As workforces become more diverse and more members of previously marginalized communities enter the workplace, diversity and inclusion training is increasingly becoming a major global trend. This kind of training helps to create a safer, more integrated work environment with stronger interpersonal relationships. By creating an inclusive work environment, stress is reduced and, therefore, employee retention increases.
In addition to diversity training, however, it’s important to incorporate diversity into all aspects of your corporate e-learning through representation and practical instructional design.
Identity-conscious content creation
Positive representation can help increase the self-esteem of those from marginalized groups, especially the youth. For that reason, ‘identity-conscious’ content creation, especially in terms of casting, is the need of the hour.
When it comes to representation in e-learning, it is of course most relevant for story-based learning, case studies, branching scenarios and first-person games, in which the learner engages with characters designed in the learning module.
These characters need to include sufficient representation of minority groups, including women and the differently abled. It’s equally important to ensure that these stories don’t perpetuate stereotypes of power dynamics or relative moral status. For example, if there is a story involving a large number of managers, ensure that there is diversity among them. This helps minority groups understand that your organization is inclusive and non-discriminatory, and lets them aspire to management roles.
Inclusive instructional design
Keep ability status in mind while developing the e-learning material. Simple things can make a big impact for differently abled learners at your organization. For example, voiceovers and audio tracks are a great support for visually challenged learners. Subtitles can really help accessibility for deaf learners. Learners suffering from ADHD can be assisted by leveraging microlearning principles.
Create a channel through which learners can share feedback and areas for improvement.
Why isn’t all e-learning diverse by default?
One reason is that it’s easier to represent only one kind of character in your e-learning material. This is especially true when your learners are not too diverse! Rather than design material starring a large number of learner groups, it seems simpler to allow the learners of minority groups unrepresented. However, since it’s essential to create a welcoming work environment for these learners, representation is important.
In corporate e-learning, content needs to be relatable in order to be engaging. One way to ensure relatability of content is to increase representation of all groups in the scenarios being used in the training module. Unfortunately, a focus on diversity isn’t something that usually comes naturally. There is a tendency to believe that everyone looks and feels like you do, in terms of skin colour, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability status, and family status.
Let’s create a welcoming environment for learners of all groups. Let’s prioritize diversity in our learning material.