RESPECT HUB

Statement on the Chicago Black Hawks Sexual Assault Scandal

Statement on the Chicago Black Hawks Sexual Assault Scandal

“On behalf of myself and Respect Group we would like to make a formal statement in response to the Chicago Black Hawks sexual assault scandal. First and foremost, our greatest concern is for the individuals, negatively impacted by non-action. To us, this appears to be a systemic issue and can only be addressed by having EVERYONE on the same page. All stakeholders need education and the confidence to be “empowered bystanders” regardless of their role, all employees (not just players) need a safe and anonymous “whistleblower line” where they can report issues without fear of reprisal and victims need compassion and access to any supports they need. This is not new and has been our goal for the past 25 years, to build a sport culture, from grassroots on up, that puts the well-being and psychological safety of players ahead of winning.    “

The Pandemic and its effects on Girls in Sport

The Pandemic and its effects on Girls in Sport

To acknowledge the International Day of the Girl, we decided to take a closer look at the impact the pandemic has had on girls in sport and how we can take action, now, to keep them engaged.

The Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport Report by Canadian Women & Sport

“The Pandemic Impact on Girls in Sport Report, which collected data from over 5,000 Canadian families, shows that 1 in 4 girls are not committed to returning to sport. If we don’t act now to counter this trend, we might realize a new normal of over 350,000 girls sitting on the sidelines in the post-COVID-19 world.”

Source: https://womenandsport.ca/resources/research-insights/the-pandemic-impact-on-girls-in-sport/

You can download the full report by clicking here.

Interview with CBC: Pandemic slows girls’ participation in sport

“Physical activity levels have plummeted during the pandemic. For every boy that stops participating in sport, it is predicted that 4 girls will call it quits. But research offers tips on how to keep girls engaged and active for longer. Faith Fundal spoke to Wayne McNeil with Respect Group, an organization that developed a program designed to keep girls in sport.”

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-111-up-to-speed/clip/15867398-pandemic-slows-girls-participation-sport

You can listen to the full interview with our co-founder by clicking here.

The Keeping Girls in Sport program

The Keeping Girls in Sport program was created to address the challenge of high dropout rates amongst girls from sport during adolescence, aiming to give coaches and youth leaders the tools to understand and address the barriers to girls’ continued participation in sport.

We know that sport and physical activity have powerful impacts on our mental, physical, emotional, and social health, yet, even with all the positive benefits of being active girls and women are becoming less active and leaving sport.

It’s frustrating, but there are many reasons girls leave sport. Too many competing demands for their time between work and family, financial pressures, social pressure girls feel from comparing themselves to unrealistic media images, expectations of femininity, and the list goes on.

The Keeping Girls in Sport program examines these pressures, and suggests proactive ways to keep girls engaged, and excited about participating in sport and physical activity. It provides insights from girls, in their own voices, about the influence sport has in their lives. By empowering girls and helping them see themselves in a more positive light, as both capable athletes and dynamic individuals, we set them up for success. Whether they participate simply for fun and recreation, reach levels of elite competition, or grow up to be coaches and leaders themselves, that influence carries over into every aspect of a girl’s life.

So, if you coach, lead, or mentor a girl, this program is for you. It’s about reflecting on who you are as a leader, how you lead, and how you can support every girl who participates. While coaching girls and boys is largely the same, there are some unique differences that we need to consider so we can create the best possible sport environment for girls and women.

If you want to know more about the program, click here. If you would like your organization to take the program, please contact us at: sales@respectgroupinc.com

 

Respect Group launched free resources for teens with Kids Help Phone

Respect Group launched free resources for teens with Kids Help Phone

We are proud to announce that we recently launched new free resources for teens in collaboration with Kids Help Phone.

Respect Group was recently commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Education to create some critical tools to assist youth (14 and up) with the many mental health issues they face as they return to school, sport and activity during this unprecedented time. As we all know, mental health is of utmost importance, perhaps now, more than ever. Through close collaboration with our friends at Kids Help Phone we have created these free Mental Health Chats.

Respect Group was contracted to design and produce approximately 30 minutes of dynamic multimedia/video content to address some of the most common and significant mental health issues faced by teens (ages 14-17) today.

During our content research we sought out the foremost subject matter experts in the field of teen mental health in Canada and aligned with Kids Help Phone, who loved what we were doing and agreed to host all 4 videos on the Kids Help Phone website upon completion.

Our team decided that the best way to approach teens with this relatively heavy subject matter would be to replicate a group chat experience, in which a group of fictitious friends tackle these issues together on a fictional-yet-familiar social platform, using all of the communication modes they’re familiar with: text messaging, selfie video, gifs, photography, audio FX, and music.

We produced 4 “Chat” videos available through Kids Help Phone and here:

Tech tip: if possible, we recommend viewing these videos on a mobile device or tablet so you feel like you’re part of the group chat.

1. Mental Health Chat: Ever Get the Feeling of Something Being Off?

 

2. Self-Image Comparison Chat: This is Real, That’s Not

 

3. Anxiety & Stress Chat: Your Basic 2-headed Monster

 

4. Difficult Convo Chat: Don’t Really Want To, But Need To

 

We launched all 4 Chats on Aug. 30, 2021 on the Kids Help Phone website. Being so well received by both our client, Ontario Education, and our collaborating host, Kids Help Phone, we’re extremely proud of the end result and we hope that these resources will help many teens.

What to Expect When You Report in the Workplace

What to Expect When You Report in the Workplace

Experiencing bullying, abuse, harassment, or discrimination (or BAHD behaviours) in the workplace is harmful for both employees and the organization as a whole. It is important for all employees and workplace leaders to know how to address BAHD behaviours and what they can do to support themselves and others. The information below, adapted from our Respect in the Workplace program, outlines key steps for reporting BAHD behaviour in the workplace. 

 

Write an Incident Report:

 

After witnessing or experiencing an incident of BAHD behaviour, it is especially important to record and document everything you heard, saw, read, or received. These notes and the details within them may not be formal, but may be influential in validating a formal complaint or identifying a pattern of BAHD behaviour. Your organization may have their own reporting form in place, or you can use the Incident Report template included in the Respect in the Workplace program. The report may contain more information than is needed, but will help you to guide your reporting and provide all the information you’ve gathered in a cohesive way. 

 

Submit your Report:

 

After writing up clear, concise, and detailed notes, file your Incident Report according to your workplace policies and procedures. This may mean reporting the incident to your manager, supervisor, or HR personnel. Confidentiality is critical for everyone involved, so do not discuss the details of the report outside of the confidential boundaries such as a reporting line, employee assistance programs, or counsellors.

 

Understand the Process:

 

Every organization will have unique processes for addressing BAHD behaviour in the workplace. This could include disciplinary action, mediation, or an appeal process. You should be able to find these processes in your organization’s policies and procedures, or by requesting them from your manager or HR personnel.

 

Trust the Process:

 

Once your report has been filed, don’t be concerned if your organization doesn’t keep you informed of the investigation. Their responsibility for confidentiality will often mean they can’t discuss ongoing details. Trust that for almost all cases of inappropriate behaviour, organizational policies or government legislation exist that hold aggressors accountable. Sometimes, aggressors simply need to be made aware of their behaviours, and some cases may be resolved with an apology. In more serious cases, aggressors may be formally disciplined. In the most severe cases, demotion, suspension, or even termination of employment may be the result. However, if you believe the report isn’t being handled in a timely or thorough manner, you have the right to escalate your concern internally through the different levels of your organization, or if required, to the Human Rights Commission. 

 

Understand the Effects of BAHD:

 

If you are the target or a witness of BAHD behaviour, or a colleague has disclosed an incident to you, remember to help yourself as well as the person being victimized. Experiencing and witnessing harmful behaviours may have long-term, emotionally significant consequences for everyone involved. When you’re a bystander, while it’s important to assist the victim, you should also seek help for yourself if needed. While maintaining the confidentiality of everyone involved, you can safely seek support from trusted family members, friends or colleagues, or request third-party assistance from your organization or employee assistance program. 

Sheldon Kennedy will receive the Order of Sport Award on Sunday October 3rd

Sheldon Kennedy will receive the Order of Sport Award on Sunday October 3rd

A special invite from Class of 2020-21 Inductee, Sheldon Kennedy, inviting you to help celebrate with him as he receives the Order of Sport Award on Sunday October 3rd!

Former NHL player, Sheldon Kennedy, took his personal experience, and used it to advocate for youth and profoundly changed the culture of sport across Canada, ensuring child safety remains a shared priority for future generations of parents, coaches, and administrators.

Make sure to tune in to the Order of Sport Awards presented by @everestcurling Sunday October 3rd to watch Sheldon Kennedy receive the Order of Sport, Canada’s highest sporting honour! #OrderofSport65

Get your FREE ticket here  : https://orderofsport.ca/tickets/

 

 

 

Guidelines for Handling Disclosures of Maltreatment

Guidelines for Handling Disclosures of Maltreatment

Across all levels of youth-serving organizations, activity leaders, teachers, and other adults in youth-serving roles have the responsibility to report suspected or disclosed incidents of maltreatment. Below we explore guidelines and responsibilities for reporting abuse, neglect, and other forms of maltreatment, using information adapted from our Respect in School and Respect in Sport programs. 

 

Responsibilities of Activity Leaders

 

Activity leaders who hear or suspect abuse or neglect have the responsibility to report when:

 

  • A young person discloses abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment
  • You witness an incident of maltreatment
  • A third-party discloses that a young person is being abused or neglected
  • You suspect that a young person is experiencing abuse or neglect

 

Guidelines for disclosures and reporting include:

 

  1. Look for opportunities to speak to the young person about what is going on.

  2. Remain calm to create a safe space to discuss your concerns. Though you may be experiencing difficult emotions, do not react with shock or disbelief.

  3. Be honest, up front, and don’t make promises, especially about confidentiality. Make this known clearly by saying things like, “I can’t promise to keep this a secret because we need to keep you safe!”.

  4. Reassure the young person by saying things like, “You’ve done the right thing by telling me what’s going on. What happened is not your fault!”.

  5. Assess the need for the young person’s immediate safety.

  6. Know your role and do not attempt to provide counselling or other support beyond your capacity. Instead, include the young person in the decision-making process.

  7. Refer the young person to a parent or guardian (unless they are the alleged perpetrator), or an adult with whom they feel safe, like a relative, friend or coach.

  8. Report incidents or suspicions to child protection authorities or police.

  9. Do not confront the perpetrator.

  10. Fully complete an Incident Report and any other required organizational procedures. Your organization may have a standard form, but if not, you can use the form from our Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders program. Completing this report is especially important if there is a criminal investigation.

  11. Remember to take care of yourself and seek support if you need it. Hearing a disclosure or witnessing maltreatment may be emotionally difficult. While maintaining confidentiality, you can seek support for yourself from trusted friends, family, or the organization. 

 

The Organization’s Responsibility

 

When a young person has disclosed abuse or neglect, or you suspect maltreatment, the organization must:

 

  1. Assist police and/or other authorities in internal investigations.

  2. Prevent the perpetrator from having contact with the young person.

  3. Never attempt to conduct their own investigation without first consulting with Child Protection Authorities and/or police. 

 

Reference:

 

Fairholm, J., (2003) Hearing the Hurt, Changing the Future, 2nd Edition – Preventing Child/Youth Maltreatment, Canadian Red Cross

Steps for Reporting Abuse, Maltreatment, and Inappropriate Conduct

Steps for Reporting Abuse, Maltreatment, and Inappropriate Conduct

As youth leaders, it can be challenging to know what to do or how to react when a young person discloses to you that they have experienced abuse, maltreatment, or inappropriate conduct. The steps below can help guide activity leaders in addressing and supporting disclosures from children and youth.

 

    1. Take immediate steps to protect the young person. If necessary and safe to do so, intervene and help the child or youth out of immediate danger, or call the police and report the situation if not.

    2. Document the disclosure, word for word, as soon as possible. Document the time, date, and who was involved. Make notes immediately after your conversation with the child so the information stays fresh in your mind. This process may also include documenting comments or concerns made by the young person’s parents, caregivers, other leaders, or anyone else relevant to the situation.

    3. Be aware of your initial reaction. During this process, provide a safe, secure environment to share what has happened by focusing on staying calm and setting your personal feelings of fear, disbelief, anger or sadness aside. Know that support and resources are available to you to process the disclosure and your next steps by contacting the Canadian Sport Helpline by calling 1-888-83SPORT (77678) or emailing info@abuse-free-sport.com, available 7 days a week from 8 am-8 pm ET.

  • Listen and believe. Whether you suspect abuse and ask the child about it, or they disclose it to you, as soon as the child or young person starts talking about it, stop asking questions. Let the child continue to talk. Keep providing support, but don’t prompt or ask further questions. Reassure the child that telling you was the right thing to do. Explain that you believe them and will need to tell someone who can help them.

  • Report your concerns immediately. Always report incidents of abuse to your organization and contact your local child protection agency and/or local police service. Within your duty of care is a legal duty to report suspected child abuse. You do not need proof, just a reasonable suspicion. You do not need permission to report, nor can anyone prevent you from reporting. The report must come from the person who receives the information first-hand, not a third party.

  • Know the difference between reporting abuse and reporting inappropriate conduct. If the disclosure reported is inappropriate conduct but not abuse, it may be warranted for the organization to meet with the accused to discuss the allegations and concerns and their response to the allegations, without disclosing the source. This step only applies if there is no immediate risk of harm to the child or youth involved and no abuse of any kind has been reported. With this information, the head of the organization may choose how to proceed with handling the disclosure, either directly with the volunteer and employee, the young person, and their parents or caregivers, or through formally reporting the incident to the authorities depending on the nature of the allegations. 

 

The information above has been adapted from the following resources from the Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders program:

 

 

More information about our programs can be found through the links below:

 

Signs & Symptoms of Abuse

Signs & Symptoms of Abuse

As youth leaders, parents, and educators, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of maltreatment in children and youth. Maltreatment comes in many forms, including verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect. Below we explore the unique and often overlapping signs and symptoms of the various forms of maltreatment. 

 

Signs of verbal abuse in children and youth may include:

  • Seeming fearful of adults, including parents or caregivers
  • Showing sudden changes in behavior (ex. an outgoing child becoming withdrawn or angry)
  • Lashing out verbally at their peers

Signs of physical abuse in children and youth may include:

  • Having unexplained injuries, faded bruises or noticeable marks especially to the head, upper arms or back
  • Shying away from touch, flinching at sudden movements, or seeming afraid to go home
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries (ex. long-sleeved shirts on hot days)

Signs of sexual abuse in children and youth may include:

  • Having difficulty walking or sitting
  • Making strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without any obvious reason
  • Exhibiting unusually sophisticated behavior or sexual knowledge for their age

Signs of neglect in children and youth may include:

  • Wearing dirty clothes or being underdressed for the weather
  • Having bad hygiene (ex. regularly unbathed, matted and unwashed hair or body odor)
  • Having illnesses or physical injuries that go untreated, or lacking dental care or other medical needs

Emotional abuse underlies all forms of abuse and neglect. Signs of emotional abuse in children and youth may include:

  • Consistently showing low self-esteem and lacking confidence
  • Talking about suicide or self-harm
  • Feeling excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious

More information on preventing abuse and promoting safe, supportive environments for all children and youth can be found through our programs:

 

Emerging Themes in Workplace Psychological Safety 2021

Emerging Themes in Workplace Psychological Safety 2021

 

Workplace Harassment During the Pandemic

Despite expectations that workplace harassment might have decreased during the pandemic as many organizations shifted to working remotely, new research suggests the opposite. A survey led by Project Include, who advocate for diversity and inclusion efforts in the technology industry, found that: 

 

  • 25% of respondents reported an increase in gender-based harassment
  • 10% reported increases in race or ethnicity-based harassment
  • 23% of respondents aged 50 or older experienced an increase in age-related harassment 
  • And those most likely to experience harassment identified as Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous, female, and/or nonbinary (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). 

 

These behaviours have also taken on new forms, ranging from individual to group-based bullying, harassment, and discrimination, experienced over video calls, emails, and workplace chat spaces (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). 

 

This increase in gender-based harassment has also been found in research led by The Purple Campaign, who advocate for ending workplace harassment. Recent findings showed that 25% of employees surveyed also experienced an increase in gender-based harassment throughout the pandemic (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). 

 

Possible reasons for this increase in harassment include changes in the ways we communicate and our working environments. With more one-on-one communication occurring in isolation and the lines between work and home environments being blurred, employees may act or speak in ways that are much more casual and informal than they normally would in physical work spaces (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). 

 

To address these challenges, organizational leaders should clearly communicate to their employees that the same rules around psychological safety and professionalism apply in any type of work space, whether in the office or working from home (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). Establishing specific guidelines for video meetings, including the type of commentary in chats, having cameras and microphones on or off during meetings, and where meetings take place (for example, requiring a dedicated workspace with a professional background) can help to set a clear understanding for all employees (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). Establishing anonymous reporting systems, such as Whistleblower Hotlines, are one way to provide safe ways and mechanisms for employees to report harassment and other harmful behaviours. 

 

Providing all staff with anti-harassment training, such as the Respect in the Workplace program, can help open the lines of communication between managers and employees and create a shared set of standards for organizations as a whole (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). Finally, for this training to be effective, it should come from a lens of preparing managers and employees to act as bystanders when witnessing harassment or other harmful behaviours, instead of approaching them as either victims or aggressors in these situations (Rabasca Roepe, 2021). 

 

The Link Between Workplace Psychological Well-Being & Depression

 

New research has shown that full-time workers in organizations that don’t prioritize employee mental health have three times the risk of being diagnosed with depression (University of South Australia, 2021). The year-long study led by the University of South Australia’s Psychosocial Safety Climate Observatory, the world’s first research platform focusing on psychological health and safety in the workplace, also found that poor workplace mental health can be traced back to poor management practices (University of South Australia, 2021). If employee well-being is not prioritized and valued by organizations, these management practices can include high job demands and low resource availability, including working long hours, not rewarding or acknowledging hard work, unreasonable demands and expectations for workers, and a lack of autonomy in the workplace (University of South Australia, 2021). Along with higher rates of depression, increased levels of burnout and workplace bullying were also found within organizations that failed to support employee mental health (University of South Australia, 2021). 

 

The researchers used the term psychological safety climate (PSC) to describe the practices used by management, including communication and participation systems, that protect the health and safety of employees (University of South Australia, 2021). Other studies have found that low PSC is an important predictor of emotional exhaustion and bullying (University of South Australia, 2021). Low PSC can result in increased employee stress; in turn, this can trigger bullying, which impacts all employees involved both directly and indirectly, often leading to higher rates of exhaustion and burnout (University of South Australia, 2021). 

 

Low PSC is often found in companies that do not consult with employees and unions over workplace health and safety and those who provide little support for stress prevention (University of South Australia, 2021). Further, bullying can be both predicted and prevented, depending on a company’s level of PSC and commitment to employee mental health (University of South Australia, 2021). With the impacts of low PSC resulting in absenteeism, poor engagement in the workplace, more stress leaves and lower productivity, investing in your psychological safety climate benefits both the social and economic health of your organization (University of South Australia, 2021). 

 

Emotional Literacy as a Tool for Psychologically Safe Leaders

 

Emotional literacy, or the ability to recognize and responsibly manage emotions, is one of the key skills held by psychologically safe leaders (Howatt & Winters, 2021). Leaders with high emotional literacy understand and care about how their and others’ behaviour impacts their colleagues and can manage their emotions under pressure (Howatt & Winters, 2021). A major challenge to emotional literacy is learning to navigate unpleasant, negative emotions proactively instead of reactively (Howatt & Winters, 2021). Understanding that emotions themselves are not the problem, but how they are handled, leaders who can manage difficult emotions effectively are well poised to support their teams through challenges (Howatt & Winters, 2021). Emotional literacy has no doubt benefitted leaders throughout the pandemic, as organizations and employees navigated unprecedented circumstances and ongoing changes to daily routines.

 

Four skills leaders can focus on to develop their emotional literacy include:

 

1. Increasing your self-awareness to better know and acknowledge your feelings.

Rather than just knowing your emotions, recognize why you might be feeling them and how your reaction to these emotions might impact others, both positively and negatively (Howatt & Winters, 2021).

 

2. Manage your initial reaction.

Negative emotions can and will happen, but you have a choice in how you react. If your immediate reaction is guided by negative emotions, this can often lead to worse situations or outcomes (Howatt & Winters, 2021).

 

3. Lean into and show empathy.

Empathy, or the ability to understand and share in your employee’s emotions, is a crucial skill for psychologically safe leaders. Beyond what employees are saying, their body language and tone are important cues to recognize how they are feeling (Howatt & Winters, 2021).


4. Recognize your mistakes and repair hurt feelings.

Psychologically safe leaders are able to admit when they are wrong and have made a mistake. Mistakes will happen, and authentic efforts to repair hurt feelings and acknowledge missteps are important habits for leaders to develop (Howatt & Winters, 2021). 

 

References: 

Howatt, B., and Winters, T. (2021, July 21). Emotional literacy is a core competency for psychologically safe leaders. Occupational Health & Safety Canada. Retrieved from https://www.ohscanada.com/features/emotional-literacy-is-a-core-competency-for-psychologically-safe-leaders/ 

Rabasca Roepe, L. (2021, July 19). Why workplace harassment increased during the pandemic. Fast Company. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/90655155/why-workplace-harassment-increased-during-the-pandemic 

University of South Australia. (2021, June 24). Companies who pay scant attention to workers’ psychological health leave employees at higher risk of depression. Retrieved from https://www.unisa.edu.au/media-centre/Releases/2021/companies-who-pay-scant-attention-to-workers-psychological-health-leave-employees-at-higher-risk-of-depression/ 

Instructional Design at Respect Group

Instructional Design at Respect Group

At Respect Group, our programs are crafted to provide engaging online learning experiences that balance effectiveness with efficiency. It all begins with thoughtful instructional design. From the content and visual design to the technical structure of our programs, each program is designed to promote an accessible, user-friendly, and lasting learning experience. 

 

Interactivity & Learner Engagement Features

 

In an online environment, multiple forms of interactivity are crucial to the effective transfer of knowledge and learner engagement. To best engage learners, training must overcome the attitudes towards and challenges of an online learning environment through the writing, visual elements, and audio of a program. 

 

In an online learning environment, there are 4 levels of interactivity: passive, limited, moderate, and full, ranging from no interaction with the online learning experience to full immersion in the online learning experience (Pappas, 2015). Full online learning interactivity is achieved when learners have the opportunity to fully interact with the program content and give feedback, giving them significant control over their experience (Pappas, 2015). Some examples of this might include interactive or simulative games or exercises, audio or video that is customizable, stories and scenarios, multimedia, and more (Pappas, 2015). 

 

All of Respect Group’s programs are designed to be immersive experiences and meet the standards for full online learning interactivity. Fully immersive, interactive modern learning environments have many benefits, including:

 

  • Causing a reaction and encouraging reflection in learners through simulating real-world situations and scenarios
  • Enhancing engagement with program content and knowledge retention
  • And promoting the motivation to continue the online learning journey (Pappas, 2015)

 

From pre/post-program surveys and client testimonials, to learners reaching out and sharing how the program has changed their views and behaviours, Respect Programs consistently receive positive feedback demonstrating the benefits above. 

 

Writing

 

The design and content of Respect Programs are tailored by subject-matter experts to meet key learning objectives through micro-learning by dividing content into modules and topical components. Within these modules, expert clips, scenarios and storylines are used to contextualize the program content. Instead of focusing on definitions and concepts alone, our programs go beyond awareness and towards action, providing tools to apply what is being learned in real-life scenarios. The tone of our program scripts is conversational, with information being shared versus taught, and is designed to speak to the broadest possible audience, avoiding jargon and technical language. 

 

Our approach aligns with multiple theories of instructional design. Cross’s Adult Learning Theory maintains that personal experiences influence how a learner will interpret and engage with the information (Mehta, 2020). Program elements such as quizzes and reflection questions personalize the learner’s experience with our programs. Burrows’s Problem-Based Learning theory is grounded in the idea that the purpose behind learning is to solve real-world problems (Mehta, 2020). Through scenarios, storylines, and expert clips, real-world problems are embedded into each module of all Respect Programs. 

 

Within our programs, visual text is minimalized, aiming to complement but not overlap with verbal content and enhancing the visual experience on all types of screens. The focus is on key messaging, identifying and reinforcing core program themes. Further, white space is maintained throughout the program, which is not only visually appealing but beneficial for those with visual or reading challenges, or those for whom English and French is a second language. Handouts and additional learning resources are provided at the end of each program and clients may personalize these handouts to include their organization’s specific information and resources related to key topics covered in the program. These customized resources enable users to access this information outside of the learning space. 

 

Evidence-based research on reducing cognitive load, or the required capacity to process information, when teaching with multimedia recommends limiting the number of words presented as visual information, instead favouring narration (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). Further, offering cues on which content is essential through emphasizing key words and synchronizing visuals and corresponding narration to eliminate duplication reduces the cognitive load on learners (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). The more the cognitive load on a learner is matched with their skill level, the more likely it is that they will individualize the content to their own experiences, all of which enhances learning (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). 

 

Visual Design, Animation & Illustration

 

All Respect Programs are viewed through a primary content window, or a ‘stage’, a defined focal point for the eye to focus on. Movement, whether subtle or defined, occurs every 10-12 seconds to maintain engagement with the visual content. 

 

Our internal design team plans and creates all visual elements used in our core programming. The illustrations used create motion, enhance visual interest, and complement the audio and visual messaging being shared simultaneously. These illustrations are also used in marketing materials for all programs to promote continuity of design across all Respect platforms. The animated aspects of our programs enhance the story-telling qualities of the audio, bringing program storylines and scenarios to life. 

 

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, compared to 30% of people who learn best by hearing (Hill, 2019). Animation and illustration have been identified as key tools used to simplify and communicate complex information that is harder to capture through video or text alone (Hill, 2019). They can also be used to bring personal stories to life, focus attention, and promote discussion, all of which are key goals of Respect Programs (Hill, 2019). 

 

Accessibility to the Broadest Range of End-User Skill Sets 

 

A core feature of all Respect Programs is our commitment to creating experiences that work for all learners across different contexts, including:

 

  • Being location agnostic: our program environments are created with a high-definition rich media experience, without high bandwidth requirements 
  • Being device agnostic: our programs support a variety of operating systems and devices as broadly as possible
  • Learner skill set: most importantly, our programs are designed to be accessible for a range of learners with a variety of skill sets

 

All of our programs are designed with the highest standards of accessibility. Our Respect in the Workplace program is WCAG 2.1 AA accredited, the highest accessibility standard accepted by all levels of the Canadian government, and we are working towards the accreditation process with the rest of our programs.

In contemporary learning environments, accessibility and usability are intertwined. Accessibility can be understood as the ability of an online learning environment to adjust to the needs of all learners, and usability is the ease of use of the learning environment or the tools or resources within it (Cooper et al., 2016). Designing for higher levels of accessibility, particularly through considering the needs of learners with diverse abilities, ultimately improves usability for all;  in turn, both accessibility and usability directly impact the effectiveness of the program teachings (Cooper at al., 2016). 

 

Further, the National Center on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has created a set of UDL guidelines to promote universal design in online learning, including:

 

  1. Providing multiple means of representation
  2. Providing multiple means of action and expression
  3. Providing multiple means of engagement (McGill Library, 2021)

 

Our programs are developed in keeping with these standards to ensure accessibility for learners of all abilities and skill levels. 

 

Technical Structure Features

 

Within all of our programs, the user is in charge of their learning journey. Learners decide when they complete their learning and in what ‘chunks’, based on micro-learning modules/sections that are typically between 7-10 minutes each. At the end of each section, a preview of the next section (including section length) helps learners to decide if they want to continue. Through sequential unlocking of program modules, content and information progressively build towards key learning objectives. 

 

This structure yields two benefits that improve the effectiveness of our programs. First, the ability to follow a structure while providing options in how and when learning is completed allows users to take responsibility for their learning, building internal motivation to engage with the content (Morgan & Belfer, 2007). This structure also employs the technique of scaffolding learning outcomes from basic and broad to advanced and specific, which supports learners with a variety of skill sets progressing through their learning journey (McGill Library, 2021). 

 

Other technical features include offline program access and the personalization of an organization’s learning journey through customized design, leader messages, and handouts. The option to personalize program content is one technique that supports full immersion and the highest level of interactivity in online learning programs (Pappas, 2015).

 

You can learn more about our programs and see these elements of instructional design in action through the links below: 

 

 

Resources:

 

Cooper, M., Colwell, C., & Jelfs, A. (2007). Embedding accessibility and usability: considerations for e-learning research and development projects. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/69bb/58db9ee5ac7a6aa3fd8f1b5ef96173ee38e3.pdf 

 

Hill, D. (2019, March 22). Making the most of animation in elearning. Retrieved from https://www.elucidat.com/blog/animation-elearning-examples/ 

 

Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2003). Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational psychologist, 38(1), 43-52.

 

McGill Library. (2021, June 11). eLearning kit: Designing for e-learning. Retrieved from https://libraryguides.mcgill.ca/eLkit/designing 

 

Mehta, N. (2020, December 3). Some important instructional design theories. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/important-instructional-design-theories 

 

Morgan. T., & Belfer, K. “A framework for choosing communication activities in e-learning” In: Bullen, M., & Janes, D. P. (2007). Making the transition to e-learning: Strategies and issues.

 

Pappas, C. (2015, April 18). eLearning interactivity: The ultimate guide for eLearning professionals. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-interactivity-the-ultimate-guide-for-elearning-professionals 

 

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