Impediments to accessing virtual education by learners with visual impairment in Kenyatta University
Kiambati, Fridah Gatwiri
Muthee, Daniel Wambiri
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The study was aimed at exploring the challenges that learners with visual impairment face in accessing virtual education. The specific objectives were: To find out the population of learners with visual impairment participating in virtual education, to find out the successes in using assistive technology in virtual education, to identify the challenges that learners with visual impairment face in virtual education venture, and to describe possible solutions towards achieving virtual education by learners with visual impairment. The study was carried out at Kenyatta University, and the population comprised 80 learners and 5 staff members. Descriptive survey design was adopted. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the learners while personal interviews were conducted for the staff. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze quantitative data while thematic analysis approach was used for qualitative data. Tables and charts were used to present quantitative data while qualitative data was presented in textual mode. The study established that: e-learning had least enrolment of students with visual impairment, most of the students were not able to retrieve and use e-resources though their own efforts, e-learning platforms were not accessible to learners with visual impairment, more than half of the students found it difficult to use e-resources. The study concluded that: Learners with visual impairment lacked independence in using e-platforms; assistive technology is vital in accessing e-resources. The study recommended: University management to encourage independence of learners through provision of accessible e-learning platforms, information literacy and AT skills, and provision of adequate AT devices. Keywords: Impediments, virtual education, e-learning, visual impairment.