Build an inclusive learning environment
Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords in HR these days. As companies try to build a more diverse workforce, they focus a lot on the hiring process, but what happens after hiring? Inclusion and equity must shape every function of the business, and employee training is no exception. Inclusive learning means that all employees have an equal opportunity to develop their skills and grow within the organization.
Opening the doors to employee development through accessible and representative training communicates your company’s values.
However, simply offering training will not do the trick – you need to make sure that your training programs are tailored to the needs of the learners. Unfortunately, this is the hardest part, as not all learners have the same needs.
Why training needs an overhaul
While the principles you teach may be universal, the training is not always âone size fits allâ. People have a variety of needs and perspectives. Unfortunately, employee training can sometimes fall into the trap of addressing only one general point of view or one learning style. Your current training program may not take into account certain needs. For example:
- Cognitive diversity (the differences in the way people think and solve problems) means that people learn through a variety of styles. So if you only offer one type of training, some people may have a hard time keeping up.
- People from different backgrounds do not always feel that their differences are welcomed and respected, especially if the training does not take into account different cultures, language barriers, etc.
- Employees of different age groups may have varying levels of technical knowledge, making it difficult for some of them to complete the online training.
- Disabled team members might encounter difficulties when it comes to attending, logging in or navigating the training.
- Employees working remotely due to the pandemic may not have access to all the resources they need for training. Attending a live online training, for example, can be difficult if they share their household resources.
The good news is that eLearning can boost inclusion and diversity. Even though it seems like online training gives employees a hard time (eg learning. Ultimately, it’s just a matter of how you use these features.
How to design and deliver inclusive training
Here are five tips for using technology to create and maintain an inclusive learning environment.
1. Focus on representation
Make sure your training program reflects your workforce. Use inclusive language. Introduce various characters and instructors to reflect the workplace you have and the workplace you aspire to have. Online training makes it easier to invite instructors from different backgrounds to speak to a large audience. Videos, pictures, and animation can showcase diversity as you represent a variety of people in different roles.
Diverse representation sends the message that your education and business welcome different perspectives. When people see themselves in your training, they see that there is a place for them in your organization.
2. Use multiple types of training content
Different people learn in different ways. The advantage of online training is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one type of training content. Make a difference and reinforce learning by presenting your content in a variety of formats. For example, you can offer a wide range of options for learning a concept. Include text, videos, images, or audio files in your LMS so users can explore the formats that speak to them the most.
People also learn at different rates. Online training offers self-paced learning to suit individual schedules and preferences. Having different types of content gives learners this flexibility. For example, they can pause a video to find additional resources or review a written guide online as needed.
3. Design for accessibility
Scan your training to see if it is accessible to everyone. Are there ways to improve it for certain needs? For example, make sure that video and audio assets have closed captions or that transcripts are available. Interactivity is great for engaging learners, but if your training includes drag and drop functionality, make sure there is an alternative. Include keyboard shortcuts for those who may have mobility limitations. Create equal learning opportunities by making it easy for everyone to access and navigate your training course.
4. Offer diversity training
Making sure your training is inclusive is a big step in boosting inclusion in the workplace, but it is not enough on its own. Consider offering training on diversity itself. Diversity training can eliminate unconscious bias. This can give teams a common vocabulary for talking about diversity and inclusion. It can also help people understand the benefits of creating an environment where everyone feels safe being themselves.
Make sure the training addresses how to interact in a positive and respectful manner. Effective courses should also show how diversity and inclusion relate to your company’s mission and values.
5. Request and implement feedback
Finally, regularly check how employees are receiving your training. What improvements can you make? The tips above will give you a solid foundation for making your training inclusive, but individual needs and challenges exist in every organization. Prepare to deal with them by providing a way to capture them.
Share a post-training survey to collect feedback and regularly reach out to teams to discuss challenges. Many training platforms make it easy to adjust content or implement new features that will make your training programs more accessible and engaging. Respond quickly to needs to make your training as effective as possible.
Inclusive learning creates inclusive workplaces
Diversity and inclusion are not tick boxes. You can’t just install software and enjoy the benefits of a diverse workplace. With careful planning, however, and the right input, you can create an environment that fosters inclusion. Boost your efforts by developing training adapted to everyone.
Opening the doors to employee development through accessible and representative training communicates your company’s values. It shows your employees what you care about by breaking down the barriers to advancement that often face underrepresented people. Make sure you create a healthy and inclusive workplace by aligning your training with your diversity and acceptance goals.
Interested in this topic? Read How to ensure that L&D drives your diversity and inclusion agenda.