Let’s Make 2021 the Year of Inclusion

It is time to prioritize Diversity and Inclusion—and craft more interesting and valuable learning content!

It feels like there is much more we all could do to make sure that both Diversity and Inclusion conversations take place in our organizations. And especially in discussions devoted to planning learning content in your organization—from needs assessment through implementation.

Diversity and Inclusion are about more than the color of people’s skin—so much more:

  • Country of origin
  • National origin
  • Hairstyle
  • Lifestyle
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disabilities
  • First language
  • Religious practices
  • Mode of dress
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Facial hair—or lack of it
  • Food and beverage
  • Visible piercings/tattoos

According to Global Diversity Practices, Diversity is “any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. In a nutshell, it’s about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin.”

Inclusion is “an organizational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed and equally treated.”



  • Do the images and narratives represent your entire workforce? (Hint: If not, how will learners be able to relate to it?)
  • Is the learning content designed to be as inclusive and accessible as possible?
  • What else could be done?


  • Assess with fresh eyes and viewpoints.
  • Ask for feedback from your learning population.
  • Confer with people you trust—including those from outside your organization.
  • Accept feedback in the spirit it was intended and take nothing personally.
  • Ask the hard questions and do the work.


  • Determine who the learners actually are.
  • Ask the learning population what their topmost interests and needs include.
  • Craft a plan and schedule to rework the content.
  • Include Diversity and Inclusion practices in all design and development planning.
  • Continuously seek feedback from learners.
  • Incorporate feedback into the next round of updates and whenever planning new learning content.
Dawn J Mahoney, CPTD
Dawn J. Mahoney, CPTD, is the program content manager for Training magazine. She also owns Learning in The White Space LLC, a freelance talent development (“training”) and instructional design consultancy. She is passionate about developing people through better training, better instructional design, and better dialog. E-mail her at: dawn@trainingmag.com.