One of my dad’s sayings from my childhood was “always assume good intentions.”
Growing up as an avid reader with an active imagination, my father’s advice would prompt me to consider various circumstances and motivations that may cause others to act in ways that I didn’t initially understand. This approach has pervaded many aspects of my life since; it may be why I study Instructional design today.
Instruction is all about the learner. “The learner will be able to…” What do they need to do? How will they learn it? How will they show they can? You can’t answer these questions without taking into account the perspective of the learner, and there are usually many to include. This is one of the reasons UDL (Universal Design for Learning) is so valuable. It answers the question: what is best for each individual? Occasionally assumptions must be made about the learner, but only with consideration of their experience.
What issues have you avoided by considering different perspectives of your learners? It may be something as simple as using an example in a lesson that is relevant to the learners’ lives or choosing a video with closed captioning.
To give credit where credit is due, the same wise words from my dad are also from Rebecca J. Hogue at the beginning of every online course I’ve taken with her.