The pandemic forced may activities online and into the virtual world. It was a steep learning curve for everyone, especially in terms of making and keeping things inclusive. While many prefer in-person conferences and learning events, there are others who prefer online participation. The pandemic has therefore given people choice through hybrid events – they can choose which one suits them best.
The anytime, anywhere availability of the internet provides flexibility for learning and for participation in conferences.
Anne Fensie reflects on her experience as a teacher, learner and conference delegate in a short piece, Inclusion Possibilities. She is unable to travel and the hybrid option is perfect, and she sees this as an issue of equity. As a person with ADHD and a sensory processing disorder it makes it difficult to focus in large venues with lots of people.
“There are many financial, logistic, physical and social barriers to attending these events in person… particularly people with disability…”
Fensie urges conference organisers to consider the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) when planning a virtual or hybrid event. That means, multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression. Her “musings“ on hybrid events are an easy read where she explains things from a user perspective. As she says, “Designing an event that benefits any person improves the experience for every person.