Labster’s Commitment to Equitable Learning Expands with New Accessibility Updates

Ginelle Testa

At Labster, we aim to break down barriers to scientific exploration and discovery through innovative, accessible simulations. We understand that for learning to be truly impactful, it must be equitable. This means creating educational experiences that cater to the diverse needs and abilities of all learners, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Labster has adopted the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as our guiding star. UDL is not just a principle for us; it's a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. It acknowledges that every learner is unique, with varying strengths and ways of processing information, expressing knowledge, and engaging with content.  

By integrating UDL principles into our platform, we aim to ensure that our virtual labs are accessible and engaging for everyone. Labster is committed to continuously evolving to meet the diverse needs of our learners, making science education more inclusive, accessible, and equitable for students around the globe. We’re excited to share some great updates!

Embracing The Principle of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL’s roots can be traced back to architectural design, with the core idea of creating spaces and environments that are inherently accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities. 

UDL is based on research that highlights the variability in how individuals learn. It recognizes that each learner has a unique combination of strengths, challenges, and preferences, influencing how they perceive information, engage with content, and demonstrate their understanding.

Mike Ulanski, Labster’s Senior Learning Experience Designer, articulates our commitment to this principle, stating, “At Labster, our aim is to make our virtual labs and simulations not only accessible but truly engaging for every type of learner. By integrating UDL’s call for multiple means of engagement, representation, and expression into our platform, we strive to create a learning environment that acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of student learning needs. This approach is not just about accessibility; it’s about fostering an inclusive educational experience that empowers every student to achieve their full potential.”

Julian Allen, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Labster, shared, “You can’t address equity in education without addressing accessibility in education. Labster’s visually rich immersive environments sometimes pose a real challenge when trying to make sure that all students have an engaging experience. This is why Labster is so dedicated to improving accessibility across the board and finding new and creative ways to make our tools approachable and successful for every learner.”

Through dedication to UDL, Labster continues to innovate and refine virtual labs, ensuring they serve as effective and inclusive educational tools. This commitment underscores Labster's mission to make science more equitable and accessible to learners worldwide.

Aligning Labster with Accessibility Standards

Monika Starnawska, Labster’s accessibility lead, shared, “Inclusivity lies at the heart of our mission, aiming to make science accessible to every student. If students face challenges engaging with laboratory experiments due to visual, auditory, or motor impairments, don't worry, we're committed to bringing the lab directly to them!”

Full Evaluation of Course Manager

We've conducted a comprehensive accessibility evaluation of Labster's Course Manager. This evaluation underscores our dedication to ensuring that every aspect of our platform is accessible, providing an inclusive learning management experience for all educators and learners.

Platform Updates and VPAT Adjustments

We've made substantial updates to our platform, directly addressing and resolving previously identified accessibility concerns. These enhancements have enabled us to update our Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), demonstrating our improved support for and commitment to accessibility standards.

Compliance with International Standards

Labster is proud to align with international accessibility standards, making significant efforts to comply with the Revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Harmonized European Standard EN 301 549. These standards guide our development process, ensuring our virtual labs and simulations meet accessibility requirements not just in the United States and Europe but globally.

Final Thoughts

We invite you to explore Labster's accessible educational tools and see firsthand the impact of our efforts. Join us in the conversation about equitable learning and help us shape a more inclusive future for education. 

You can follow along on Labster’s journey to make the science lab more accessible at 

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