5 Reasons DEI is Important to the Learning Design Process

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has become paramount to putting learner success at the forefront in the learning design process. Understanding this will ensure we are successful at making learning effective for learners.

Why DEI Matters in Course Design

  1. Not all learners are the same – Our learners have diverse backgrounds, but our goal is to guide them towards specific learning outcomes.

  2. Learners have varying degrees of motivation to participate and persist – Our motivations are tied very fundamentally to who we are, how we see ourselves and how we perceive how the world sees us. 

  3. Understand how humans actually learn in the first place – When processing new information, people compare it to their existing knowledge and use it to update their mental schema.

If we keep those three things in mind during the design process we are effectively using DEI best practices. 

Benefits of DEI in the Learning Design Process

Once we understand that not all learners are the same, have varying motivations and how they learn we can begin to understand the benefits of embracing these facts in our Learning Design Process. 

Here are the 5 things that ensure we are paying attention to different starting points, motivation and how people learn:


Fact: Humans integrate new concepts into their prior knowledge by comparing new things to what they already know.

  • Including relatable references in the learning process can increase motivation and provide opportunities for diverse opinions and thoughts, leading to more inclusive representation.

  • Learners are also motivated when they see success portrayed in ways that resemble them and their backgrounds.

  • Understanding learners’ prior knowledge and experiences can help them fill gaps and move towards learning outcomes more easily.


Fact: Learning is a process where new information has to be weighed against what we already know – there needs to be a discourse and active process for integration to occur. 

  • Collaborative opportunities for debating, processing, and discussing can facilitate integration, but a safe environment is necessary to ensure that all learners feel comfortable sharing diverse thoughts. Motivation and relatability are key factors in effective integration.


Fact: Not all learners take in new information the same way – some are visual, some need to physically touch things and “drive” the experience to retain information and some really just don’t like to read and write everything they learn. 

  • UDL, or Universal Design for Learning, promotes the use of a variety of modalities to address diverse learning styles and ensure all learners can engage with the material using their preferred methods.

  • Modalities that engage, relate, and motivate learners are crucial to effective learning.


Fact: Active, experiential methods of learning are more effective than passive methods

  • Active learning engages multiple senses and promotes deeper understanding. Doing activities instead of just reading or listening makes learning more tangible and realistic. For example, engaging with ChatGPT to complete an assignment and discussing its impact is more effective than just listening to a lecture about AI.

  • Relatability and motivation are also important. Learners are more likely to engage and succeed when they can see themselves in the learning process and when there are motivating factors that resonate with them.


Fact: Some learners are not capable of accessing learning without it being designed around barriers they may be facing. 

  • Adhering to accessibility requirements is crucial for designers to ensure equitable access for all learners, as it is legally mandated. Inaccessible experiences can be demotivating and alienating.

Interested in learning more about DEI and how to design effective learning to ensure learner success? Contact us to set up a consultation.

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