This week (May 30 – June 5) marks National AccessAbility Week in Canada. We encourage you to share your thinking this week on Twitter, using the hashtags #edci335 and #AccessAbility. Follow the hashtag to observe how businesses and individuals work to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion. See more about how you can get involved here. You do not need to be signed in to Twitter to follow a hashtag, but you do need to be signed in to post a tweet. If you are just signing up for Twitter now, you can feel free to use a pseudonym.

We all benefit from a society and economy without barriers to inclusion

When we consider how Canada prioritizes ensuring accessibility in the workforce, learning designers must ensure that education and training opportunities will meet all learners’ needs. This week’s posts will focus on identifying and reducing barriers in our learning environments to ensure all learners can meet with success. 

In B. C., parents and educational staff have been lucky enough to be receiving professional development from an educator named Shelley Moore since early 2016. She regularly shares a graphic showing the evolution of inclusion in terms of dots representing people:

Source: https://blogsomemoore.com/april-2019/

In these bubbles, the green dots represent “typical” learners, and the colourful dots represent people with learning differences. In the past two years, Shelley Moore has added an additional circle to her presentation: 

Source: https://blogsomemoore.com/2016/06/21/one-without-the-other/

How is this circle different? It eliminates the false premise of “typical” and “atypical”. The abundance of green dots in the image showing “Inclusion” in the sequence above is misleading in the way that it represents “typical” learners as interchangeable and single-faceted. In reality, instructors quickly learn that there is no such thing as an “average” learner, each person is as complex as the next. Using language about “average” minimizes the uniqueness of all individuals and can make it seem like the ultimate goal is to fit in. Keep in mind also that there are many challenges that people face which are invisible; there may be no outward sign that a person struggles with a particular challenge, even though it affects their ability to participate.

We have the opportunity to do better with our learning designs. We can celebrate the individual strengths and value the diversity each learner brings to our learning environments and workplaces. 

References:

Moore, S. (2016, June 22). One Without the Other. Retrieved from https://blogsomemoore.com/2016/06/21/one-without-the-other/

Social Development Canada. (2020, May 28). Government of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/national-accessability-week.html