Centering Accessible & Inclusive Learning in Your Agency’s L&D Strategy
This content was previously published by Blackboard, now part of Anthology. Product and/or solution names may have changed.
Whether your agency is back in the office, continuing to work from home, testing out a hybrid model, or has always been a dispersed workforce, learning and development strategies have been adapting to the many changes we’ve experienced over the past two years. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) have been at the center of many organizational conversations. We've put together ten tips to build a more accessible and inclusive approach to learning.
- Think about accessibility and inclusion as a journey, not a destination. Build a roadmap for success over time. Consider onboarding, skills development, re-skilling, and employee growth. Leverage people, processes, and tools to continuously improve.
- Identify the accessibility challenges. Every agency has different challenges in terms of accessibility and inclusion. Challenges should be eagerly identified since they help to prioritize workplans, decisions, and goals.
- Equity isn’t about disability or ability. Think of the full audience. You don’t know who will benefit from better accessibility, but those incremental changes will positively impact the larger workforce and your agency's mission.
- Think and plan ahead. Accessibility works better if you plan for it. By asking an audience ahead of time, or making materials available in advance, you can become aware of (and make accommodations for) more individuals. Leverage presentation best practices, too.
- Be aware of unforeseen situations. Even if you plan for your materials and presentation to be accessible, the environment can make it hard for some participants – even the room layout can have an impact.
- Build fully inclusive learning environments. Digital tools, materials, and content should be accessible to everyone involved, not just the audience. Being conscious of your tools and total library, including within the development process for new materials, can enable you and your team to focus on the areas of highest need for improvement.
- Empower learners with choice. Each learner has their optimal way of learning. Enabling a wide range of ways to interact with digital content and learning materials (alternate formats like ePub and audio) will bring increased learner engagement and improve learning outcomes.
- Save time for instructors. Provide instructors with tools and proactive suggestions to make their courses more inclusive. From properly tagging a visual to translating course materials to another language, tools can aid instructors on this journey.
- If you can measure it, you can improve it. Consider the long-term view and leverage management systems, including data and reporting tools, to track progress and ensure continuous improvement in the most important areas. Focus on progress–not perfection.
- You are not in this alone. Whether tools, internal resources or outside experts – engage help as force multipliers that will drive more rapid success.
At Blackboard, we’re here to help. Blackboard Ally supports your efforts to build accessible and inclusive content. We’re ready to learn more about your agency’s unique needs and current approach to learning and development. Reach out today.
Westlund joined Anthology in 2021, bringing nearly 11 years of government and marketing experience, including over 7 years at the U.S. Institute of Peace and 3.5 years at a MarTech company. In her role at Anthology, she works to create awareness and demand for our EdTech solutions in federal, state, and local governments, and within corporate entities. Westlund graduated from Washington State University with an M.A. in strategic communication and previously earned an M.A. from American University in international peace and conflict resolution, with a focus on conflict in the Southern Balkans.