna point out is like, you kind of threw some percentages out there, you know, like seven, eight percent of people have an actual learning disability or maybe are actually impaired in some way that we can physically see and really readily,

you know, notice. And for the typical person, I’m just gonna call it out. For the typical quote unquote able -bodied person, they’re like, you know, I wanna, you know,

I’m really looking for solutions that, you know, that are interested in that other 95%, you know, like I went to Big Bang, I’m looking for the unicorn, I’m looking for the thing that’s gonna scale and, you know, and those kinds of things.

And I want you to help me make this case here, but I’m thinking about, you know, the college student who has to commute home and is going to,

you know, totally fine, can do class whatever way they want, but they’re gonna watch the lecture on their mobile device, right? And they’re not gonna be able to listen to it. The transcripts are really important, right?

In that particular environment. Or, you know, you are a, you know, you’re somebody who’s a construction worker, you’re somebody who’s working, you know, manual labor, that kind of thing. thing. And you, you know, you want to be able to take that again, you’re in an environment maybe regularly where you don’t have this nice little office where you can sit and,

you know, click and take, like, so you’re going to have to find other ways to do the lesson and have it delivered to you. And so thinking about different ways that we provide that information, so it is absorbed in,

you know, or we can absorb it in a different way, auditorily, visually, sensorially, those kinds of things, it applies to the 99%, right? Not necessarily just this seven to eight,

whatever percent that you mentioned earlier. Go take that a step further, help me with that. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And what we’re talking about and what you’re alluding to is something called multisensory memory.

And to dramatically oversimplify that and not do it justice in any way possible, it’s basically the more senses that are activated when you form a memory, the more powerful that memory tends to be, the easier it tends to be to recall.

And memory is a really big factor in learning, right? So when we talk about activating different senses, a lot of times folks think text is activating the visual sense,

and it’s not, it’s actually activating the auditory sense because you’re reading it aloud to yourself in your head. That’s why it’s really hard to read something while someone’s talking to you. In fact,

it’s virtually impossible to do that. We can learn to multitask in a lot of different ways. I know this is a little bit of a side note, like, but we have to be able to do one of those tasks without thinking about it. So we can, like, walk and chew gum at the same time,

right? We can coordinate those two tasks. We really don’t have to think too much about that either, unless you are able. But on the flip side of that, you know,

you can’t process two different conversations at the same time. So that text actually really helps appeal to the auditory piece. So if you do have the visual of the video and you have the text there as well,

then it does make it a bit more accessible to folks. I think you’re making a really good point that it even expands the definition of accessibility in a way that I wish more people would,

which is what does access look like? So not just accessibility from an impairment standpoint, but from an environmental standpoint, because Conta is only as accessible as the environment that you’re in.

So if you are in a workplace taking a course, and you can’t have like a lecture playing, you know, through headphones or something like that, having the captions on is really helpful if you’re on public transport,

and you’re trying to watch the lecture or, you know, engage with some class material. Those captions are really helpful. There was a really interesting study on TikTok of all places that the majority of users are using the captioning feature,

because a lot of times when they’re scrolling through, they have the sound off. So yeah, I had this issue, literally, this is less than 24 hours ago, where I was in a,

you know, an open workspace, which lots of us work in now, where we have lots of colleagues around me. And one of them just, you know, they were blaring, you know, sort of a, it was a video, I don’t know what it was, it was an education material,

but I’m just like, you can’t do that. I actually had to go over and be like, hey, you know, we’re all working here, could you please, you know, and so for somebody who’s like, look, this is my learning time, okay, you’ve got to,

you have to be able to present that in a different way. Can I, if I, if you don’t mind, I just, before it escapes me, I just wanted to jump in here too, it’s like, the idea of the temporary impairment as well.

And this is a concept that again, really just exploded in my mind from our friend Gavin over at Brookfield Labs, where, you know, hey, if I break a leg,

right, or maybe I injured my arm, or maybe like, you know, I get in an accident, or like, maybe I just have a severe, you know, illness for a little bit or whatever. And, you know, so for, for the majority of my life,

I’m, I’m not what you would consider to disabled person. But for those six weeks, those six months, that recovery time I am, and I can’t use a mouse mouse or I can’t use a keyboard. I can’t you know those kinds of things again.

This is another layer where Some way it’s it’s one of those things where it’s like you don’t discover the problem and tell you and tell it’s your problem You know what I mean, and then suddenly it becomes the most important problem.

Yeah, exactly I mean, I I’m required to wear these glasses to drive. There’s My license right And you know, it’s to the point where when I play with my kids and they grab my glasses like It upsets me because at that point like I don’t think about it as an impairment all day long But the moment one of my kids they’re one in three grab hold my glasses They don’t know how to be gentle with them,

right? Like and it’s it changes from this is just a something that I wear to They are about to break my eyes Essentially like this is how I interact with the world You know if I take these off like you are you are blurry from this distance for me That’s how bad my vision is and I’m very grateful that you know,

I have access to Vision care and and an updated prescription But yeah, it’s it’s it’s one of those things where like it you were Why I usually tell folks is like whatever’s normal to you is your zone of normal And it’s very hard to see people outside of that zone So when a learner comes to you,

I think I mentioned IBD earlier as an example of a hidden Impairment so an irritable bowel disease of some kind this includes stuff like Crohn’s disease IBS stuff like that These are students who might have to just get up and go without a notice to you Like they they do not have time to ask permission to go to the restroom.

They need to go And they don’t have any control over how that impacts them or like how that happens in the learning environment or how that affects their lives So they have no control over that situation It’s just something that you don’t necessarily know or plan for until someone discloses that to you or maybe you receive a diagnosis right anyone with norovirus who has picked up norovirus for 24 hours could probably

give you a pretty good idea of what it’s like to have to run to the restroom without much warning. But yeah, you’re right. It’s just until you have that experience,

some folks don’t necessarily think beyond their personal scope of what makes the most sense to them. So it can be a little uncomfortable sometimes to get outside of that bubble,

but it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise. I used to do simulations and stuff in training. I stopped doing it because it felt kind of icky. It felt kind of like we were playing disabled if that makes any sense. But you know,

being able to simulate some things in an online environment, like putting all the content on one page and asking folks to try and find something rapidly. It’s a great example of,

hey, that can be really overwhelming to someone with a learning impairment. That can be really overwhelming to someone who can’t use a mouse to navigate the screen. That could be a huge detriment to someone who is blind or visually impaired and has to use a screen reader to navigate your site.

So not having a clear navigation is pretty rough. The cool thing is, I kind of loop back to the AI topic. With the emergence of these tools that are coming along that are designed to do certain things with text and images and video and audio,

I think we’re entering a really cool era where those workflows to make that content accessible are becoming even easier to use. One example I would give is from our partner Brickfield Labs that you just mentioned there.

They’re a partner of Open LMS. Wonderful partner to have, love their platform. So this is the Brickfield Labs Accessibility Toolkit. And one thing that it can do is, if you have a document in your course and the learners need to download in a specific format because that’s what their screen reader reads or maybe they need to take it on the go with them because they don’t have internet at home.

So they have to download stuff on campus and then take it with them. That’s an environmental accessibility issue. It has a way to just generate that document in a variety of formats that work best for their device like an EPUB so they can read it like an ebook or a PDF or something like that and it’s really incredible what that tool can do just using AI to convert things really rapidly to diagnose challenges within

the course that might make it harder for learners to access that content and even to fix some of those things really quickly like in bulk like old code. I know one of the things we like to point to is in the old school HTML days if you wanted text to be bolded you had to add these brackets with like B on either side of the text and that’s evolved to strong.

B is actually no longer accessible so you want it to say strong instead of that and it can actually go through all the code, find those old issues from that old text and just automatically update it for you so that everything’s modernized.

It’s a really clever tool and I think a great example of how AI can be used to dramatically lift the time burden of making existing content accessible.

Yeah, I can’t say enough nice things about it. I’m a really big fan. No, that’s great. I’ve just put the link to the accessibility toolkit in the chat for everybody to check out and you’ve made a great segue there and I want to just highlight that we’re talking about now is I think you did a great job of defining the problem and really creating an understanding that this isn’t about people in wheelchairs.

This isn’t about the visually impaired necessarily. This is something that could or it probably will and does affect all of us every day in terms of wanting to acquire knowledge,

wanting to be a part of a learning moment and opportunity, and then finding yourself unable to do that because of whatever reason. That could be those extreme examples of the people who do have some sort of physical or visual or auditory impairment.

But you and I as well, again, if we find ourselves in a work environment or a school environment or just life situation where we can’t do that, we need accessibility things. The cool opportunity that exists today and is coming at us,

the biggest fire hose I’ve seen in a long time, is how artificial intelligence can allow us to do that. Let’s dive deeper there and talk around that for a second.

You started out this conversation by saying, “Look, if you don’t build that sidewalk to be accessible in the first place, you’ve got to come back and break it.” You just gave a great example of Breakfield Labs where they’re able to come back and redo that construction work fairly rapidly because of AI.

What are ways that we can preemptively think? If I’m an instructional designer or a learning designer of some kind, if I’m a teacher, if I’m somebody building out a curriculum, if I’m thinking about adult learning,

how can I put this inside a program or put this inside a workflow so that I’m like, “Oh, God, you just added three weeks to my development time.” Whereas rather than thinking of it that way,

what tools are available to make that a non -issue? Yeah, I think a really great starting point is learning to incorporate the tools you already have.

I know a lot of folks don’t think about this way, but if we’re talking about Moodle as an LMS, for example, most of the time with an LMS, when you are building new content,

what you’re doing is you’re filling out a form. The reason you’re filling out that form is because you are telling the LMS what type of web page you want it to create on your behalf. A lot of folks don’t think about that way.

An LMS is actually a web page builder, and you’re filling out these forms to tell it exactly what you want that page to look like and how you want it to behave. When I do something like like add a label,

which has been renamed in 4 .2, but we’ll get to that, a label which is just a block of rich text in the course. You can incorporate images, videos, anything that you want. I’ve seen courses where some instructors are,

when they want a heading, they will manually highlight the text. They’ll click the bold button. They’ll click the button to make that text larger. There are a couple of challenges that come along with that. From a design perspective,

it’s really hard to be consistent doing that. Ironically, I think you’re doing that because you want to have a consistent look for the headings in your course. Instead of just using,

you can highlight that text or click anywhere on that line. There’s a special menu just to say, “I want this to be styled as heading 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” and using that option instead.

When you do that, what it’s doing is it’s adding all the HTML code for you to say, “This is this type of heading on the site. Use the styling from the site so it’s all consistent. You never have to worry about anything being different.

Everything will be consistent.” Now, it’s also accessible to screen readers. It’s easier to stem for someone who might have a little bit of a visual processing disorder or a reading disorder like dyslexia as an example.

Having those frequent headings can be really, really helpful. Limiting the amount of text on a given page. I hate to keep going back to Brickfield Labs because there are plenty of tools out there that are really,

really helpful. One of the things Brickfield Labs will do is, if you add more than 500 words to a page, which is a lot of content, it will give you a warning. Let you know as the instructor, “Hey,

you probably want to break that up over multiple pages instead, so it’s not too overwhelming for the students and it’s not too much to scroll through at any given moment.” Learning is actually like the tools that you already have.

Right. It’s actually acting like the learner and saying, “Hey, look, this may not work because of X or Y. I’m just going to ask, will it get technical?

Does it actually also look at sort of responsiveness across different devices as well, where it’s like, hey, this works great on a desktop, but on a mobile device, this isn’t gonna be so great. Does it do that as well, or? – That part I don’t know.

I know that it looks for traditional accessibility issues. So like images without alt text, videos without captions, headings that have not been properly defined, or if you jump ahead in the order of headings,

like sometimes people will jump right to heading four instead of starting with heading two. Little things like that. It could do a wide variety of things, like even I’m not well -versed on everything that it can do ’cause it’s a very comprehensive toolkit.

So it’s possible, but I don’t have, I’ve got like maybe an 80 % answer for that, not 100 % answer. But yeah, I think you’re bringing up a good point about mobile though, is like making sure that you’re thinking about mobile.

I know one thing you can do on most browsers is open something called the Inspector, and there’s usually an icon in there, so you can switch the screen, have it simulate as if it were opening on an iPhone or a Samsung device and see what your site would look like in that case.

– Cool. – There are a couple of different options out there. – What about as we’re talking about AI helping us to bring the efficiencies to make this a reality or a real possibility for not only the K through 12 classroom teacher,

but also the person who’s in a corporate environment with adult learners. What about the assistive technologies that we can do in terms of, oh,

hey, I’ve got this course and I need to get the transcript for it, or I need to do captions, or I’ve done my 10 lectures for the course, and I need those to, again, have a transcript or whatever.

Or maybe I’ve developed this great paper, but I need to have it put in an audio format. What about, what technologies are out there today that are either available or envisioned to be able to,

again, create a massive efficiencies for educators? – Yeah, and they run the gamut from startups to really well established companies. I know I’ve talked about this in previous sessions,

but one of my favorite ways to generate transcripts is to take the audio and upload it into a Word document. So Word Online has this really great feature. It’s technically a dictation feature,

so that you can just speak and it will write down what you’re saying. But buried in that menu is a transcribe option. So you can just upload the audio from your video and it will transcribe the whole thing to the best of its ability,

including recognizing multiple speakers, which is pretty impressive. You can have that transcript generated with timestamps. You can have it just the text. And what I love about that is once it’s done generating,

you can just copy into the document. I think everyone out there has probably edited a Word document at some point in their lives. It’s a very familiar interface for editing that content. And so that’s our workflow when we caption training videos that we make for the academy.

We post them on our YouTube channel as unlisted so they don’t show up on the primary channel. But we can link to them. And then we use Word to generate the transcripts.

The nice thing is now you have a document with the transcript. But if you copy the transcript into YouTube, YouTube’s going to take that and use AI to assign it so that it’s properly synced with the voices in the video.

So you’ve given it, it’s really, it’s a funny workflow because you’re giving Microsoft audio and sharing text. You’re taking that text and giving it to YouTube, who’s analyzing the audio to make sure the text matches.

And, you know, you’re sort of like going back and forth, back and forth. But it’s a really clever way to handle that captioning transcript service that I think is really cool.

And then you end up with a document that’s just the transcript with the backup of the audio in case anyone needs it. So it’s like archiving all in one step. And to take that,

oh gosh, there was something else I was going to mention. There’s a site or service called 11 Labs that I’ve also used. And what you can do is you can upload some samples of your voice and then it can take text and turn it into spoken speech using your voice.

So it’s not just like Siri’s voice or Alexa’s voice or Cortana’s voice. It is literally your voice reading whatever text you give it. And so I think about,

you know, me right now, if I had a really short deadline and some of the courses that I’m building at the moment and I needed to record some video, I don’t, I sound really stuffy right now. Like I do not sound my best.

So the thought of saying that, especially with like a higher quality microphone and trying to record that where it’s gonna just sound really kind of muted and stuffy and whatnot. Well, I could give that text instead to the tool at 11 Labs,

have it generate an audio file and then overlay that with a screencast. That’s gonna save me some time right now ’cause I can’t control being sick. I have no idea when I’ll be feeling better. I have no idea when my voice will recover.

I can’t plan that out right now. The best I have is T and a doctor who Christmas mug, right? So I’m just gonna do my best, but that’s a tool that can save me from losing momentum moving forward.

Even though I know we talked in the past in our other conversations about challenges that come along with AI and how some of this can be a little uncomfortable for folks. Like the thought of teaching an AI to speak in your voice,

what happens with that? What happens with that data? What if someone else gets access to it? But for me, being able to rapidly create educational materials in my own voice that are personalized and come from me when I might not be able to do that myself,

that’s a huge win. That’s a huge win to me. – Well, I’ll use that as a plug for our AI and learning summit that’s coming up. It’s gonna be launching on in June this year and then we’ll be available for the recordings of when I will be available to people.

But our third track is what are those challenges and gaps and considerations around AI that we need to be not only thinking about but actually taking action on right now around data privacy.

digital divide issues, you know, ethics, you know, about, you know, whose data should be looked at and who shouldn’t be looked at. And then what do you do when you do have some uncomfortable answers that maybe AI is going to show you from that day?

I know of a couple examples where, you know, clear bias in data and decision -making have been, you know, put on the table and, you know, immediate action needs to be taken around that, right? I wanna round out our conversation right now on maybe,

it’s maybe seems like a little sharp edge or a sharp point, but I think it’s one that needs to be talked about is that, you know,

you and I are talking about this right now as accessibility is something you should do. It’s not only a great option, but it, you know, it also give you a learning, you know, quote -unquote business advantage,

you know, in your institution or your company or whatever. But there’s actually, there’s enough laws that are being put out there now. It’s to be in the United States and the European Union,

you know, kind of globally around, this is the thing you gotta do. So are you able to talk to that for a second around, you know, this is no longer a nice to have or,

hey, we’ll get to it if we have time, but, you know, you could have somebody come knock on there and be like, look, you’ve gotta up your game or else. So what about that? – Yeah, and I always do try and be more carrot than stick with this,

’cause those laws do exist. They’ve existed for a while. I mean, there are even some advocacy organizations that are using web crawlers to crawl through college and university websites in the U .S.

and once they find a page that’s out of compliance, they file suit. And I do worry that it, I think it goes against the spirit of what some other advocacy groups are doing.

I don’t really agree with it. I get where they’re coming from, but I feel like there are better ways to accomplish it. At the same time, yeah, those laws do exist.

exist. It only takes one student to not have proper access to course content. So if you have an instructor who’s created this course and they have all these lectures recorded and things like that,

but they never got around to creating captions or they have all these ebooks and all these scholarly articles that are just scanned copies. So pictures of each individual page, not readable text in any way.

Now you have a student who is blind or heavily visually impaired. Maybe they have like RPI or something like that where they can only see like a very small amount of their vision.

You end up in a spot where now you are a liability to your school or organization because your content is not accessible. Historically,

it’s been hard to do these things. We didn’t always have AI generated captions. We had always have AI generated text to speech to be able to do these things.

We’re still trying to develop technology that can understand what is in a photograph. That is one of the hardest things in AI right now is visual recognition and understanding what a camera is looking at.

We’ve been working at it for decades, literally since the mid -60s. It’s still something that we haven’t quite conquered. There are some tools that have come close, but it’s still really,

really hard to figure out what’s in image or a photograph. I’m kind of drifting a little bit,

but I would say we’ve seen a really rapid evolution over the last decade or so in education where these things used to be really hard to do.

You would have to give your videos to an accessibility services office on campus and they would literally pay a transcription service. There’s some like a Little button that they control with their foot it looks kind of like the the speed button for a lever for a sewing machine that I’m actually pauses the video and they’re like Listening to five seconds writing it out hitting that button again with their foot and like

typing more it we used to do this All manually. Oh, yeah, and now we can generate that really rapidly with AI in just a couple of minutes And then all we have to do is go back through it and find the spots where AI didn’t quite get it,

right? And that dramatically reduces the amount of time that it takes to do something like this. We have OCR so optical character recognition we can take those scanned Scholarly articles and automatically convert them back into text by just using simple image recognition to figure out what letter is what We can take text and turn it into speech if learners happen to need that So if we have text on the page,

but our learner can’t see that text We can turn it into audio so they can at least listen to it, right? We can do all those things really rapidly now with AI So at this point,

there’s kind of like no excuse to work it or not work into your workflow Because it’s so fast to do at this point and the payoff is huge because you end up hitting all these letters that you don’t expect Necessarily to benefit from this content.

It makes the course better. It makes the content better It makes it more inclusive for folks that you may not realize benefit from that right away and Yeah, it does save you from being a liability to your school or organization or your company For not making your content accessible,

you know I hate to to dangle that over folks and be like you can get sued It is a reality, you know, I try and focus more on the positives of like what you gain,

but It is true. I mean there are laws and it at the end of the day like you don’t want to get sued Yeah, I don’t want to be you want to be on that part of the conversation Michael von you are the adoption and are you are a or the adoption and education specialists here at open LMS I can’t take you,

can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your busy morning to speak with me about accessibility. I want to remind everybody that we do have global accessibility day on May 18th. We’re going to be having fork and current events around the globe.

So join us for that. And also then come over to the AI and learning summit. If you just Google that, I’m sure you’ll be able to find it. Get your free ticket to that summit. I’m Michael Wilby, a speaker there as well. And we have a bunch of other speakers that are going to be just absolutely fantastic talking about how AI is changing the face of learning and education going forward.

So thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate it. – Yeah, thanks so much for having me. – Thank you again for listening to the E -Learn podcast here from Open LMS. I just wanted to ask one more time,

if you enjoyed this show, if you learned something, if you were inspired, if you were challenged, if you feel like this is something you can take into your practice, please do me a favor. And right now on your podcast player,

hit subscribe. That way you’re never going to miss a future episode. Also, come over to elearnmagazine .com and subscribe there as well because we have tons of great information about how to create killer online learning outcomes.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Latest

The eLearn Podcast

--- Advertisement ---

Subscribe to our newsletter

Education technology has the power to change lives. 

To get the latest news, information and resources about online learning from around the world by clicking on the button below.