ONLINE COURSE DESIGN FOR APPRENTICES WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES. Ruth McGillivray

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1 ONLINE COURSE DESIGN FOR APPRENTICES WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES Ruth McGillivray

2 Overview LDs and accommodations LD prevalence Access to accommodations Study & Results Accessibility and UDL Implications Recommendations

3 What are LDs? Neurological disorders, not cognitive Affect how a person stores, understands, retrieves or communicates information Invisible, persistent and lifelong Pattern of uneven abilities Can occur with other disorders, may run in families Not the same as cognitive, physical or behavioural disabilities Not the result of economic, environmental or cultural influences

4 LDs and Related Disorders Common set of LDs and related disorders recognized Seldom appear in isolation

5 Dyslexia Problem with acquiring and using written language Trouble with reading, writing, spelling Linguistic problem, not visual Phonologic - turning print into sound Accommodations: Recorded texts and lectures Avoid large volumes of reading Extra time and quiet room for testing Alternate testing formats

6 Dyscalculia Difficulty building mathematical relationships Problems with basic math skills and concepts: Inconsistent results with arithmetic Inability to remember formulas, rules, concepts Difficulty with concepts of calculating time and money Accommodations: Extra time Break down multi-step problems Use multisensory, visual approach

7 Dysgraphia Difficulty with handwriting; forming letters or writing within a defined space Difficulty with spelling and expressing ideas in writing Also called Written Output Disorder Accommodations: Extra time Computer use Scribe Alternate testing/assessment methods

8 Dyspraxia Problems with messages from the brain being properly transmitted to the body Muscles work, but not together Trouble with fine motor skills, speech, posture, actions such as throwing and catching Requires work with occupational, speech and physical therapists

9 Auditory Processing Disorder Difficulty making sense of information taken in through ears Problems with phonological awareness and auditory memory Frequently ask for repetitions, trouble paying attention, often misunderstand auditory directions, find it difficult to localize sound Accommodations: Multiple means of obtaining information Simplify verbal instructions

10 Visual Processing Disorder Difficulty making sense of information taken in through eyes Problem differentiating between objects based on their individual characteristics, and perceiving/ understanding spatial relationships Accommodations: Multiple means of obtaining information Enlarged print, tracking tools, colour-coding Simplified, structured written materials

11 Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) Related disorder because of prevalence with LD Estimates vary 18-40, 33, 70% Difficult to start, stay on and complete tasks, make transitions, follow directions, organize multistep tasks and produce consistent work Accommodations: Get, focus, maintain attention Stories, interesting questions or problems Demos, hands-on Variety, interaction

12 Common Accommodations Disorders may differ, but recommended accommodations are similar

13 LD Prevalence General Population LDAC estimates10% of population has LD Statistics Canada reports 2% Discrepancy attributed to: Undiagnosed LDs Reluctance to disclose People believe they outgrow LDs

14 LD Prevalence - Trades Perception is that prevalence is higher in trades Supporting statistics: 68.1% of males with LDs in trades vs. 49% in general population (PACFOLD Report) 14.5% vs. 8.9% - percentage of disabled persons vs. non-disabled in BC who completed apprenticeship (Labour Market Outcomes of Persons with Disabilities in BC) Almost 90% of CILS trades clients have LDs (Recommendations for Provision of Accessible Resources to BC Trades)

15 Eligibility for Accommodations ITA by medical specialist CILS by referral from Disability Services Disability Services by diagnosis from qualified professional Post-secondary students must self-identify and provide a recent (3-5 years) diagnosis StudentAid BC offers bursary to assist with cost of diagnosis Adult Basic Education students receive screening and support

16 Barriers for Apprentices Must know you have an LD, be willing to selfidentify, and know how to self-advocate Recent diagnosis required to receive support Diagnosis is expensive Technical training does not meet minimum 12-week duration for StudentAid bursary Lack of instructor education in LDs

17 Study Participants Research invitations sent to over 20,000 current apprentices in B.C. 19 total responses 3 negative thought they had been targeted 4 from parents and educators expressing support 13 potential participants 6 interviewed

18 Gerry

19 Aaron

20 Craig

21 Sherri

22 Randy

23 Raymond

24 Observations Only 2 of 6 diagnosed before adulthood All: Struggled lifelong with their LDs Intelligent, articulate, able to learn Confident on the job, but not at school Demonstrated pattern of uneven abilities Pattern of comorbid disorders, but varied combinations and severity Different LDs, but themes emerged

25 Surprises Most didn t know what LDs they had, nor the symptoms and accommodations Stigma of LDs and fear of discovery Reluctance to seek support or accommodations All knew what they needed to learn; wanted anonymous access All wanted to save others from their experience

26 Common Online Learning Needs Despite lack of knowledge re their own LDs, participants knew what they needed to learn Variety of LDs, but similar needs and preferences: Instructor availability and engagement Instructor awareness of LDs and support needs Visual presentation of content Option to read or listen to text-based content The need to understand versus memorize Flexible, ample time schedule Opportunity to work at own pace Accommodations for assessment

27 Participant Learning Needs Summarized in table, aligned with accommodations from literature Alignment between needs and accommodations related to teaching methods, assignments and testing Gaps in areas of course design, learning materials and tools, and instructor feedback and support

28 Instructor Interviews Triangulated experiences of apprentices with perspective of instructors & instructional designers (IDs): 3 instructors/ids of online apprenticeship courses 1 CILS faculty member

29 Findings IDs did not know what LDs were Understood needs of audience, but not LD learners Lack of knowledge, not lack of interest Intuitively met key needs: flexibility and instructor support. To a point, program is designed assuming everyone has LDs Verified perception of study participants Aware accessibility standards and obligations exist

30 Legislated Accessibility Canadian gov t Internet standards require compliance with priority one and two checkpoints of the W3C WAI U.S. gov t standards Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act Many checkpoints specifically address the needs of individuals with LDs Both standards are extensive and complex

31 Universal Design for Learning Blueprint for creating flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that accommodate learner differences (CAST, 2010) Three guiding principles: Provide multiple means of representation Provide multiple means of action and expression Provide multiple means of engagement Principles, guidelines, checkpoints = 30+ technical pages

32 UDL Key Distinction For many education professionals, students with disabilities are seen as an encumbrance the hindrance to content mastery is seen as residing within the student and not within the teaching paradigm (Strobel, Arthanat, Bauer and Flagg, 2007, p. 81) UDL guides teachers and curriculum developers toward creating flexible materials and methods before they are put in students hands, rather than waiting until students arrive and trying to retrofit inflexible materials to each learner (Eagleton, 2008).

33 Accessibility Standards Onerous, ignored Prescriptive vs. principles-based approach Lack of knowledge vs. lack of time or money Where to start? What s critical? No visible affect of absence No quick, reliable checklist

34 LD Learners in Every Class Diagnosed and undiagnosed Unlikely to self-identify or seek accommodations due to stigma and lack of understanding Apprentices: Cannot access support without a diagnosis Do not qualify for support to get a diagnosis Are reliant on instructor and course design

35 Dependent on Instructors Disability support services provide tools and accommodations to help LD learners participate Instructor and ID determine actual course expectations Most LD accommodation strategies are instructor dependent If instructors don t know needs and strategies for support, research can t help those who need it

36 Online Implications Problems compounded for online courses No visual clues; less opportunity for conversation Instructors need specialized skills and awareness Uploading content teaching online Purpose of accessibility is not adherence to standards; rather, making learning accessible to people like Gerry, Aaron, Chris, Sherri, Randy

37 Recommendations - Resources Online resources for instructors, apprentices and sponsors Present content so it meets core needs Screening tools Support contacts Develop and validate succinct set of accessibility requirements for use in all online courses

38 Recommendations - Instructors Train instructors on LD symptoms, accommodations and resources Raise awareness to reduce stigma

39 Recommendations Course Design Apply UDL concepts to course design: Accessible to all Diagnosis, self-identification not required Conduct written assessments online Offer alternative assessment methods

40 In summary Assume there will be learners with diagnosed or undiagnosed LDs in every class Build accommodations into every aspect of course design Ensure online learners have frequent and easy access to a subject matter expert or instructor Implement accommodations that are learner controlled versus instructor dependent Do usability testing for LD learners Ensure instructors are skilled in online facilitation Use high quality visuals Ensure all learning materials can be represented in text or audio format

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