How to cater to a wide range of individual needs and differences
I want to preface this list with the most important tip for all trainers and facilitators:
“The best way to make training accessible is to do your homework.”
I can’t emphasise this enough. Getting to know learners and tailoring training directly to them will take you far. Personalise the learning. Include the learners in the learning process. Develop the learners’ skills based on their existing knowledge and experiences. We all know the best learning experiences are those we are fully engaged in and matter to us personally.
That being said, it is not always possible to find out about learners in advance. Sometimes facilitators are provided with very little information. Often it is assumed that one size fits all. And some learners prefer not to reveal limitations or disabilities which is their absolute right. When you don’t have an opportunity to find out much about your learners in advance there are still things you can do to maximise accessibility. Here are my 10 tips.
10 things I do to make training as accessible as possible
1. Provide information up front about the learning environment and expectations (for example: zoom, whiteboard, reading, group activities)
2. Invite learners to contact me directly if they have any questions or needs before the training event
3. Use more than one method of delivery wherever possible (this includes resources in different formats)
4. For text-based resources, incorporate meaningful imagery that is labelled with alt text
5. Use person centred language and concise explanations with as little jargon as possible
6. Provide a glossary where jargon is unavoidable
7. Break learning into manageable chunks and scaffold it so new concepts are reinforced before adding complexity
8. Provide regular breaks
9. Include ice-breaker activities that are relevant to the topic
10. Invite learners to let me know about their experience in the learning environment and adapt my delivery to improve their experience.
Please feel free to make a comment about this list. There are always more things we can do to improve learner experience for accessibility. My ears and mind are open.