The use of accessibility metadata in e-learning environments: a systematic literature review

Paola Ingavélez-Guerra, Salvador Otón-Tortosa, José Hilera-González, Mary Sánchez-Gordón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


E-learning environments constitute an essential element in education, as they help students to ensure their pass their courses and graduate on time. Although guidelines, techniques, and methods have been presented in some literature in recent years to contribute to the development of accessible e-learning environments that promote digital inclusion, their implementation is challenging. In this context, the use of accessibility metadata not only provides a way to enhance the description of adapted educational resources but also facilitates their search according to the needs and preferences of students, in particular those with disabilities. In this paper, a systematic review was conducted in order to provide the state of the art regarding the use of accessibility metadata in e-learning environments. A total of 746 documents were found during the period from 2012 to 2019, of which 31 were selected according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria relevant to our review. The findings revealed an intensive use of models and standards of accessibility in e-learning environments, however, using accessibility metadata remains underused. In fact, the evaluation of accessibility and adaptability through the use of its metadata was not found. The findings obtained also helped to establish challenges and opportunities in this research field as well as to provide an overview that could support those who generate educational resources to keep their interest in making them accessible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-461
Number of pages17
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
Issue number2
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Adaptive systems
  • Distance learning
  • Educational technology
  • Metadata


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