As an eLearning professional, I have an interest in learning how to design content to be inclusive to all disabilities. My curiosity is sparked with learning disabilities because they are often disabilities that are not visible to an untrained eye. The person with the learning disability itself may or may not know they have a condition or may not be open to expressing it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 15% of the US population has a learning disability. The following video lists the most common learning disabilities. Click here to view the video.
One important aspect of eLearning and/or learning design is making it all inclusive. We focus on meeting the ADA standards of accessibility, but how about taking into consideration learning disabilities? In the current workplace, three generations of workers are working side by side to create diverse talent in the workplace. So how do we design to include disabilities that people may not even be aware of?
“The three generations that make up (most of) the workforce right now are Baby Boomers (ages 51 - 70), Generation X (ages 31 – 50), and Millennials (ages 11 – 30)”
Take a moment to think about the differences between all three generations. I am going to make some very broad generalizations to show the differences in perspectives.
Baby Boomers: What disability? This generation grew up in a time where you just dealt with what life gave you. You work hard and earned long term respect in the workplace by hiding your flaws.
Generation X: Entrepreneurial thinkers, problem solvers, and reality driven. This generation may face the reality of their disability as opposed to denying it and may seek help to fix it whether they choose to disclose their disability or not.
Gen Y/Millennials: Disabilities make you unique! Embrace them! This generation is described as the “therapy generation”. They may wear their disabilities as a badge of honor since they are more accepting of their flaws.
It makes sense to include activities that encourage learning and contribution from various generations and design to include various types of activities that express different strengths in learners with disabilities.
According to the Florida Institute of Technology, here are some useful instructional strategies: