User Needs

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In order to support learners and meet their needs you must have some understanding of the difficulties they face.

Appreciate the possibilities

While learners should always be consulted on how best to meet their needs, it is wrong to assume that they are aware of all the possibilities available to them.

Accessible teaching

There are some general recommendations that will help all learners, but particularly those with disabilities. These include:

  • A clear outline of each lesson.
  • Clear, unambiguous language.
  • Information in a variety of forms.
  • Repetition.
  • Signpost changes to:
    • Routines;
    • Class or group work;
    • New or additional content;
    • New language or concepts.

Learning technology

Technology for learning can provide benefits for all students. A well developed and used virtual learning environment (VLE) will allow learners to access or revisit learning sessions, materials and resources at a time and with a focus that they choose. A well developed VLE can provide a substantial framework to support teaching, learning and assessment.

Interactive whiteboards allow lessons to be interactive with learners’ contributions providing relevance and authenticity. The lesson or lecture can be captured allowing learners to revisit them, staff to review the session or to provide staff development and quality assurance. Enabling learners to go back to the lesson and focus on the whiteboard content only may help them to understand the lesson objectives that may not have been clear within the live session.

There are benefits for all learners in creating and developing accessible content. Installing and supporting accessible content creation tools like Xerte Online Toolkits allow tutors to create visually rich and stimulating learning resources.

Technology provides opportunities for communication, collaboration and sharing that enable the leaners to participate in their learning rather than simply receive it. Enabling the teaching and support staff to use collaborative applications proficiently and well is crucial to providing this essential aspect of learning.

Using their own devices will allow students to access rich content or use it to provide evidence in the form of audio, photos or video.

What's the best approach?

In the pages listed in the left-hand navigation, we explain different needs and outline possibilities for meeting those needs. Use these pages and the relevant resources to help:

  • Users to better understand and meet their own needs;
  • Tutors to better appreciate learner needs;
  • Tutors and organisations understand the range of adjustments that could make a difference for the learner and the benefits and barriers associated with those adjustments;
  • Understand the importance of joined up policies and procedures which support individual user need.



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