Expanding Your Reach
Nowadays, DEI isn’t a corporate buzzword – it’s an ethical obligation.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse workforces are more likely to attract top talent, improve employee satisfaction, and outperform competitors. However, attracting diverse talent isn’t enough. Companies are challenged to retain their workforce — and one of the most effective ways to do so is through learning and development.
Research shows that when learners feel emotionally invested, they engage more. In fact, it’s known as affective learning and is one of the three learning domains. By incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (aka “DEI”) into digital learning experiences, learners are more likely to feel included and valued.
But how do you effectively incorporate DEI into eLearning? That’s what we’re here for. In this guide, we’ll explore the strategies for designing DEI-centric learning experiences such as accessibility considerations, language options, and cultural sensitivity.
Learners with disabilities often struggle to access or engage with digital content, creating a sense of exclusion. To make digital learning accessible to learners with disabilities, it’s essential to follow accessibility standards and guidelines. One of the guidelines to follow is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which outlines best practices for:
Text alternatives: Providing a text summary of visuals
Keyboard accessibility: Ability to navigate through learning using the keyboard (ie. the tab button or arrow keys)
Color contrast: Ensuring high-contrast such as black text on white background
Captioning: Text transcription of audio or verbal descriptions of visuals
Additionally, digital learning experiences should be tech-agnostic. Since more and more people rely on their smartphones or tablets to access digital content, learning experiences should be responsive to different screen sizes, orientations (portrait vs. landscape), and navigational features.
There are a variety of websites and apps that will scan your published content (ie. website or graphics) for accessibility using these guidelines and provide tips on what to improve.
When learners have access to content in their preferred language, they are more likely to feel included and engage with the material. Here are some benefits of or translated content incorporating subtitles:
Subtitles: Helps learners who are not proficient in the language of instruction better understand the content.
Translation: Helps learners overcome language barriers and improve their understanding of the content.
Transcriptions: Beneficial for learners who prefer to read instead of watching videos.
Note: While there are tons of machine translation tools available to auto-translate material, they may not always be accurate. Always have a human translator review material for accuracy.
Cultural sensitivity is another way to promote DEI in digital learning experiences. This means designing learning experiences that consider (or perhaps celebrate!) cultural differences. We’ve curated a few of our best practices:
Use images and videos that represent diversity: Learners should be able to see themselves represented in the content. Use images and videos that represent a diverse range of people, including different races, ages, genders, and abilities.
Use inclusive language: How we write is just as important as what we write. When crafting content, use inclusive language such as replacing gender-specific language with gender-neutral language like "they" or "their."
Consider content adaptations: Consider content carefully when designing for global audiences. For example, using the imperial system (such as weight in pounds or distance in miles) may not be as easily understood for learners who regularly use the metric system.
We’ve found that one of the best ways to remain sensitive to cultural differences when building digital learning experiences is by involving diverse perspectives throughout the design process. Not only does it help avoid cultural biases, but it helps to make content relevant to learners — regardless of their background.
Digital learning experiences will only continue to grow in demand. And as more learners take to the screen for their development, it’s critical to prioritize DEI integration. DEI is not just a buzzword that will sizzle out. It’s an ethical obligation to ensure that all learning is accessible, inclusive, and respectful to all cultures and identities.
Ready to boost your eLearning courses with DEI? Look no further! Our team of experts is here to lend a helping hand. Whether you need assistance with accessibility, graphics translations, or the whole shebang, we've got you covered.