Improving Accessibility – cmi5 and the JAWS screen reader

Accessibility Challenges in Online Learning

Accessibility should always be a concern when designing any digital or online experience. The delivery of learning content is no exception. cmi5 provides new opportunities for visually impaired users to have an improved user experience. This experience is improved by streaming the delivery of training for users relying on a screen reader, facilitating navigation and consumption of content.

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One of the issues with accessibility, and specifically with screen readers, is pop-up windows. Screen readers read the text in the window that has “focus.” That is, the active window of the computer. Because SCORM content always opens one or more a pop-up windows, it can be difficult for the screen reader to maintain focus. Without this focus, a user could get lost in the flow of content.

cmi5 User Experience

cmi5, the ADL’s xAPI profile for Learning Management System (LMS) to Content communication, natively makes this flow and user experience more seamless by eliminating pop-up windows. As a best-practice in the cmi5 specification, when content is launched it takes the place of the LMS in the current browser window. At the end of a cmi5 content module, the LMS comes back to replace the content, all within the same browser window. No pop-up windows mean that the screen reader can stay focused, allowing the LMS and content to transition seamlessly. Let’s watch a quick example:


The video captures the RISC VTA LMS launching an iSpring-created module published to cmi5. Note that the JAWS screen reader is able to follow the flow from LMS to content and back without interruption.

Interested in learning more about cmi5?  Check out all the articles here on the RISC Blog.

Duncan Welder IV
Mr. Welder holds a Master’s of Education from Texas A&M University in Educational Technology and has more than 15 years experience in implementation of Learning Management Systems, both domestically and abroad. Mr. Welder has been recognized for his application of Learning Management Systems to manage regulatory-compliance in industries ranging from petrochemicals to finance and has provided presentations to professional organizations including the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance, the Northwest Process Technology Alliance and the American Society of Training and Development.
Mr. Welder’s career is founded in traditional instructional design and computer-based training development. He is a certified Development Dimensions International facilitator, a Kirkpatrick Certified Evaluator and facilitator of the Ohio State University curriculum development program. In addition to working in industry, Mr. Welder has held adjunct faculty positions at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and the College of the Mainland, Texas. Mr. Welder has been published in both Training Magazine as well as US Business Review.