Everyone has bias, even instructional designers.

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Bias can unintentionally exclude people from a successful learning experience — especially learners who belong to groups of people who have been left out historically.

It's your responsibility as instructional designer to reflect on your biases. That's where Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) come in. Apply them to your instructional design process to reach as many learners as possible!

What are JEDI principles?

JEDI is an acronym for:

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  1. J for Justice — Breaking down barriers to opportunities and resources so that all members of a community thrive as a collective.

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  1. E for Equity — Dispersing resources accordingly for access and acknowledging identity advantages and disadvantages.

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  1. D for Diversity — Addressing differences in intersectional identities and how these identities are given certain barriers in our societal systems.

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  1. I for Inclusion — Valuing all perspectives, creating a sense of belonging, and amplifying voices, especially those that encounter more barriers than others.

Why are JEDI practices important?

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Designing with JEDI practices cultivates a sense of belonging and increases the access that learners will have with your content, while honoring diverse perspectives and the reality of historical inequity in marginalized identity groups.

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  • Showcase diverse people only once as an accessoryin your image choices

  • Avoid self-reflection and stay comfortable with your words and writing

  • Use creators from one region only, like authors, artists, and knowledge

  • Celebrate only specific holidays for black, indigenous, and people of color

  • Isolate yourself from networking with leaders who want to lift you up

  • Ignore offensive messages in your team or any work you review

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  • Showcase diverse people in everyday life in your images with many identities

  • Address your own biases by carefully choosing your words and language

  • Attribute global creators from many countries to include varying perspectives

  • Act every day on equitable design practices in your own work

  • Collaborate with others to grow and become better a instructional designer

  • Address and suggest changes to content that has offensive messages

Ways to apply JEDI principles to your designs

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Example #1 — Intentional image selection

Whenever possible, try using images that show people with:

  • Varying ages, body types, abilities, skin tones, hair styles, and clothing

  • Diverse representation of gender, sexual orientation and relationships

  • Different nuclear family models, such as single parents, adoptions, and legal guardians

  • Multicultural traditions, holidays, and religious beliefs

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Example #2 — Meaningful alternative text descriptions for images

Try having meaningful descriptions in alt text descriptions like:

  • "Young smiling feminine-presenting adult with dark melanin skin and braids acing a calculus exam in a classroom."

  • "Old frowning masculine-presenting person with medium skin tone color is pacing the building thinking about which flowers to buy for his boyfriend."

  • "Small feminine-presenting child with light skin tone color is wearing a hijab and long dress. She is reading an anatomy textbook for a biology lab class."

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Example #3 — Wording that is mindful of personal biases

Try not to make assumptions about your learners':

  • Race, culture, traditions, religion, or lifestyle

  • Gender, sexual orientation, or romantic partners

  • Socio-economic or family situation

  • Learning preferences, mental health conditions, abilities, or disabilities

  • Intelligence level, reading comprehension, and motivation

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Example #4 — Design with accessibility at the forefront

Try designing with accessibility in the plans from the beginning with:

  • Live and asynchronous closed-captioning for videos

  • Accurate transcripts for all video and audio content

  • Image descriptions below images wherever possible

  • High contrast between the text and background colors

Take Action

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Start applying JEDI practices to your instructional designs!


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