Developing A More Inclusive eLearning Course

Developing A More Inclusive eLearning Course
Summary: This article discusses the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, ways to address it, how to spot bias, and how it impacts learning.

Create A Better Experience For Your Learners

Companies that endeavor to incorporate inclusivity when creating eLearning courses benefit in many ways. Their employees become more receptive to learning, the needless hurt or offense caused by insensitive or inappropriate language is avoided, and the overall learning experience becomes memorable and productive for the learners.

Those who don’t put a premium on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), however, risk facing backlash from their learners, increasing the likelihood of higher employee churn and the possibility of lowering team morale. According to Matt Cross, a Learning and Development specialist with Trainery, culture can impact eLearning programs in a variety of ways. He states, "If employees don’t feel represented or worse, included because of language and cultural barriers, Learning and Development programs are far less likely to achieve business goals and the desired ROI."

Diversity And Inclusion (D&I): What Is It And Why Does It Matter?

At its core, diversity is about empowering people by supporting them in celebrating their uniqueness. On the other hand, inclusion is a process and set of practices where groups of people with different backgrounds are accepted and welcomed. When D&I is practiced, the goal is that people feel respected, valued, and involved. The differences between people aren’t just tolerated, they are leveraged to create better outcomes. Diversity and inclusion can be categorized in several ways. Below are the most common:

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Religious beliefs
  • Sex and gender

Ways To Make eLearning More Inclusive

Create a better experience for your learners by making your educational materials more inclusive. Follow the tips below:

1. Content Types

Some people learn better when reading text-based materials, while others prefer graphics, videos, or podcasts. Using a diverse range of multimedia gives learners the opportunity to choose a content type that resonates well with them. Having the choice allows them to learn quicker and better.

2. Accessibility

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four American adults has some form of disability. If you don’t consider potential accessibility barriers when creating your eLearning courses, you miss out on the opportunity to serve people with disabilities.

3. Removing Or Reducing Bias

There are a plethora of ways to remove or reduce bias in eLearning course materials. Being mindful of pronouns, for example, is a good start. Instead of saying "every CEO and his managers should value diversity," say, "CEOs and their managers should put a premium on diversity." Since a CEO can be male, female, or gender-neutral, it makes sense to remove "his."

4. Language And Cultural Diversity

Localizing courses and materials for diverse audiences includes translating the content, as well as adapting the eLearning course from the source content to suit the target audience and their culture. This includes customizing the pictures, idioms, currency, fonts, symbols, acronyms, tone, measurement units, graphical User Interface, and other information. Through eLearning localization, you can deliver the exact meaning of the source while ensuring the proper emotion is conveyed in an appropriate cultural context.

Bias Is Everywhere (How To Spot It)

Training and eLearning content creators often serve many audiences. You need to answer to the project stakeholder, consider the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and consider the company’s culture (among others). All this input comes with their specific biases, on top of your own biases.

One of the best approaches to identify and help prevent unconscious bias in eLearning is to raise awareness. Start by knowing the various stereotypes that impact you, the company, and the project. This includes understanding the most common biases that can potentially interfere with creating a more inclusive eLearning course, such as:

  • Confirmation bias
    If you put more weight on information supporting your beliefs, you may have confirmation bias. It is critical to consider all new information equally, even if you have already developed an initial opinion about your course content details. Your personal feelings should not skew your course’s inclusiveness.
  • Like-me bias
    This refers to the tendency to seek out people with similar attributes, characteristics, and beliefs. You will end up missing relevant insights and information from other people if you only look for feedback and subject matter input from those who are like you.
  • Anchor bias
    The tendency to prioritize the first information you hear is known as anchor bias. This can make it challenging to take in all the information equally. For example, if you consider the information provided by the first SME as the only true source, you could risk major alignment issues and lack of inclusivity in your course content.

Learn to overcome biases through self-reflection and nurture a culture of awareness across your team.

Inclusive eLearning Teams

It’s your team’s job as eLearning designers and course content creators to reflect and respect all your learners’ diverse needs, aspirations, and capabilities. That’s not always easy to pull off, since most people lean toward a particular bias, even on a subconscious level.

That’s why you need an inclusive eLearning team, which is a diverse group of team members who work with you to create inclusive courses. A diverse group of people gives you access to varied perspectives that can enhance your project or product’s inclusiveness. It is important to not only create an inclusive team but also to empower the people on the team to infuse their perspectives and listen to their concerns.

Plus, eLearning often reflects the organization or company that produces it. A company that doesn’t value inclusiveness within its own structure can find it challenging to create inclusive eLearning courses.

Provide A Better eLearning Experience: Be Inclusive

If you want to create an environment that’s conducive to learning, be mindful of inclusivity. Inclusive courses make participants feel safe and valued. This pushes them to be more active and engaging, which are both crucial for learning.

Further Reading:

eBook Release: Welocalize, Inc.
Welocalize, Inc.
Welocalize specializes in the language, technology platforms, and postproduction processes needed to translate and localize multimedia and global e-learning courses.