Designing Inclusive Learning Environments

Large-scale online learning environments present new opportunities to address the need for greater inclusivity in education. Unlike residential environments, which have physical and logistic constraints (e.g., classroom configurations, sizes, and scheduling) that impede our ability to enact more inclusive pedagogy, online learning environments can be personalized and adapted to individual learner needs. As these environments are completely technology mediated, they offer an almost infinite design space for innovation. Social-scientific research on inclusivity in residential settings provides insight into how we might design for online learning environments, however evidence of efficacious digital implementations of these insights is limited. This workshop aims to advance our understanding of the ways in which adaptivity can be leveraged to buttress inclusivity in STEM learning. Through brief paper presentations and collaborative activities we intend to outline design opportunities in the scaled learning space for creating more inclusive environments.

Call for Participation

Scaled learning environments have the potential to impact diverse sets of learners, crossing geographical, cultural, social, gender, and disciplinary boundaries, among others. But how do we design for such a broad set of learners? This 3-hour workshop will bring together conference attendees to explore answers to this question through individual reflections and active design. The workshop will start with a few short presentations to create common ground and highlight specific challenges. Then participants will work in groups to develop new ideas for how to make digital learning environments more inclusive.  All conference attendees are welcome to participate but we ask that you fill out a short reflection survey about your interests and prior experiences before Wed, Aug 5 (link to survey).

Workshop Agenda – Aug 13, 9-12am ET

9-9.20: Welcome and round of introductions
9.20-10: Three 10-min presentations on prior work/challenges + questions
10-10.40: Form groups and Ideation Phase
10:40-10:45 Break
10.45-11.20: Design Phase
11.20-11.45: Group presentations + questions
11.45-12: Summary and Wrap up


  • Christopher Brooks, University of Michigan
  • René F. Kizilcec, Cornell University
  • Nia Dowell, University of California Irvine


Workshop attendance is included in the regular/student conference fee. To sign up for this workshop, please fill out this survey.