Learning Management Systems

How Moodle Helps People With Disabilities Learn

Posted by Shevy Levy on Nov 17, 2011

Imagine trying to start or re-launch a career today without access to computers or resources to learn new skills. What if you couldn’t easily get around or were suffering from a brain injury that made attending regular classes next to impossible? The Moodle online learning management system is helping Canadians who are facing these kinds of challenges every day.

“I have become more direct, stronger, and less fearful,” says Crystal, who has had to deal with a brain injury, learning disabilities, mental illness, asthma and chronic pain. She is learning new skills through training on Moodle.

“My feelings about finding work have changed. This program has given me more confidence and determination to never give up.”

Crystal is one of many people getting help through the Neil Squire Society, a Canadian not-for-profit organization that empowers Canadians with physical disabilities through the use of computer-based assistive technologies, research and development, and various employment programs.

Lambda Solutions provides hosting and support for the NSS. Online learning programs through Moodle are helping train these people to reach their employment goals and long-term dreams. "For a non-profit organization with limited resources, having Lambda as a supportive host has been invaluable," says Neil Squire Society e-Learning Manager Chad Leaman. "They have taken an interest in our work, and have made suggestions to help us improve our Moodle instance.  When we hit technical difficulty, support has been prompt and friendly.  It feels less like calling a tech company and quoting a ticket number, and more like calling a friend to help us out.  They've been integral to Neil Squire in providing a quality online learning environment to our program participants."

How Moodle has helped NSS reach their target audience

The NSS has five offices across Canada that help people with disabilities reach their goals of becoming more included members of society. They’ve offered distance and eLearning through Moodle to reach out to those communities. They’ve developed partnerships with other organizations that deliver services to people with disabilities. At first they tried webinars, but because offices were scattered across time zones, scheduling was difficult. They needed a better solution to give their clients access to online learning courses they could use anytime, anywhere.

That’s when Neil Squire brought in the Moodle learning management system. The shift in strategy has succeeded, allowing them to reach far more people in far more communities than those served by their regional offices, doing employment training and other courses.

We can see the success of the Moodle implementation in their results for NSS’ clients, like Brenda, who has Multiple Sclerosis that makes it difficult for her to talk or type:

"I decided to return to university because of the Neil Squire Society and what you did for me. You helped me realize that I have the ability to do this.”

Other Benefits of Using Moodle: Accessible Staff Training

NSS doesn’t just use Moodle to help their target audience access eLearning opportunities. They also use it in-house to train staff and volunteers. “New staff are given a formal orientation” using Moodle, Leaman says (see his video produced for the BCCCA Conference, Moodle at the Neil Squire Society). “Many of the documents, procedures and guidelines to be a staff member can be found in our Moodle online learning site.”

Topics: Moodle Features

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