Before we dive into how to make your courses more inclusive, let’s take a step back and talk about what it means for a course to be inclusive.

For a course to be inclusive, it must contain content that reflects the diverse world we live in. That means using language and visuals that are respectful and representative of learners from all backgrounds. But that’s not all! It must also remove learning barriers and be accessible to all learners—including those with disabilities. To learn why inclusive courses are essential to learning, check out this article: What Is Inclusive E-Learning and Why Does It Matter?

So what can you do to make your e-learning courses more inclusive? Check out these four tips that you can use starting today.

1. Choose Diverse Imagery

One way to make your e-learning more inclusive is by featuring diverse imagery that is representative of your learners. 

When picking out imagery—whether it’s characters, photos, or illustrations—think about how you can represent a variety of people. This includes considering different gender expressions, races, ages, sexual orientations, abilities, and nationalities. 

If you’re not sure where to find diverse imagery, try searching Content Library 360. You’ll find a wide selection of photos and diverse characters—like the ones shown here:

You can also find assets representing a wide variety of characters in the E-Learning Heroes graphics downloads, like this customizable avatar set:

Download this character set

2. Use Inclusive Language

Another key aspect of inclusion is moving beyond physical representation and using inclusive language. Inclusive language is the expression of thoughts and ideas in a way that acknowledges diversity and is free from bias and discrimination. 

For example, the greeting “Hey guys” is not inclusive of people who are women or non-binary. A more inclusive greeting would be “Hey folx.” 

But inclusive language isn’t just about gender or how we greet people. It’s also about the language or slang we use that has implications about age, race, culture, socioeconomic status, ability, mental health, and more.

When creating e-learning, whether it’s writing course copy, content for scenarios, or a narration script, make sure the language you use is inclusive. Check out these examples:

Instead of:

Try:

Crazy

Unexpected or absurd

Disabled person

Person with a disability

Elderly

Older person

Ninja

Expert or whiz

Pow wow

Meeting or gathering

 

This isn’t an exhaustive list, so take a look at this guide for more examples.

3. Select Diverse Character Names

Something that people often overlook when trying to make their courses more inclusive is character names. And I totally get it! Coming up with fictional names for characters is hard, so many of us default to names we’re used to hearing around us. But often this results in character names that are representative only of our own personal heritage—leaving out a large portion of the population. 

So next time you’re brainstorming names for characters in your courses, try to think of some that represent characters of various backgrounds.

4. Design for a Wide Range of Learner Needs 

Your learners have more than individual backgrounds—they also have individual needs. Creating training content that meets those needs means creating content that is accessible to everyone. Accessible e-learning is inherently inclusive because it’s designed for all learners—including those with auditory, visual, mobility, learning, or cognitive disabilities.

You can make your courses more accessible by ensuring the content:

The great thing about accessible e-learning is that it benefits ALL learners. For example, including closed captions for audio and video not only benefits people who are deaf or hard of hearing—but also anyone taking the course in a noisy or shared environment without access to headphones. 

Learn More

There are lots of ways you can make your courses more inclusive, whether that’s adding diversity to your visual assets, using inclusive language and diverse character names, or improving accessibility. If you want to learn more, check out the helpful resources in this article series: All About Accessibility.

How do you ensure your e-learning courses are inclusive? Share your tips in a comment below.

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