Inclusive Instructional Design

by Samantha Calamari on

Instructional design (def.) Creating learning materials and experiences, ideally digestible and interactive (ie. engaging)

Inclusive design (def.) Consideration of the range of user diversity when creating products and services

Inclusive Instructional Design (IID) Creating learning and content for a variety of perspectives and needs

Universal design (def.) Attempts to reach all learners


IID adapts content in order to fit all learner’s needs while UD attempts to apply to everyone

Customized (or near to) vs Broadly applicable

Questions to keep in mind

What learners are you reaching? Define audience characteristics

Who are you not reaching? Again, define

How can you reach those you aren’t currently reaching? Brainstorm steps on how to reach those you hope to reach

Include ways to control pace and delivery of content

Ie. subtitles, screen readers, text, videos, ability to change pace of video/audio, change color of text

Trends change, so try to keep up on new features

Include notes on features at start of course so people are aware of how they can access the materials

Control over their learning increases a user’s stake

Providing pre-assessment can give users an understanding of the gaps in their knowledge and can focus their attention accordingly later

Consider what it’s like to feel excluded (those moments of friction) and empathize with those who may feel that with your courses

Inclusive Design vs Accessibility

ID is designing with, while accessibility is designing for

ID is a method, accessibility is an attribute

Ideally, they work together

Digital Divide

Members of society who lack computer/internet access, often due to privilege (age, wealth, locale, etc.)

Survey to assess needs, don’t assume all learners are digitally literate

Make file size as small as possible

Make it easy for users to communicate challenges they may have with accessing their content

Adults have different learning needs than kids

Andragogy – Teaching adult learners and considering their needs

    Adults need “why?” – be able to decide value

        Project based instruction – Do, not memorize

        Consider varied backgrounds and experiences (which vary more w/ adults)

Autonomy to learn

Provide “to-do” tasks that users can use in their real life to practice

Learning styles

VARK – Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic (learn by doing)

Diversify content/assignment formats for each kind of learner

    Assignment examples based on type

        Visual – Videos, images; drag/drop, select the picture

        Auditory – Audio, speaking…

        Reading/Writing – Reading content, writing answers

        Kinesthetic – Physically practicing content, drag/drop, “doing the thing”

How can we better apply to all kinds of learners? The content and assessments, I think, now works well for visual and R/W learners. We could work on including more write-in your answer kind of questions, while may not be able to be tangibly graded by the system, could provide written explanations on correct answers for R/W and Kinesthetic learners. Maybe try to include anagrams for auditory learners.

    Course mentions including flashcards for learners — create to include in workbook?

Invite students to engage with the material

Course recommends using social media/forums for users to discuss. Maybe create guide for clients on how their can invite their users to better engage with the content and peers?

Instructional Design – Adult Learning by Jeff Toister

Adults must play an active role in their learning

Speak to the practical sense, allow users to make the case to themselves on why they should be invested in their learning

Six Principles of Andragogy

  1. Need to know – share purpose or objectives
  2. Experience – learning is easier when you can build on prior experience
  3. Self Concept – need to be able to guide their own learning
  4. Readiness – training works best when it can be applied to an immediate problem
  5. Problem Orientation – training focused on acquiring knowledge to address problems, rather than just learning content, works best
  6. Intrinsic Motivation – establish own motivation, alignment with own goals

Learning Theories – All Require Active Participation

    Cognitive – memorization, acquisition of knowledge

    Behaviorist – achievement of performance objectives

Constructivist – experiential learning, learning by discovery

Four Stages of Competency

Unconscious Incompetence – high confidence (relative), low ability

    Magic window is here, can’t learn unless they pass this threshold

Conscious Incompetence – low confidence, low ability

Conscious Competence – learner self confidence can remain low here, you know what you don’t know; must design training where users can measure their own progress so that users can keep that in perspective

Unconscious Competence – high confidence, high ability

Passive vs. Active

    Provide users a point to pause, think, and apply knowledge

Active Pros – Challenge, Confirmation, Feedback

Repetition in information with variety in delivery (VARK) increases engagement

Brains instinctively fill in gaps in knowledge. Can be used to develop active learning and create connections. Repeating visuals, content, info can be used to this goal.

Barriers in Learning

Squish – learning objectives aren’t defined, can happen often with soft skills training

No Proof – activities that don’t inform if users are engaging or not

I Sorta Got it – getting stuck in the learning curve

Vortex – stressed participants (from weak understanding or heavy workload) return to instinctive behaviors

Use it or Lose it – infrequent use of skills causes the loss of that information