Accessibility of Skillsoft eLearning Platform and Content

Date last updated: April 7, 2017

eLearning for everyone
Skillsoft Accessibility in a Changing Landscape
Skillsoft VPATs
Skillsoft Commitment to U.S. Federal Agencies and Evolving Section 508 Standards
Roadmap for improving accessibility status of Skillsoft eLearning products and website
Accessibility supports for users of the Skillsoft eLearning products and website
Contact options for users experiencing access difficulties



eLearning for everyone


At Skillsoft we create beautiful technology and engaging content that can be enjoyed by everyone. We believe that everyone has the right to access our content and our learning platforms and we are committed to making our content and technology accessible to all learners. We believe this is a basic human right for people regardless of their abilities.

We have established an Accessibility Program Office which is led by Kate McCarthy, VP of Accessibility, and championed by Apratim Purakayastha, Skillsoft’s CTO, who has Executive responsibility for Accessibility. This ensures that Accessibility is a core value of our company. All new content and technologies will be built with Accessibility in their DNA.

Our Federal customers know about the importance of Accessibility, and many of our Fortune 500 companies also recognize the importance of offering learning to all of their employees.

One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of learning challenge. And we know from research that people with learning challenges are more likely to experience adverse socio-economic outcomes. Access to learning is a key way to close this gap and provide access to a world of equal opportunities.

Skillsoft has developed a strategic partnership with one of the world’s leading Accessibility consultants, The Paciello Group (TPG). They will be providing strategic planning, auditing and user testing of our eLearning platform and content, to assist our effort to meet Accessibility standards and our ongoing commitment to upholding them.

At Skillsoft we believe in eLearning for everyone.


Skillsoft Accessibility in a Changing Landscape


This is a complex and ever-changing landscape, forever responding to new types of content and technology challenges – as well as developing market views and best-practice solutions. The candid assessment of the United States Access Board, in February 2015, was that historical section 508 “does not adequately address what is meant by comparable access to information and data” when applied to electronic-content products.

Where we measure and evaluate accessibility, we do so using either the WCAG 2.0 standards issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and/or the applicable version of Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act.

For many of our products, specific information related to their most recently known accessibility can be found in Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) which include descriptions of exceptions or deviations from these standards. When a VPAT for the Section 508 Refresh standards is published, we will use that; until then, we use the most current VPAT version from the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), which is ICI’s July 12, 2016 version. With 120,000 digital assets and multiple technology interfaces, we are not able to guarantee that all legacy items will continue to meet WCAG and 508 standards on every product line, or support every new Assistive Technology; and, an accurate statement in a VPAT might not assure accessibility for a specific user preferring a specific platform, interface, or assistive technology. Skillsoft is fully committed to addressing and reducing accessibility exceptions as soon as commercially practicable. We welcome, and benefit from, all feedback and suggestions.

To request access to Skillsoft’s VPATS, please contact accessibility@skillsoft.com. To offer comments, please use any of the communication channels offered below at "Contact options for users experiencing access difficulties".


Skillsoft Commitment to U.S. Federal Agencies and Evolving Section 508 Standards


Skillsoft is committed to creating and delivering eLearning and talent management solutions that are accessible to all users regardless of age, ability, or situation.

The Paciello Group are conducting extensive reviews our electronic-content products and Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs). As always, Skillsoft also works to exceed minimum accessibility requirements in every way that we reasonably can. We are committed to being the market leader for accessible electronic-content products, and your best available choice for accessible products.


Roadmap for improving accessibility status of Skillsoft eLearning products and website


Our aim is to meet or exceed the Section 508 Refresh standards and the WCAG 2.0 level A & AA standards as fully as is practicable, and accurately publish any exception or reliance upon equivalent facilitation or Assistive Technology.

We are currently undertaking a complete in-depth accessibility review of all eLearning technologies and courseware. Most of our eLearning courseware is video-based and includes captions (subtitles) and full text transcripts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. We are in the process of adding audio description where necessary to convey the important visual information to people with visual disabilities.

We are aware of a number of issues preventing full access for keyboard-only users, users of screen readers and other assistive technologies. Responding to the results of the accessibility review, we have created a roadmap for implementing a range of improvements to achieve enhanced conformance. We are happy to share this roadmap with our learners as required.


Accessibility supports for users of the Skillsoft eLearning products and website


Skillport, our modern cloud-based content delivery platform, contains features specifically aimed at making it easier to access content for keyboard-only users, users of screen readers and other assistive technologies. When you log into Skillport, you can select the Enable Web Accessibility checkbox. This will activate features such as making the focus indicator clearer when tabbing through controls using the keyboard. If you don’t select it when logging in, you can select it within Skillport at any time.

Skillsoft supports the Java Accessibility Bridge to improve the experience of individuals who utilize assistive technologies. You will need to have the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on your computer. If you are using the JAWS screen reader on Windows 7, you will need to have JRE 1.7.0_60 because it contains an updated Java Access Bridge that solves some accessibility issues using JAWS on Windows 7.

To download and install JRE 1.7.0_60

  1. Remove any current versions of Java.
  2. Install the newest version of Java:
    1. Go to the Java website.
    2. Click the Free Java Download button.
    3. Follow the instructions to download the version of Java for your operating system.
  3. Once installed, you can verify that the new Java version has been installed by doing one of the following:
    1. Visit the Java verification page to verify the new Java version.
    2. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt.
    3. Type java –version and press the Enter key.

To enable the Java Access Bridge

  1. Either do the following:
    1. Click Start > Control Panel > Ease Of Access Center.
    2. Select Use the computer without a display.
    3. Under Other programs installed, select Enable Java Access Bridge.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click OK.
  2. Or do the following:
    1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt.
    2. Type %JRE_HOME%\bin\jabswitch -enable
    3. Note: View the Oracle guide for additional information on enabling the Java Access Bridge.
  3. Restart your Assistive Technology software and Java application.

Although there are many assistive technologies that support the Accessibility Bridge, Skillsoft tests its courseware and player with JAWS version 16 and higher on Microsoft Internet Explorer only. Skillsoft officially supports the latest two versions of JAWS. Currently, this includes support for JAWS 17 and 18.

Keyboard access

The Skillsoft Course Player and the Books24x7 media player both allow keyboard access to their controls.

Keyboard access in the Skillsoft Course Player

In the Skillsoft Course Player, keyboard access is achieved by moving focus to the relevant control then using keys to interact with the control.

Tab/Shift+Tab: Move focus to the next/previous player control. The control with focus is highlighted green. When in the Transcript or Settings menu, move focus to the next menu item. The item with focus is indicated using a tooltip.

Spacebar or Enter: Select or operate the currently focused control or menu item.

Right/Left Arrow: When in the volume control, increase/decrease the volume. When in the video progress bar, jump forward/backward by 20 seconds.

Keyboard access in the Books24/7 Media Player

The Books24/7 Media Player allows keyboard access through a set of keyboard shortcuts that activate functions directly without having to move between and interact with the on-screen controls. When in the player, press the ? key to see the full list of shortcuts, which are as follows:

Spacebar: Play/Pause.

q: Unload/Stop.

Up/Down Arrow: Volume Increase/Decrease.

m: Mute/Unmute Sound.

s: Subtitles (Captions) On/Off.

Left/Right Arrow: Seek (jump forward/backward by 30 seconds).

. (period/full stop): Seek to previous (jump to last seek point).

1, 2, 3, … 9 etc.: Seek to position 10%, 20%, 30%, … 90% of the way through the video.

N.B. Shift+Left/Right Arrow for slower/faster and f for full screen view are not currently functional.


Contact options for users experiencing access difficulties


If you find any of the Skillsoft eLearning products difficult to use, please let us know using our Contact Form, email us at support@skillsoft.com or phone us on 1-844-462-1278 (U.S.). To help ensure you get the best outcome, the Web Accessibility Initiative provides helpful advice on Contacting Organizations About Inaccessible Websites.