Practical tips for designing and facilitating learning experiences for neurodiverse learners

In my previous article, I mentioned what neurodiversity is, and more importantly, what it is not. I mean, this is strictly related to intellectual disability. I also put forward some general considerations on how instructional designers should ensure that the materials they create meet various learning needs and preferences. You may want to check again:
Here, I will focus on practical techniques for designing learning interventions that are effective for neurotypical and neurologically divergent learners. The two most important factors to consider are the environment and the flexibility and accessibility of the content.
Let’s start by learning about environmental management:
Auditory elements
There are several things to consider here. For example, if we are talking about students with dyslexia, voiceovers are very useful for e-learning. Not having to read the text will make the content easier to handle. For participants with ADHD, it is also a good idea to encourage them to wear headphones to minimize interference.
In addition, in order to help various types of neuro-diversified learners, instructional designers and facilitators should:
Avoid major changes in numbers;
Minimize background noise that does not increase the learning experience;
Tone and content of the speaker In e-learning, if there are multiple modules, it is important to maintain auditory consistency in all modules.
In addition to neurologically diverse learners, you may need to adapt to people with color blindness and limited visual abilities.
For elearning, it is better to enlarge the navigation buttons and leave plenty of space around it, so that the selection is easy. It is also recommended to keep white space to a minimum and reduce decorative elements so that students can focus on relevant content.
Another great technique is to present content in HTML. In this way, users will be able to customize display options through browser controls. Animations can also be very distracting, so it’s best to use them only when necessary.
In a face-to-face training environment, it is important to reduce fluorescent lighting and not let the instructor wear bright contrasting colors.
Kinesthetic elements
These are common in classroom settings. Some categories to consider here are people with autism spectrum and anxiety disorders. Participant spacing is important, as is the type of activity that may cause some of them to feel uncomfortable.
The following are some useful tips for counselors:
As long as it does not interfere with the learning process, students are allowed to move freely in the room.
There are activities that allow you to sit in different ways, such as groups or pods.
Be careful when touching people: Simple things like patting on the back can be uncomfortable for some people, so be sure to ask permission before doing so. Certain forms of neurodiversity are very sensitive to touch.
General Tips for Counselors
Rethink the Ice Breaker Action. Classroom courses usually start with a quick tour of the classroom and everyone is asked to introduce themselves and discuss their expectations. These exercises can be very stressful for introverts without neurodiversity, but even more so for people with autism or anxiety. One way around this is to use one of the many interactive applications where students can log in and answer questions, which will be displayed on the screen. A less technical version is for them to write on paper, and then the host can read it.
Don’t random nicknames; again, almost everyone at school has a nightmare; The moment you get lost in your reverie, the teacher suddenly calls you by name to answer questions you have never heard of or don’t care about. About details Description. It’s best to let people choose to participate and provide one of the anonymous options I mentioned earlier.
Avoid jargon and colloquialism; By definition, these are only known to certain groups of people. For some neurologically diverse learners, it is difficult to not feel that they have missed the focus of the discussion or missed some information in the case of group learning.
uses visual and auditory cues to prioritize information. In the case of e-learning, this refers to where you place it on the screen, how big the font is, and how eye-catching the color is. When it comes to classroom promotion, making certain things seem important falls on the trainer. You can write it down, use a different tone, or use gestures to convey the importance of something.
Tips for instructional designers
Given that neurodiversity refers to different brain pathways, it is important to consider how content design can help students deal with it better.
It is best to divide the topic into smaller units to reduce the risk of cognitive overload.
Setting clear expectations will minimize discomfort, and constant feedback will show everyone the progress that has been made.
Repetition and reinforcement are also important in learning, regardless of whether the listener has neurological diversity.
Because some students may have delays in cognitive processing, they realize that they may sometimes fall behind in conversations or activities because they need more time to understand and integrate information. As an instructional designer, you must provide them with the space to do so.
Final thoughts
The teaching of adult neurodiversity learners is a highly dynamic field, and new developments are happening all the time. No learning intervention is perfect for every participant. Nevertheless, it is important to make the content as inclusive and accessible as possible so that more people can benefit from it.

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