Learning materials

Learning materials should be provided in an accessible format so that each student can access the content on an equal basis.

Therefore, information should be:

  • presented with an organized structure;
  • delivered, shared through different channels (media);
  • perceived and understood effectively through different perceptual channels (senses), using sight and/or hearing and/or touch

Assistive technology (for students with special needs)

Textbooks, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, guides, handouts, workbooks, and exam materials should always be provided in accessible digital format, i.e., compatible with the technological tools adopted by students with special needs:

  • PCs equipped with specfic input and output devices (braille displays, specific pointers, voice control)
  • Touchscreen devices (PCs, tablets, and smartphones)
  • Speech synthesis programs (screen readers): JAWS, VoiceOver, Google TalkBack...
  • Ebook readers
  • Audio file listening devices

Solutions for producing and archiving educational materials in accessible format


Automatic and immediate document conversion service.
Useful for converting teaching materials, presentations, handouts, etc. to alternative multimedia and accessible formats, such as: MP3 audio, ebook, digital braille.


Digital library to store materials in multimedia and accessible formats: textual documents in digital format, such as tagged PDF files, ebooks, Braille format files, audiobooks in EPUB3 and DAISY formats, MP3 audio, subtitled movies, and more.

Accessible teaching materials : suggestions

  1. Documents: it is crucial to organize textual information accurately, with a logical reading order of paragraphs, to facilitate navigation within the text. The semantic structure of the document will facilitate the use of assistive technologies. Through the index of chapter titles and subtitles, the user will be able to move from one topic to another, thanks to placeholders and cross-links. All the different elements will need to have logical labeling: titles, captions, and tables. For very complex texts, a simplified version of the text will also need to be provided.
  2. Images: help communicate the message; they can be photographs, drawings or graphics. However, it is essential to provide a textual alternative: a description of the information conveyed by the image, for blind students.
  3. Multimedia elements: videos provide a simple and immediate channel for conveying information. However in order for them to be usable by all students, an alternative textual or audio description of the information included in the videos must be provided, for blind and hard-of-hearing students.
    Videos need to include subtitles (open captions are embedded in the video, synchronized with the speech, while closed captions are embedded in a separate file, can be turned on or off, e.g., YouTube) describing dialogue and all important information: transcript of speech, description of environmental sounds (music, laughter, etc.), any comments (e.g., news context, description of setting, explanation of terms, etc.). Users who do not understand the language used in the video will need a translation.
  4. Presentations: it is necessary to define the layout of each slide, in order to organize the content and be able to display only the structure of the presentation, title and text, without the graphic elements, i.e., what the screen reader reads. Organize the slides with a logical order and each slide should convey a concept, an idea. Pay attention to color contrast between text and background: avoid backgrounds with strong colors, several images and shapes. Avoid animations and transitions. Add a description of all non-text elements (images, tables, charts), which are not just decorative.