I attended an Accessibility in Education workshop in London last Wednesday (24th May). Lisa Taylor-Sayles and Dr Eric Jensen presented two strands – design and evaluation.
Lisa’s presentations covered designing for accessibility and inclusivity. Her focus was on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Designing learning experiences fit for everyone, regardless of their needs.
She began with a potted history, WW2 veterans returning with disabling injuries. This led to changes in approach to town planning, infrastructure, and assistive technology. Later the principles of Universal Design developed into the Three Principles for UDL.
Read more about the Seven Principles for Universal Design here.
Read more about the Three Principles for Universal Design for Learning
Lisa gave practical advice on small changes that build to improve learning experiences. Simple steps such as using a tool to check colours benefit everyone. Rather than assuming you’ll retrofit for accessibility if needed, you increase inclusivity.
This approach dovetailed well with Eric’s strand which focussed on effective evaluation. He covered Formative evaluation, surveys and qualitative methods such as Empowerment Evaluation. Eric gave real life examples of where he’s used these approaches in his work (and what works and doesn’t).
Sessions and workshops alternated between the two strands, keeping it fresh. For me this also helped cement the need for evaluation needs to be core to any learning design. Would definitely recommend the event if it’s repeated.