This framework presents a way to create more engaging, educational trainings and courses on accessibility. It leverages research on education theory to help non-teachers create effective course content, whether that course is 10 minutes long or a week long.
|Sensory representations||Teach facts||Allow reflection||Apply learning|
|Goal||Teach concrete facts with examples to build novice understanding||Provide time to reflect, ask questions, discuss||Use exercises to move students to increasingly abstract applications of knowledge|
•Graphics and images
|•Time away (breaks)||•Summary or next steps slide|
•Draw or evaluate visual content
|•Question answer / discussion of abstract questions|
|•Self-guided exploration||•Practical application|
•Writing & submit questions
|•Write a summary of what you learned||•Write a lesson, essay, presentation|
- Write a learning goal…then use it
- Provide multiple paths to gain the knowledge that use different sensory representations
- Give time for reflection
- Move learners from concrete to abstract
- Check learning goal
- Re-enforce key points
Writing a learning goal…then use it
Learning goals help you create your course by narrowing down the focus. Learning goals should be specific and measurable.
Use your learning goal to:
- Help create your course
- Double check you’ve covered everything
- Create a checkpoint at the end to ensure the goal was met
Below are some samples beginnings to your learning goals to get you started.
Students (attendees, participants, I…) will be able to:
Note that if you are creating your own course of study, you can use this framework to guide your efforts.
You have likely heard of learning styles. If you have not, check out the first link in additional reading. This has been a popular way of thinking about learning for years but research shows that matching a learning style with a student does not improve learning. It is much more effective to make sure the materials you provide engage as many senses as possible. This flips learning styles on its head a bit, but research supports it. The sense a course material engages is called its sensory representation. Below are examples of each.
- Visual: Learn by seeing
- Presentations with graphics, charts, etc.
- Auditory learners: Learn by hearing
- Participate in lesson
- Ask questions and have students answer
- Group discussion
- Kinesthetic learners: Learn by doing
- Activities that involve movement
- Physical interactions
- Reading/writing learners: Learn by reading and writing
- Read content
- Write essays or summaries
When you design a course, its effective to use a variety of these types of materials. Fill in each box of the framework to ensure a more effective learning experience.
Give time for reflection
Build in time for students to think about what they’ve learned. These can be breaks where students stretch or snack, conversations that promote reflection, or an around the room question asking what a take away is. Be intentional about pacing your content.
Move learners from concrete to abstract
When you introduce a topic, provide concrete facts with examples. This helps novice learners grasp a topic. Over time, help them advance to more abstract concepts.
For example, if you are teaching how to write alternative text, start by explaining the alt tag. Then provide a number of examples starting with icons and moving to charts, art, and other images that can be interpreted. Give an exercise for students to try writing their own alt text. Finally discuss the results and give students a chance to reflect on what they learned. This movement from concrete to abstract helps the learning process.
Check Learning Goals
Provide a survey, assessment, or follow up question that allows you to check whether the student’s learned what you set out to teach.
Re-enforce Key Points
At the end, review the key points for the course. Consider giving students a handout or a link to the most important content.
Example: 15 minute intro to a11y
Learning Goal: Participant will be able to explain accessibility, why it is important, and at least one thing they can do to improve it
|Teach facts||Allow reflection||Apply learning|
|Visual||Presentation including a graph of disability population breakdown||Question / answer session||Next steps questions to consider in presentation|
|Auditory||Short video of someone using a screen reader||Question/answer session||Talk with a neighbor about the most actionable thing you can do to improve accessibility|
|Kinesthetic||Tabbing to the most important thing on a web page||Use the keyboard to navigate your organization’s website.|
|Reading/ Writing||Provide presentation ahead of time.||Write names of 2-3 people you know who benefit from accessibility.||Email yourself a next step.|
Learning Checkpoint: 2 question survey at completion and a follow up email
- 4 Types of Learning Styles: How to Accommodate a Diverse Group of Student. Callie Malvik. Rasmussen University
- How to write learning goals. Student affairs. Standford University.
- Learning styles theory fails to explain learning and achievement: Recommendations for alternative approaches, Dongun An, Martha Carr in Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 116, 2017, Pages 410-416