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Inclusive design in game-based learning can foster educational experiences that are more flexible, customizable, and meaningful for students.

Prioritizing inclusivity in game-based learning

Inclusive design practices can foster educational experiences that are more flexible, customizable, and meaningful for all students

Key points:

Applying the principles and practices of inclusive design in game-based learning can expand access to rich learning experiences to a neurodiverse group of learners, according to a new whitepaper from Kahoot!.

Designing for Inclusion, Designing for All: A mindset shift and practical approaches to further your journey toward inclusive design in EdTech, illustrates how inclusive design practices can improve any edtech solution by providing educational experiences that are more flexible, customizable, and meaningful for all students.

Co-authored by Louisa Rosenheck, Kahoot!’s director of learning design, and Plub Limpiti, learning designer at Kahoot!, the whitepaper explores the challenges and vast opportunities in creating more inclusive game-based learning experiences that lead to better outcomes.

It advocates for a paradigm shift in the design process, placing inclusion at its core from conception to execution, while also serving as a guide for integrating inclusive design principles into edtech. Chief among its recommendations is the importance of understanding and embracing neurodiversity–the natural differences in how people process and experience the world–to foster learning environments where every student can thrive. 

The paper recommends five methods that can help increase inclusivity in teaching and learning:

1. Co-design: Bringing learners, especially marginalized learners, into the process as designers early on to understand their needs and base product designs on their ideas.

2. Empathy interviews: Talking to learners and other stakeholders early on in the process to understand their experience and what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past.

3. Rapid prototyping: Creating many variations of a concept and trying them out quickly and simply, to minimize assumptions and get early input on what resonates with learners.

4. Team representation: Including neurodivergent people, or those who have lived experience as a member of the target audience, on the design and development team, to contribute perspectives that may otherwise not be heard.

5. Self check: Taking time to periodically evaluate the team’s own work, considering how much it is centering student voices, who may not be accounted for, and whether it aligns with the design principles, in order to keep accountable and maintain quality.

When these methods are implemented, more inclusive and accessible edtech tools become available to the users who need them, and learners have additional methods through which to express and demonstrate their learning.

The report includes a foreword by esteemed neuropsychologist David Rose, a pioneer in Universal Design for Learning, along with insights from neurodiversity experts and actionable strategies for edtech professionals.

“Technology holds immense potential to make learning accessible and engaging for all students,” said Rosenheck. “Our new paper is a testament to Kahoot!’s commitment to leading the charge in understanding and implementing inclusive learning design practices that benefit every learner, regardless of their neurotype.”

Highlighting the Kahoot! team’s efforts in inclusive design, the report shares insights from the team’s participation in the LEGO Foundation’s Play for All Accelerator, which informed the development of Kahoot’s new Sparks solution, a teaching tool designed to build future-ready skills–such as creative confidence, divergent thinking, and evaluation–with inclusivity in mind. 

“We’ve embarked on a journey to understand and support neurodiverse classrooms, and now we’re sharing our insights to inspire edtech developers and equip educators with the tools needed to build the kind of learning experiences that welcome all learners’ needs with open arms,” said Rosenheck, “These insights are core to Kahoot!’s work, and most recently have ensured that our new Sparks tool allows for diverse learning modalities and celebrates individuality so students learn to express themselves while appreciating different perspectives among their peers.”

“Inclusivity is at the forefront of learning design, yet achieving truly inclusive digital learning solutions requires intentional effort,” said Limpiti. “As society’s understanding of neurodiversity grows, so does the need for learning tools that embrace diversity, and this white paper is a roadmap for educators and designers learning how edtech design processes can drive inclusion.” 

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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