Building Basic Skills for E-Learning: Adults With Developmental Disabilities Go Online
Van de Keere, Rhonda
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Adults with developmental disabilities are often excluded from participating in a variety of online activities, including e-learning, which are part of everyday life in our digital, knowledge-based society. Numerous barriers are associated with their non-participation, including a lack of basic computer and Internet skills. In recognition of these limitations, a multiple-case study was conducted; 11 adults with developmental disabilities were provided with access to individualized training and appropriate regular and assistive technologies so they could go online, using e-mail to increase social networks and accessing web-based informational resources. The study contributes to the scarce literature on online inclusion by offering protocols for setting up and conducting e-mail and Internet training. The outcomes show that the subjects gained basic information and communication technology skills while engaging in recreational online activities, and that appropriate assistive technologies (voice e-mail and text-to-speech software) compensated for low literacy skills. This study makes recommendations for future research and advocates for the further inclusion of adults with developmental disabilities into the ”global community” where ICT can be a life-enhancing and even a life-altering tool.