Ways To Avoid Inherited Bias
Inherited bias in Instructional Design refers to the unconscious biases that exist in the creators of educational materials and that can impact the content and delivery of information. Inherited bias can take the form of the unequal representation of certain groups, the perpetuation of stereotypes, and the promotion of cultural norms that are not inclusive. Inherited bias in Instructional Design can limit student potential by presenting an incomplete or stereotypical view of the world that does not accurately reflect the experiences and perspectives of all students, which can lead to several adverse outcomes for students, such as:
- Limiting student potential
By presenting an incomplete or stereotypical view of the world, students may be discouraged from pursuing their interests and passions or feel they don’t belong in specific fields.
- Discouraging pursuit of interests and passions
If students do not see themselves represented in the materials, they may not be encouraged to pursue their interests and passions, limiting their potential for success.
- Fostering feelings of isolation
When students do not see their own experiences and perspectives reflected in the materials, they may feel isolated and disconnected from the learning process, making it more difficult for them to engage and succeed.
- Perpetuating stereotypes and social norms
If instructional materials perpetuate negative stereotypes and cultural norms, students may internalize these biases and develop limiting beliefs about themselves and others, limiting their potential for success.
- Impairing critical thinking
When instructional materials present an incomplete or biased view of the world, students may develop a limited understanding of the subject matter and be less able to think critically about it.
- Reinforcing social inequities
By perpetuating negative stereotypes and cultural norms, instructional materials can reinforce existing social inequities and contribute to systemic discrimination.
- Decreased student engagement
Students who do not see themselves represented or feel that their experiences and perspectives are not valued are less likely to be engaged and retain knowledge.
- Impairing student learning
Bias in Instructional Design can impact the accuracy of information presented and perpetuate misinformation.
- Widening the achievement gap
Students from underrepresented groups may struggle to succeed in an educational environment that does not reflect their experiences or values, leading to a widening achievement gap.
Overall, inherited bias in Instructional Design can limit student potential by presenting an incomplete or stereotypical view of the world, fostering feelings of isolation, perpetuating negative stereotypes, and impairing critical thinking. Instructional Designers must be mindful of their biases and strive to create educational materials that accurately represent the experiences and perspectives of all students.
1. Diversify Your Sources
Identify diverse perspectives and experiences to inform your instructional materials. Examples of how to diversify sources in Instructional Design include:
- Incorporating materials from diverse authors and experts
Rather than relying solely on materials from one or a few sources, Instructional Designers can broaden their scope by incorporating materials from authors and experts from various backgrounds. Instructional Designers can include materials from authors and experts from multiple backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, religions, and cultures.
- Consulting with various stakeholders
Instructional Designers can work with teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community leaders to gain multiple perspectives and incorporate diverse voices in their materials.
- Drawing from a range of media
Instructional Designers can incorporate a range of media, including books, articles, videos, podcasts, and online resources, to provide diverse content.
- Using various teaching methods
Instructional Designers can incorporate a range of teaching methods, including project-based learning, collaborative learning, and experiential learning, to provide diverse learning opportunities for students.
- Providing representation in images and graphics
Instructional Designers can ensure that images and pictures used in materials reflect diverse individuals and groups, including different races, genders, abilities, and backgrounds.
- Incorporating a range of perspectives and experiences
Instructional Designers can seek to include a diversity of views and experiences in their materials, including those that may be underrepresented or marginalized.
- Providing examples and scenarios relevant to different student populations
Instructional Designers can offer samples and scenarios that reflect the experiences and backgrounds of diverse student populations, including those with different cultural, linguistic, or socioeconomic backgrounds.
2. Collaborate With Diverse Groups
Work with individuals from diverse backgrounds to get feedback on your instructional materials and ensure they are culturally sensitive. Examples of collaboration with diverse groups in Instructional Design include:
- Working with teachers from diverse backgrounds
Instructional Designers can collaborate with teachers from various backgrounds and experiences to gain insights into the needs of different student populations and develop more inclusive and practical materials for all students.
- Consulting with community groups
Instructional Designers can consult with community groups, such as cultural organizations, faith-based groups, and advocacy organizations, to better understand the needs and perspectives of different student populations.
- Engaging with parents and families
Instructional Designers can engage with parents and families to better understand the needs and experiences of students outside of the classroom and to develop materials that are more relevant and meaningful to their lives.
- Collaborating with students
Instructional Designers can collaborate with students to gain insights into their learning experiences and preferences and co-create more engaging and practical materials for them.
- Embrace cultural humility
Be open to learning about different cultures, perspectives, and experiences, and strive to understand the needs of all students.
Diversifying sources in Instructional Design is essential to ensure that students have access to a range of perspectives and experiences, which can lead to more inclusive and compelling learning experiences.
Regularly Reflect On Your Biases And Assumptions
Self-reflection is an essential component of Instructional Design, as it allows designers to critically examine their own biases and assumptions and the impact of their materials on different student populations. Self-reflection can lead to more inclusive and compelling learning experiences for all students. Examples of self-reflection in Instructional Design include:
- Reflecting on personal biases and assumptions
Instructional Designers can reflect on their preferences and beliefs to identify potential areas where they may introduce bias into their materials.
- Examining the diversity of materials and resources used
Instructional Designers can reflect on the variety of the materials and resources they use and seek to expand the range of perspectives and voices represented.
- Analyzing the impact of instructional materials on different student populations
Instructional Designers can reflect on how diverse student populations may perceive their materials and how they can ensure that all students feel included and supported.
- Seeking feedback from colleagues and stakeholders
Instructional Designers can seek feedback from colleagues and stakeholders, such as teachers, students, and community members, to gain insight into how their materials are perceived and identify areas for improvement.
Conduct Regular Evaluations
Regularly evaluate your materials for evidence of bias and make changes as necessary to promote inclusivity. Examples of regular evaluations in Instructional Design include:
- Gathering feedback from teachers, students, and other stakeholders
Instructional Designers can gather feedback from teachers, students, and other stakeholders to evaluate their materials’ effectiveness and inclusivity and identify areas for improvement.
- Conducting usability testing
Instructional Designers can conduct usability testing to evaluate how easy and intuitive their materials are to use, and identify any potential areas where students may struggle or become confused.
- Analyzing student performance data
Instructional Designers can analyze student performance data to evaluate how well their materials are helping students achieve learning objectives and to identify areas where students may struggle or fall behind.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of instructional methods
Instructional Designers can assess the effectiveness of different instructional methods, such as collaborative learning, project-based learning, and experiential learning, to determine which strategies are most effective for diverse student populations.
Addressing inherited bias in Instructional Design requires creators to be mindful of their preferences and consciously promote inclusivity, cultural sensitivity, and diversity in their materials. By using these techniques, Instructional Designers can work towards creating educational materials. Stay informed about the latest research and best practices that are inclusive, culturally sensitive, and free of inherited bias, for promoting diversity and inclusivity in Instructional Design.