Redwood Performance Group

AODA 2025 Deadline is Looming:  How That Impacts Ontario’s L&D Industry

This post examines six ways to ensure AODA 2025 compliant eLearning. Ontario introduced the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in 2005. The Act’s proposed goal was to make Ontario accessible by 2025. With the deadline fast approaching, it’s a good time to revisit the importance of accessibility to learning and development, our progress thus far, and the impact of the impending date on L&D providers.

Why AODA 2025 Compliant eLearning is Important

The overarching goal of accessibility is to ensure that all learners can participate and benefit from learning and development, regardless of ability. The objective is to make learning inclusive and ensure that people understand how factors like disabilities, gender, age, and cultural identity may create barriers to learning for some.

Meeting AODA requirements is especially important to L&D producers since all learners must be able to engage and benefit from training, regardless of format. A course that benefits only a portion of learners to the detriment of others can hardly be considered successful.

AODA 2025 Compliant eLearning Ensures Accessibility

Ontario enacted AODA within months of Redwood’s launch as a full-service learning organization twenty years ago, and the legislation has guided our instructional design strategies ever since. It has been a challenging and rewarding journey that has helped shape a learning strategy that meets and routinely exceeds AODA standards. Here are six of the fundamental best practices that ensure greater learner accessibility.  

1. Accessible Content

Ensure that all content is accessible, including text, images, and videos. Always provide alternative text descriptions, captions, and transcripts. Alternative text ensures that learners using screen readers can fully understand and engage with complex learning interactions.

2. Keyboard Accessibility

Some disabilities make it impossible for learners to use a mouse. Keyboard-only controls ensure interactive course elements like quizzes and drag-and-drop exercises are navigatable and operable by all learners. 

3. Visibility

High-contrast text and colourful graphics ensure that learners with visual disabilities can easily navigate the course. We also recommend avoiding hard-to-read fonts and long text passages without breaks. Today’s learners expect appealing course graphics to keep them engaged and motivated. 

4. Assistive Technology Compatibility

All multimedia elements, such as screen readers, must be compatible with assistive technology. To achieve this, use semantic HTML and ARIA labels where appropriate. Semantic HTML helps humans and computers understand the components of a web page. Aria labels, conversely, define a string value that labels an interactive element, providing more descriptive information than the original content.  

5. WCAG Compliant Tools

When building courses, use tools like Adapt and Storyline that are fully WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. WCAG is the web-based accessibility standard that ensures AODA compliance. These tools ensure accessibility to those using a screen reader or other accessibility devices.

6. Clear Instructions and Navigation

Unnecessary complexity creates barriers for people with cognitive disabilities. Content should also be universal enough to be accessible to recent arrivals who may be less familiar with the local language and workplace culture. Feeling included and valued empowers learners to excel.

AODA 2025 Compliant eLearning – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility!

Every three years, the Provincial government reassesses the legislation to review progress and identify areas for improvement. While progress has been slower than expected, improving accessibility must remain at the forefront of our priorities as an industry. 

With the 2025 deadline approaching, it’s important to remember that accessibility isn’t just the responsibility of governments. As an industry focused on expanding human potential, we must continue to lead through innovation so that all course participants experience learning and development to the fullest extent possible! AODA 2025 complaint eLearning is essential to achieving that goal.