Classrooms can be dizzy and overwhelming for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). background noises, lecturing teachers, and talkative peers add to the sensory overload making it difficult for students with ADHD to stay focused, follow instructions and complete their work.
Classroom activities that require students to sit in one place, take instruction, work, collaborate and engage in the classroom can be overwhelming for students with ADHD. With eLearning in play, many of these challenges have been resolved.
Online learning provides students with more control over their environment. A controlled learning environment can eliminate the problems of distractions. Apart from that, eLearning ensures that students with ADHD do not have to deal with noisy classrooms, the need to engage in classroom activities, and sticking to the classroom rules making room for personalised learning.
Additionally, the benefits of eLearning, like easy access to resources, control over the learning pace and flexibility, make it easier for students with challenges to learn as per their needs. eLearning can benefit students with ADHD in numerous ways by enhancing their learning experience and meeting their learning needs while keeping all challenges in mind.
Here are some ADHD eLearning tips to help educators create content for students with varied needs and ensure they make the best of their online classes.
Messy Brains Need Tidy Slides
Slides and screen consumption is a part of eLearning. Being cautious with a few factors can help students with ADHD. People with ADHD face the inability to regulate attention, meaning things can either be hyper-focused or scattered. When it’s scattered, they cannot get their attention to what might need it. Instead, it does the exact opposite. Their attention would keep jumping from one thing to another, making it impossible to focus on the task.
So, when it comes to eLearning, one can work around the content so you do not feed the flittering focus with unnecessary bells and whistles. This calls for clean and tidy slides. The content you’re using should only have the information that needs to be conveyed. There shouldn’t be any information or graphic that isn’t necessary and certainly, not any sort of pop-up that can interrupt the learning flow. Orderly layouts and plenty of white space can help students with ADHD stay on track.
Tidy But Not Boring Slides
ADHD often causes tension with other neurodivergent conditions that might favour regularity and consistency. Students with ADHD may find unusual and uncertain things disturbing. Hence, keeping your slides tidy, uncluttered, and non-repetitive or predictable is essential to maintain learners’ interest. The practitioners advise reducing the varied layouts and sticking to a few familiar ones to maintain consistency. Teachers must be creative with limited arrangements and balance consistency for general learners and required factors for students with ADHD. One solution to this can be having the same layouts but varied interactivity for varied learners.
Inspire From Microlearning
Microlearning may look like the best solution for learners with ADHD, but it isn’t the answer. The challenge with microlearning is that it might engage the learner for a few hours on a unit. The learner will probably not return to the course as their attention will be caught elsewhere and soon forgotten. The best kind of eLearning for a learner with ADHD is the one that captures their attention and maintains it throughout. What we can learn from microlearning to ensure that we succeed at creating eLearning for students with ADHD is bite-sized segmentation of modules, and progress tracking, with a clear roadmap to learning for ADHD learners on board.
Set Alerts for Break Reminders
Hyperfocus is a part of ADHD, evident when a learner fixes on one thing at the expense of everything else. This hyper-focus period can last between 12-16 hours without any breaks, even for the necessities like food, water and so on. This hyperfocus period can affect the lives of students with ADHD. You must build alerts for breaks so students don’t pass into the hyper-focus period. A little break reminder will support learners with this condition to stay on track without getting into the unhealthy zone. Putting a mandatory 10-minute countdown between different sections can help. The learner may or may not be interested in the reminder, but there’s no way they’ll stick around for 10 minutes of silence on a neutral screen. You’ll have to make sure your course is interesting enough for them to want to return when the 10 minutes are up!
Encouragement and praise work well for everyone, and students with ADHD respond amazingly well compared to neurotypical people. It would be best to build positive feedback in your eLearning course for students with ADHD to remain interested and motivated. Your feedback must be constructive and motivational, even if they aren’t performing well. They’ll take the praise to heart and take action upon it. One simple way is to provide personalised feedback using the learner’s details like name and other information. Another way is to incorporate specific elements of the learner’s answers and personal info in your feedback.
Use Real-World Problems
It’s observed that people with ADHD have excellent problem-solving skills. Often, they are interested in solving real-life problems. You can incorporate such instances and difficulties in your course to engage these learners. Take any events from the past that have happened and ask questions based on them. Ensure that the questions require some problem-solving for the learners. Be low on difficulty level and high on engagement quotient.
Don’t Opt For Gamification
Gamification is one of the most innovative and loved approaches to online education. However, while creating learning modules for students with ADHD, the pros of gamification can be a big boon for them but can impact them negatively. For instance, the rewards, manageable chunks and clear roadmaps will aggravate some of the worst features of ADHD, like hyper-focus, hypersensitivity, emotional reactivity and more. It is the same as pushing them into a hyper-focus mode where they would want to achieve something at the cost of anything and probably land them in situations where they behave in socially undesirable ways.
Instead of gamification in eLearning, it is advisable to consider other pathways and draw on ADHD-friendly principles to create a wholesome course that is mindful of all aspects of the neurological disorder other than just addressing the reduced attention span as commonly seen in people with ADHD.
ADHD numbers are rising, so you must learn how to curate ADHD-friendly eLearning content. Above mentioned tips will help you create courses accessible to the masses because they’re digital and have been made to fit the needs of students with varied learning needs.