The goal of education is to support learners in reaching their full potential. While part of the educational process is to challenge learners to facilitate their growth, many learners will experience significant barriers to accessing, consuming, and interacting with learning resources.Inclusive Learning Design Handbook
If you thought inclusive learning design practices cater for the needs of only a minority of students, think again. Learners can be excluded from learning in many different ways, whether temporarily through circumstance, or throughout their learning lives. A student’s ability to engage in learning can be impacted in all kinds of ways, from technical, financial and environmental constraints, to linguistic or cultural differences, sensory, motor, cognitive, emotional and social constraints.
Why does it matter? As the Inclusive Learning Design Handbook notes, the impact of exclusion is profound:
[…] the health and prosperity of a society is in large part dependent on equal access to educational opportunities. Inequity and exclusion have devastating social and economic impacts on society as a whole (as well as the excluded individuals).
With inclusion a key theme for the Learning Design Meetup during 2022, we invite you to explore a myriad of perspectives on inclusive learning design. We’ll start with some ABCDs, but then broaden out to questions, shared wisdom and suggestions to build our shared understanding together.
The ABCD – and beyond
Inclusive learning is an incredibly broad topic, so we’re starting with a few prompts to get us all thinking about what it means to us:
- A is for Accessibility – are you struggling to alt-text your images, add captions to your course video, or work with diverse learning needs? Where should you start if this is completely new to you?
- B is for Belonging – how can we ensure every learner feels welcomed, recognised and enabled in their learning experience?
- C is for Compliance – how can we ensure we’re ticking off what’s needed, but then pushing beyond the basics?
- D is for Diversity – how can we stretch the boundaries into the ‘broader’ picture of inclusive design? How can we include diverse learners in learning experiences and learning design?
No matter where you’re starting from, we invite you to connect with new ideas, approaches and knowledge to further your understanding of inclusivity in Learning Design.
What does inclusive Learning Design mean to you?
Inclusivity isn’t just about people on the ‘edges’ of the learning mainstream – it impacts all of us, whether directly or indirectly, in obvious and more subtle ways.
You’re invited to share your perspectives on inclusivity in Learning Design before the Meetup. What does it mean in your context? What do you need to learn more about? What good practice can you share with others?
Answer three quick questions and we’ll analyse and share back key learnings during the Meetup and in follow-up discussions. Even if you can’t join the session, we’d love to hear your contribution!
We’ll be looking at these perspectives on inclusive learning design and more in our upcoming Learning Design Meetup on Tuesday, 29 March. If you would like to join the Meetup, please contact Mais Fatayer for more information. To be part of ongoing discussions on all things Learning Design, please join the conversation in the UTS Learning Design Meetup Teams channel.
Further reading and resources
There are already some great resources to support you in considering and applying inclusive practices in your learning design:
- Students Explain Digital Accessibility – a series of videos and blogs sharing the learner experience and practical advice to support inclusive practice.
- Building Belonging in 2022 – key principles for building belonging, including communicating care and concern, fostering meaningful encounters, practising radical inclusion and inspiring agency.
- Inclusive and accessible practices – find out how to help students in your subject with access requirements, and apply practices to make content accessible.
- Reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments – learn how you can support students with accessibility requirements, including the process for reasonable adjustments and alternative assessments.
- UTS Accessibility Service – services and support at UTS for students with accessibility requirements.
- UTS 2020-2024 Access and Inclusion Plan
- Inclusive Learning Design Handbook (open access)
- Handbook of Research on Applying Universal Design for Learning Across Disciplines (UTS Library access)
Feature image by Sincerely Media