4. Alternative accessible version - ELA Hub

If you cannot make your eLearning resource accessible, consider providing an alternative version e.g. an accessible Word document or PDF.

What can I do?

  • If you cannot make your eLearning resource compliant to all WCAG 2.1 standards, then meeting as many of the the regulations and recommendations that we have given you at eLaHub.net is a great start.
  • Sometimes, however, it may not be possible to make your eLearning resource accessible. For example, if the authoring tool you are using cannot produce accessible content.
  • If this is the case, consider providing an alternative accessible version.
  • For eLearning resources, an accessible version is most often a Word or a PDF document.
  • Unfortunately a Word or PDF alternative does not provide an “equivalent learning experience”. At the very least, however, it does provide the same information that is in the eLearning resource.
  • Remember that you must make the alternative version accessible.
  • If you are not sure how to make Word or PDF documents accessible, the resources in our Useful links¬†section below will help.


The above guidance is not legal advice on whether alternative accessible versions are acceptable to meet accessibility regulations. See W3C guidance on Understanding Conforming Alternate Versions for more information.


If you provide an alternative accessible version of your eLearning resource  learners with impairments can have access the same information as those without.

It does not, however, give them an equivalent learning experience.

eLaHub example

The accessibility information for an Articulate Rise, Project Manager's inductions course. One of the points explains how to download an accessible version of the course and provides a link to this alternative Word document.

Articulate Rise course with accessibility information and downloadable accessible alternative Word document

An example page from the accessible Word version of the Project Manager's induction course. It has information about project management methodologies and approaches.

Alternative accessible version

The accessibility features demonstrated in this Word document are:

  • Word’s built in header styles are used.
  • Hyperlinks show the purpose of the link not Click here or the full url.
  • Hyperlinks are visually clear.
  • Colour contrast meets WCAG 2.1 regulations.
  • Word’s built in page numbers are used.

Further information

Accessible Microsoft Word

Convert accessible Word to accessible PDF

GOV.UK guidance

eLahub video explainer

To make a Word document accessible, it can be helpful to understand how it is read by a screen reader.

How the NVDA screen reader reads a Microsoft Word document

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