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An international peer-reviewed journal

Online Learning: Designing for All Users

Cindy Poore-Pariseau

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 5, Issue 4, August 2010, pp. 147 - 156

Article Contents

The Benefits and Limitations of Distance Learning Technologies

Technology serves to enhance increased understanding of mental processing, cognitive sciences, artificial intelligences, learner choice and mandates from thinking about models that guide the design of instruction.” (Irlbeck, Kays, Jones, & Sims, 2006, p. 174)

While the use of technology in distance education can greatly enhance the learning processes of some, it can negatively impact the learning processes of others. This emphasizes the need for all involved parties to have a working knowledge of accessibility laws as they apply to distance education.  No longer can those who design instruction depend on utilizing a rigid, structured approach to developing instruction (Irlbeck et al., 2006). Among the challenges faced by those who design instruction is ensuring disabled students as well as faculty can fully access the curriculum in a way that benefits the class as a whole. Planning for accessibility may require more time and effort on the front end, but the benefits will positively impact the system as a whole. Technology can function to facilitate learning or it can hinder learning; instructional designers must incorporate accessibility guidelines into courses in a way that eliminates negative effects and enhance the positives.

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