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Disability in business
Jonathan, who has a degenerative spinal condition which means he uses a wheelchair and has carers to assist him, has first hand experience of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities – especially in the business world. “I used to run multi-million pound companies and I’d go with some of my staff into meetings with corporate bank managers and they’d say to my staff, ‘it’s really good of you to bring a service user along’, and I’d say, ‘hang on, I’m the MD – it’s my money!’
Michael Janger has a passionate interest in products and technologies that enable people with disabilities to enjoy a better quality of life, and works with businesses to effectively market and sell these products to the disability market.
I think there are two basic assumptions that you need in order support inclusion (in any context)
- All human beings are created equal (you know the American way) and deserve to be treated as such.
- All human beings have a desire to belong in a community and live, thrive and have a sense of purpose.
The important takeaway…when you assume people want to belong. Then is it our duty as educators, parents, and advocates to figure out how we can make that happen.
Institute of Community Inclusion
For over 40 years, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) has worked to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to dream big, and make their dreams a fully included, integrated, and welcomed reality. ICI strives to create a world where all people with disabilities are welcome and fully included in valued roles wherever they go, whether a school, workplace, volunteer group, home, or any other part of the community. All of ICI’s efforts stem from one core value: that people with disabilities are more of an expert than anyone else. Therefore, people with disabilities should have the same rights and controls and maintain lives based on their individual preferences, choices, and dreams.
Cerebral Palsy Career Builders
How to deal with the following:
- ‘The World Is Missing Out on a Whole Lot:’ Conversation With Disability Rights Scholar Ashley Volion (pattidudek.typepad.com)
- No bank account for people with disabilities (thehindu.com)
- Lawyer on Wheels: Beating disability to change reality (ireport.cnn.com)
- Helping people with disabilities explore sexuality (canada.com)
The Gap between theories, tools and readily available learning tools to ‘afford particular learning advantages’. Conole (2007)
It has taken over a decade from the early migration of interactive learning content from DVD to the web to the current ‘every day’ practice of creating e-learning of all types – modules, programmes, courses, qualifications and so on that are as commonplace to business as the annual audit – is e-learning bread and butter to business like accounting and legal advice, or is it the jam (or Marmite) that complements?
The ‘learning advantages’ Conole spoke of in 2007 are the business advantages of 2012 – everyday induction (or ‘on boarding’ as it is called in North America), talent management, product knowledge, skills development, management training, health and safety – you name it. What two decades ago was a linear video, or an not so linear though perfectly valid leaflet, or workbook, with or without a facilitator, is now largely self-regulated e-learning, carefully monitored, with a blended component (a tutorial in tertiary education is a workshop in business)
Littlejohn et al (2008) gave names to some of the emerging tools that are six years on, common place APPS, or software plug-ins that are easily built into a course:
- Digital assets: a single item, image, video or podcast.
- Information objects: a structured aggregation of digital assets designed purely to present information.
- Learning activities: tasks involving interactions with information to attain a specific learning outcome.
- Learning design: structured sequences of information and learning activities to promote learning.
Conole, G. (2007) ‘Describing learning activities and tools and resources to guide practice’. In H Beetham and R Sharpe (eds) Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Designing and delivering e–Learning (2007)
Littlejohn, A., Falconer,I., Mcgill,L. (2008) Characterising effective eLearning resources
When someone says something that you find profound it sticks with you for life; I was reminded of an invaluable lesson while studying the ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change‘ elective module of The OU MBA (while actually taking the MA in Open & Distance Education).
At a IPA event at the CBI I attended a lecture given by Winston Fletcher in which he talked about how ideas can be killed off by ‘forces’ in and advertising agency and at the client end. He illustrated this with a poster showing a series of light bulbs slowly going out. There was a refrain also that ended:
‘If the client proves refactory, show a picture of their factory.
And should they put on airs and graces, show a picture of their faces’.
Which sums up regional advertisers showing the proud owner of a widget factory standing outside his widget factory, rather than showing off the benefits of the product.
Once a ‘good idea’ has been hatched, by whatever process, intuitively or through considerable thought and development, the thing can gradually die a death as various departments and stakeholders get their hands on it.
It therefore requires a champion, someone to see it through, who is persuasive and persistent, who can shift from playfulness to power games.
That or you need someone to do it for you; writers have agents, creatives in advertising have the accounts team.
Anyone in advertising or marketing will be familiar with the Creative Brief; it is an industry standard. I see this run to two or three pages. The copy going to the creative team (copywriter and art director) was meant to be kept to a single page of A4 (this was a JWT). I go along with this. Didn’t Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty send away a lengthy document wanting it back as a single page? I like to quote Jonathan Swift who apologised for writing someone a lengthy letter as he hadn’t the time to write a short one. Like this ‘stream of consciousness’ of mine, it pays to edit, to think through and prioritize your thoughts.
In the context of elearning (indeed everything online), I felt it necessary to add the ‘delivery’ approach as an important creative consideration. I wonder if this team of two: words and visualizer ought to be a team of three that includes the programmer?
All things being equal what makes a piece of learning stand out? Who brings it alive? Who makes it memorable? I think an idea will stick if it hits the proverbial nail on the head, though it risks isolating some. Controversy works too, bland learning like bland advertising is forgettable. Inspirational educators count. There are those whose lectures you want to attend and those who you avoid.
Why not the professional presenter?
In corporate training we hire the likes of Carol Vorderman, Nick Ross and others to present our story; they know how to get a point across. Why can’t the academic stand back and accept the role of author? They still get the credit even if someone else speaks the words.
- They make the learning stick.
- Produce multiple ideas and present them.
- Let the audience create and present their own.