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Digital Learning Must Be Inclusive

Over the course of several roles I’ve served in education, it has been rewarding and exciting to see the increasing diversity of learners at every level. Yet even as the composition of the learners is changing, the design of the learning process remains relatively narrowly focused in ways that fall further and further short of inclusiveness. This disconnect makes learning more challenging just as the knowledge economy is demanding ever more and varied skills. 

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APPR’s Online Workspace: A Nonprofit Focused on the Learner’s Experience

As a learning designer, I ask a lot of questions. But the many “whats” and “whys” of my day-to-day work helping nonprofits deliver digital learning experiences all come back to two central questions: 

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How People Shape Every Aspect of APPR’s Online Community

Just like an in-person community, an online community is a place for people to share their expertise and their dedication to a common mission. When Extension Engine partnered with Advancing Pretrial Policy and Research (APPR) to scale their in-person model, we realized that this nonprofit was connecting committed and knowledgeable stakeholders across the country. But they needed a communal space in which to learn from, encourage, and inspire one another. 

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Designing for Accessibility: An Expectation, Not an Afterthought

Like many avid exercisers, when it became clear in May 2020 that COVID-19 would keep me out of the gym for months to come, I explored getting a Peloton bike. Well, my excitement was short-lived: At 411, I simply could not comfortably reach the handlebars. If they had been adjustable, if I could have pulled them closer by one inch just one inch the bike would have worked perfectly for me. 

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Why Universities Should Maintain Hybrid Courses — and Create More

Summary

In this piece, I make a case for why schools should lean into the hybrid and online course infrastructure that they have built during the pandemic. Hybrid and online courses and programs provide schools several advantages:

  1. Increased flexibility, for both long-term and short-term student circumstances
  2. Enhanced residential learning, by incorporating personalized course data, ongoing assessments, and richer media types
  3. Better returns on investments already made, through continued emergency preparedness and differentiated education offerings for price-conscious audiences
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