DEI and the Student Voice
Last year we shared our Ease Learning DEI Rubric for Equitable Course Design. Our approach to DEI focuses on inclusion of many voices in the learning experience as a major tenant of course design. This takes place in many forms throughout the rubric. As an organization focused on learning experience design, we have a strong ability to engage all learners. One of the most important ways to draw learners in, is to make the content relevant to them and to their lives. We make learning real by putting the learners in the center of the learning.
Each and every learner has their own voice, their own story. Their own personal reality and narrative runs within the cohort. Their level of engagement is dependent on how relevant we can make the course narrative intersect with their own on some level. In her Ted Talk, Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie articulates beautifully the concept of “Nkali” which loosely translated means “to be greater than another.” Her introduction of her own storytelling as a child that mirrored the stories she was exposed to, while comical, illustrates the dangers of a “single story.” She says, “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.” Without many voices all learners are not engaged, and single stories promote a power structure in which diversity and inclusion can not thrive, and some learners are made to feel irrelevant, invisible and ultimately disengaged.
So many images come to mind around the concept of voice in learning. An image from Lord of the Flies comes to mind….the one holding the conch shell has the power to speak! This may seem silly, but the one who is given a voice has the power and, very often, we unintentionally choose pedagogy that does not foster more than one voice, or a very limited subset. Passive learning methods are prolific. Most online courses still rely on recorded lectures, instructor chosen resources, instructor generated prompts for discussion, and objective forms of assessment. There is little regard in this model for who the learner is, what their life experiences are, and we treat learners in this model as an empty shell into which we pour wisdom. It is not until learners integrate information into their own schema, into who they are, and into their life experiences that they have truly learned something they can use and apply. Simply presenting content is not fostering this type of inclusive learning.
Pedagogy is not a requirement in most doctoral programs, and thus many instructors are experts in their content disciplines and not in how to deliver it to others. A typical DEI conversation centers on unconscious bias, not around effective pedagogy. While we can and should be aware of unconscious bias, we can ensure more inclusive, engaging pedagogy with the application of a good rubric and pairing with a learning experience design expert to create learning environments that foster DEI through good design practices. Consider this a way of making our unconscious bias conscious simply by thinking about opportunities to allow for the voices of others in our design process. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s story reminds us of the dangers of a single story, and our rubric is designed to facilitate the creation of an environment that is consciously allowing for more stories to co-exist.
Explore the Solutions
Our unique combination of learning design and development services, managed help desk support and skills assessment solutions prepare your students for the jobs of tomorrow and empower your instructors to deliver an inclusive experience for their students.
Our tech-enabled solutions identify skills gaps in your workforce. Paired with our learning design and development services we help to fill those gaps with impactful, accessible and equitable program developments, assessments and improvements.
It is vital to create accountability and transparency around validation of skills in onboarding and ongoing training programs. We help you authenticate skills for various healthcare job tracks while powering your ongoing training solutions.
“I am so grateful for your patience with us throughout this process—we’ve been able to learn a lot with this pilot and have valued you all as thought partners in that work.”
Associate Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning at Northeastern University
“This work has illustrated mapping of existing nursing content to the draft AACN Essentials through the Skillways platform. This offers us a way to move toward competency-based education by truly modularizing our content for small-bite delivery because we can measure progress toward outcomes as students proceed along individual paths.”
Director, ReNEW & RN-BSN Completion Programs University of Wyoming
“Thank you for all of your hard work and support! We appreciate your professionalism, knowledge, and participation in this wonderful experience to create two creative and dynamic courses.”
SME at NOCE
“Ease was always quick to work with us as an institution to quickly resolve issues. The follow up of agents was amazing.”