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2nd January 2024

6 Insights to Create Inclusive E-Learning Modules

Headshot of Aigerim Khafizova
Author Aigerim Khafizova
Drawing of two men working together on an e-learning course

In the realm of adult education, understanding the specific needs and preferences of learners is crucial for creating effective and engaging learning experiences. My journey in the education sector, as the founder of Edgravity and a former team member of Amal Academy, has provided me with a unique perspective on how tailor-made educational approaches can significantly enhance learning outcomes.

Drawing from my experience in designing educational content across diverse regions from Central Asia to Southeast Asia, here are key insights to help educators, instructional designers, and education professionals foster more effective and inclusive learning environments.

Tip 1: Customize Learning to Match Life Stages

At Edgravity, we recognized that many of our learners, particularly mothers, were balancing work and parenting responsibilities. Acknowledging the challenges they faced, we tailored our courses to fit into their busy schedules. We understood that our learners might only find time for their studies late at night or early in the morning, so we designed our course content accordingly.

We focused on creating course videos and homework instructions that accommodated their schedules, ensuring that learning materials were concise, engaging, and flexible. Our goal was to make learning a manageable and integrated part of their daily routine, respecting the time constraints and priorities they navigated every day. This approach was part of our commitment to meet our learners where they were, providing an education that adapted to their life stages and personal circumstances.

Tip 2: Offer Flexible and Accessible Learning Options

With only one in ten people having ‘meaningful connectivity’ for full internet benefits (WEF, 2022), and roughly 37% of the global population having never used the internet as of 2021, making education accessible is crucial. In designing a blended learning model in Pakistan, we provided alternative access methods, like USB drives, for those with limited internet, ensuring broader educational access. We also optimized video sizes and utilized platforms that allowed for variable video quality, catering to different internet bandwidths, making learning more inclusive for communities with limited technology access.

Tip 3: Boost Engagement with Bite-Sized Learning

Incorporating micro-learning techniques has markedly improved engagement and course completion rates in my courses. By employing a variety of microlearning formats such as concise videos (5-15 minutes), infographics, interactive quizzes, flashcards, short articles, and podcasts, I’ve been able to deliver content in digestible bursts. This approach meets learners’ needs for quick and adaptable learning opportunities, proving especially effective for those juggling educational pursuits with other responsibilities. While the choice of format may vary based on the subject matter—for instance, programming might benefit from slightly longer explainer videos—microlearning offers a flexible solution to cater to diverse learning preferences and constraints.

Drawing of a classroom with students learning online

Tip 4: Build Community and Foster Peer-Learning

Cultivating a sense of community significantly boosts motivation and learning efficacy, a discovery we made through various tests at Edgravity. Implementing peer-learning has proven to create a supportive and interactive educational environment, particularly important in certain cultures. By facilitating courses that encourage participant interaction through collaborative homework and online discussions led by instructors, we’ve seen how sharing opinions and experiences can empower learners. This approach not only enhances the learning experience but also fosters a deeper connection among participants, making education a more communal and engaging journey.

Tip 5: Connect Learners with Culturally Tailored Content

Incorporating culturally relevant materials, as Amal Academy demonstrated, deeply resonates with learners. The majority of MOOC content, primarily produced by Western institutions, often lacks localization like case studies based on local contexts or stories reflecting regional life situations. At Amal Academy, while designing career-preparation courses for youth, we focused on incorporating references to local heroes, industries, and professionals. This approach not only makes learning more relatable and engaging but also significantly enriches the educational experience for diverse learner populations, bridging the gap between global knowledge and local relevance.

A large library space with many students working and studying together

Tip 6: Establish Strong Support Systems, especially during onboarding.

Robust support systems are crucial in enhancing learning experiences and addressing individual need. In 2017, when launching Kazakhstan’s first online courses pre-COVID-19, many adult learners were unfamiliar with online education. My team and I took proactive steps by personally calling potential customers to guide them through signing in, accessing materials, and navigating online learning. This direct support not only eased the transition to digital learning but also highlighted the importance of personalized assistance in educational success. This hands-on approach to onboarding significantly boosted enrollment rates, showcasing the value of direct engagement and support in facilitating learners’ transition to digital education.

Reflecting on these insights, it becomes clear that building inclusive e-learning environments is not just about innovation; it’s about empathy.

Understanding and addressing the diverse needs of learners from different backgrounds and life stages requires a deep commitment to inclusivity in every aspect of course design and delivery. This approach is not just beneficial—it’s essential for bridging the global skills gap and providing equitable education opportunities worldwide.

Author: Aigerim Khafizova, Education Technology, Innovations and Business Development Consultant, Founder from Central Asia, Trainer, Fulbright Scholar, M.Sc.Ed.


Shiftbalance provides a variety of e-learning modules and online trainings on topics including neurodiversity at work, allyship, and more. See our Resources page for details.