E-learning has many benefits and in some cases is replacing the traditional classroom. Students across the world are taking advantage of e-learning and gaining access to lectures from the most ranked institutions through MOOC. In spite of such advances, an important segment of the population is being left behind. The moral obligation for ed tech entrepreneurs to innovate in e-learning for the disabled goes a long way to guarantee a much inclusive society.
e-Learning For Disabled Students - The legal and moral obligations of learning institutions to make e-learning accessible to disabled children is a debate that underscores the unfairness the later has created. The most commonly used learning management systems (LMS) in most institutions are Moodle and Blackboard. The later was launched in 1997 and it was not until 2010 that it was awarded the Nonvisual Accessibility Gold Certification by the National Federation of the Blind in the United States (Disabled World 2010). This raises the obvious question of why it took so long and where the other LMS are at this point in time. How long will it also take for the technology to be tested and perfected? In the meantime, how are the disabled coping with this lapse?
At a time when massive open online course (MOOC) registrations are increasing at a rate faster than traditional classroom registrations, it is time to rethink and massively invest in e-learning for the disabled. The benefits of learning online especially for the disabled are far reaching. It is estimated that 20% of Americans live with a disability that interferes with their daily activities (Fox 2011). Think about the fact that this segment of society will eliminate the stress of moving to fixed locations, avoid the discomfort of being discriminated against, have the ability to login anonymously coupled with the general benefits of e-learning I assume are already widely accepted to date. E-learning is definitely the future; hence it is time to reduce the chasm.
Jaeger (2012) undergirds that "For persons with disabilities, unless technological design and implementation meaningfully focus on inclusion, the internet may become a new means of increased marginalization in society". Although the visually impaired are a minority in society, it is estimated that only 15% of people with a disability were actually born with it; this highlights the fact that it is a minority group that we all have a potential of becoming part of at some stage in our lives. This is the more reason why the tech community has to invest in an inclusive manner and bridge the gap that exists in this sector.