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10 tips for making your learning materials more inclusive IRD Guides and Tips

10 tips for making your learning materials more inclusive

Posted in Guides & Tips

By following the advice in this guide, you will be able to identify learning materials that are accessible to many different people. There is no such thing as a perfect solution. However, this guide intends to create an empowering starting point for your audience.

This information was compiled by Dr Ben Habib in conjunction with Inclusive Resources Development


Pro tip #1: Understand the diversity of your audience

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries with around 27% of people born overseas. Make sure your content can be understood by someone who speaks English as a second, third or fourth language.

This is achieved by selecting readings that use plain English and by providing a glossary of unusual words.


Pro tip #2: Identify readings that use inclusive language and terms

Select readings that are culturally sensitive and avoid discriminatory and gendered language.

Where this is not possible, ensure you correct this. For example, ‘business person’ instead of ‘businessmen’, ‘people with disability’ not ‘handicapped’, ‘First Australians’ not ‘Aboriginals’.


Pro tip #3: Provide content guidance notes

Provide readers with advice and information on the content they are about to access. This is most relevant where content is likely to cause harm or offence.

E.g., ‘Warning: Contains images which may be distressing to some viewers’ (ABC News).


Pro tip #4: Search for resources that are shorter, not longer

If the reading is lengthy, specify a section for your peers to focus on, such as a page range or subsection of an Act.


Pro tip #5: Choose HTML formats

HTML (web pages) should be the default format for your reading materials.

If a HTML page is unavailable but the content is in a downloadable format then provide this. Generally, a word document is most accessible, followed by a text-PDF.

Keep in mind that PDFs may be difficult for many users to access on smaller screens and require data for download which may be difficult in regional and remote places. PDFs can also be problematic for students using assistive technology, such as screen readers.


Pro tip #6: Avoid scanning your readings

Often readings will appear as a scanned book chapter or journal article. These formats are the least accessible as the text cannot be selected or formatted for ease of reading. Search for a HTML of your reading instead.


Pro tip # 7: Avoid websites that require users to subscribe

Ensure people don’t have to subscribe in order to access your readings or information, such as a third party site that might require people to log in.


Pro tip # 8: Any videos or films used should be captioned and transcribed

Ensure that all dialogue and important audio elements in a video are captioned accurately with a transcript provided.

Do not rely on automatic closed-captioning such as that provided by YouTube. Rather, seek an alternate resource or consider providing a transcript of audio content yourself.


Pro tip #9: If your content is audio only, provide a transcript

Transcripts provide a text-based version of audio-presented content, such as a recording of an interview.

Transcripts contain additional description, explanations or comments such as indications of laughter or an explosion and allow deaf or hard of hearing users to understand this content.


Pro tip #10: Make your readings available early

This will enable time for your readings to be reproduced into accessible formats such as braille or HTML if required.

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