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807 Linguistics for Inclusive Learning

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Thursday, April 21

Tracks: Instructional Design

Is the word choice in your content unintentionally excluding certain learners? Even learners who share a common language (e.g., English) may have differing backgrounds and cultures that can impact how information is—or is not—absorbed. Language is powerful, especially when it comes to learning. Sometimes competing demands for content (Make it impactful! Make it engaging! Make it quickly!) lead to language usage that may be more accessible to some learners than others. How can you tell? And what can you do about it? Join this session to find out.

By following some basic linguistic tips, you can learn how to identify and address word choices to make your content more inclusive. Explore the appeals and consequences of using pop-culture references, puns, idioms, jargon, and acronyms in your learning content. Consider simple, thoughtful grammatical adjustments to enhance the consistency and tone of the learning experience. Strategize for eliciting feedback from a variety of learner demographics throughout the content development process. By applying these inclusive language approaches, you can create a more direct path to the heart of your content’s learning objectives, and to the benefit of a broader group of learners.

In this session, you will learn:

  • What to look for when writing and reviewing your content for language inclusivity
  • Considerations for including/excluding pop culture references, puns, and idioms in your learning content
  • How to approach jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations
  • How to apply consistent verb tense for smooth learning consumption
  • How the use of personal pronouns (I, you, we) sets the tone for the learning experience
  • Strategies for sentence simplification
  • Recommendations for including a variety of demographics in the content review process

Liz Derr

Learning Experience Designer


Liz Derr is a learning experience professional with 10+ years of leadership in adult learning methodology, instructional design, curriculum development, and digital learning product development. She currently works in learning experience design for Lyft and previously studied linguistics and worked with international students in nonprofit and higher educations sectors. Liz is passionate about providing equitable opportunities and access to quality educational experiences for all learners.