Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning


This platform of UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector offers access to UNESCO guidelines for the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning. These guidelines highlight technology based teaching methods designed for learners with disabilities particularly in the context of global crises such as the COVID19 pandemic. 


The  objective of the present guidelines is to promote the access of persons with disabilities to quality learning opportunities through open and distance learning, using open solutions through open educational resources (OER); free software and open source software (FOSS); as well as open access research. 

These possibilities have been propelled to the fore due to the emergency measures currently required in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. 


The platfom provide guidelines on the role and obligations of stakeholders including governments, institutions, teachers, instructional designers and quality assurance and qualification recognition bodies, as well as businesses and developers, families and persons with disabilities for the application of the relevant articles (9, 21 and 24) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) in order to promote the access of persons with disabilities to lifelong learning opportunities as well as information and knowledge through inclusive, accessible and affordable solutions. 

It aims to promote concrete actions towards the systematic inclusion and mainstreaming of accessibility elements through open solutions (OER, FOSS and free access to scientific information) in open distance learning.


This platform offers detailed guidelines for a wide range of stakeholders when it comes to setting up platforms, procedures, courses, examinations and other aspects related to open distance learning in order to meet the needs of all users. All presented stakeholders will find the most complete information possible on the implementation of reasonable accommodation adapted to their specific needs. This approach requires taking harmonization and standardization actions.

  • Governments  (PDF)

  • Educational Institutions Delivery ODL (PDF) 

  • Instructors  (PDF)

  • Quality Assurance and Qualifications Recognitions Bodies