3 Tips for Designing More Inclusive Digital Learning
As more and more people get into digital learning, the issues of inclusivity is raising its head. Catering to organisation-wide audiences means catering to a diverse group of learners – both in terms of capabilities and limitations. While inclusive and accessible design is an entire fields of its own, we thought it would be helpful to share some good practices. Therefore, here are 3 tips for designing more inclusive digital learning.
Empathy is a good starter
Just like in any design project, empathy is a good place to start when it comes to inclusivity too. So, polish that design thinking hat once again and seek to understand your learners and their constraints and limitations. A good empathetic process should uncover some of the limitations your employees may have when it comes to accessing and using digital learning. Furthermore, you’re also likely to uncover new realisations about the context of the users. Learners don’t consume learning in a vacuum, and therefore the context matters a lot. Situational limitations and restrictions may present a real barrier to inclusive digital learning if you don’t uncover them and design with them in mind.
Multimodality is often good idea
In many cases, one of the bigger issues in inclusive learning is the use of different modalities and mediums. For instance, some learning may be primarily audiovisual, whereas some may require reading extensive text-based material. Whatever the primary modality, it’s important to offer an alternative pathway and support system for those who can’t due to personal or contextual limitations use that modality. For instance, an employee with hearing impairment may not get much out of a training video – unless you use captions. On the other hand, someone with dyslexia may really struggle with large amounts of text.
Also, many work situations may limit the use of certain features of the learning experience, such as audio. For instance, a customer service employee may not be able to listen to audio without putting headphones on, which is something they wouldn’t do during the workday. Thus, it’s important to also understand the work situations and contexts that employees engage with learning in.
Use media and language in an inclusive way
Finally, the use of media and language presents an important consideration for designing inclusive eLearning. Often, the devil is in the details. Learning designers face the same issue as advertisers. The imagery and visuals you use should be representative of the population that consumes your services – in this case, your employees. Therefore, you should make sure that the learners are able to see themselves in the visuals you choose. Maintain a balance when it comes to attributes like gender and race, for instance.
Similarly, the language you use in the learning should be inclusive as well. Firstly, it should be comprehendible to people whose native language may not be the one they’re learning in. Secondly, the use of vocabulary should avoid biased and loaded expressions. But perhaps most importantly, the language choices should be ones that the audience can relate to. Ideally, the language should feel personal to the audience, and not just some corporate slang and compliance lingo. If you give your learners a chance to relate, you not only make your learning more inclusive, but also more effective.