Training materials may be inaccessible to some learners for several reasons, such as a slow or no internet connection, a technology issue such as a firewall, or simply not having a software program installed. It may be that the learner has a disability or has a primary language different from the one the course is conducted in, so they need extra time with the material.
Whatever the case may be, how do you ensure your training materials are available to all your learners?
Have a backup plan for each barrier you can foresee encountering.
Use common or universal software. For instructor-led synchronous training, you may choose to host training materials on a cloud-based site. Yet, some participants may not be able to access the materials there. Offer a PowerPoint file as an alternative option because it can reside on the desktop, doesn't require an internet connection, and can provide the same information.
Present materials in multiple formats. Another solution is to transcribe materials so that learners can read or listen rather than watch a video. Alternatively, consider a transcription service to provide closed-captioning, or hire a translation vendor to type into the chat what individuals say during the training course.
Conduct a survey and outreach ahead of time. Connect with learners before an instructor-led course to develop realistic examples of the challenges learners encounter in their day-to-day work. You may need to ascertain how much knowledge they already have on the topic by asking how many years of experience they've had in their role. You also can determine any special needs they may have to prepare for ahead of time. Ask, "Are there accommodations such as a sign language interpreter or transcriber that would benefit you?" or "Do you have a firewall that may prevent you from accessing online materials?"
Remember that employees working from home still have security issues or firewall blockers, including a VPN, which may inhibit their access to certain training materials.