FLOE Inclusive Learning Design Handbook
The Floe Inclusive Learning Design Handbook is a free Open Educational Resource (OER) designed to assist teachers, content creators, Web developers, and others in creating adaptable and personalizable educational resources that can accommodate a diversity of learning styles and individual needs. Learning outcomes research shows that learners learn best when the learning experience is personalized to their learning needs. Learning breakdown, drop out and lack of engagement in education occurs when students face barriers to learning, feel marginalized by the learning experience offered or feel that their personal learning needs are ignored.
The Accessible Standardized Testing section aims to develop design guidelines for building accessible standardized testing tools for Open Education Resource (OER) authors. This section includes:
- General guidelines to consider in designing assessments.
- Functional considerations to assure standardized assessments accommodates a broader range of users with or without special needs.
- Standardized test types include low-stakes tests, high-stakes tests, and self-assessments.
- Standard test tools provide information on multiple choice questions, labeling questions, grouping and ordering questions, interactive questions, combination of multiple tools, text based questions and accessibility considerations.
The Inclusive EPUB 3 guide is for content creators and educators who wish to use EPUB 3 and are interested in making their published content broadly usable by a full spectrum of users. EPUB is an ebook format which is a container for web content that can be distributed as a whole and interpreted by supporting EPUB reader systems. The guide covers a broad range of topics that help make an EPUB 3 book more usable in different contexts. The information provided illustrates how concepts may be applied but won't make users an "expert" - they are encouraged to use this guide as a starting point and to follow the resources provided to gain additional insight. Additional resources are provided to supplement the guide.
The FLOE Inclusive Learning Design Handbook is a unique resource that those who are developing educational materials, especially Open Educational resources, for adult learners can reference. It provides a good overview with concrete examples of how to make content accessible for all. There are several sections within the Methods section that might be of more general interest, but most of the content is useful to a specific audience with a solid understanding of learning principles and content development. The Handbook applies the social model of disability, (that disabilities are created through environments and are not inherent to the individual) as opposed to the medical model. Also, the resource implicitly applies Universal Design theories, although it is not explicitly stated.
Although called a handbook, this resource links to the website for the Flexible Learning for Open Education (FLOE) Inclusive Design Research Centre at the University of Toronto which provides many options for how to navigate through the handbook. The handbook provides resources and possible collaborations for course and curriculum designers producing, revising, or repurposing public domain education resources. The design principles and tools provided can be the foundation for a more flexible use for any digital educational resource. The design and use principles and tools address a broad range of diversity considerations. Users can also contribute to the handbook. It is well worth the time to explore the many possibilities of make learning more motivating and accessible to all learners.
This is an exciting resource that is born of the digital age. It presents the resources it highlights in terms of digital design principles. The presentation of this resource’s approach to accessibility goes beyond universal design, which is portrayed as a movement based on architecture, to an open approach which is “born digital.” This refers to harnessing the flexibility of digital delivery systems to address the broadest possible way of defining diversity of learning needs.