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CASE STUDIESCreating a transformative learning experience for job seekers with disabilities

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Harper Learning stepped in to help the Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society (NDMS) develop a pre-employment program to help job seekers with disabilities find meaningful work.

Background

NDMS already had an established set of services and training opportunities, including support groups and workshops, job coaching, and a 12-week in-person employability skills training program for people with disabilities. The onset of COVID-19 sped up their shift to digital and brought to light the need for a virtual training program. Continuing their training work despite public health restrictions had become essential, and so they reached out to us for assistance.

Our goal was to deliver a learning experience that would be just as valuable and meaningful as in-person sessions, one that would allow participants across Nunavut to participate.

Cara and her team have a rare ability to ensure projects are produced at the highest quality while always incorporating our organization’s vision, mission and scope of work. Cara respectfully guides and inspires everyone around her to meet ambitious goals while producing extraordinary work. Harper Learning implemented a collaborative process in which they ensured the end result reflected feedback from all partners and stakeholders. The final product included a student-centred curriculum that is highly engaging, outcome oriented and will move our non-profit forward in substantial ways.

— Nicole Diakite, Executive Director, Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society

Challenge

NDMS wanted to create a meaningful learning experience that was both culturally sensitive and personalized, while still being self-paced and self-directed. It was essential to involve people with disabilities throughout the process to help NDMS deliver on its mission and vision.

Specific requirements of the program

  • Highly engaging, memorable, and easy to digest
  • Designed to complement NDMS-provided job coaching
  • Takes into consideration barriers and supports to employment readiness
  • Leverages the expertise and lived experience of self-advocates with disabilities
  • Culturally sensitive and incorporates Inuit Societal Values
  • WCAG-accessible and written in plain language
Graphic from the Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society (NDMS), part of a pre-employment learning experience for job seekers.

Solution: An Inclusive Learning Experience

Our proven ability to take complex materials and present them in an accessible, engaging way was exactly what this project needed. After conducting discovery sessions, our team planned and developed an online training program that included:

  • Four modules of easily digestible “microlearning” topics including program content, examples, reflection activities, practice opportunities, and self-assessment, where appropriate
  • Engaging visuals, including interactive exercises and a roadmap showing learner progress
  • Scripts for audio and video components to reinforce the learning
  • A fillable Workbook for participants to record their reflections and do activities associated with each topic in the program
  • A Trainer Guide for job coaches/case managers to follow along and support participants throughout the program

The program was designed to be fully accessible to the highest number of learners. NDMS engaged consultants with disabilities, who provided input on barriers, language, Inuit IQ values, and how to make the program empowering for learners.

We worked with NDMS’s Executive Director to create images that reflected Inuit cultural values and experiences. The contributions of self-advocates who shared their experiences using assistive technology were especially beneficial and enabled us to create a course that reflects the core value: “nothing about us without us” in our work.

“Harper Learning far exceeded our expectations in terms of maintaining cultural sensitivity and adequately addressing sensitive topics. Their expertise and ongoing professionalism were evident throughout the project, and we are thrilled with the final curriculum that is innovative, beautiful, and includes custom content that went above and beyond the scope of work. They were very responsive and accommodating to feedback.”

Pitseola Lyta, President, Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society

Strengths-based learning
Our team is proud of the work we’ve done—and continue to do—with NDMS. Every topic in the program allows participants to explore what they’re good at and what makes them unique. The course highlights the strengths they possess that can help them excel at meaningful work. We believe this program has life-changing potential, and we can’t wait to hear participants’ success stories.

“Cara and her team’s work ethic, rapid delivery of material, and frequent communication was exceptional. Te team’s background provided for extraordinary insight in terms of the most effective delivery of pedagogical material, while ensuring the learning objectives and program tools were rigorous and comprehensive. We have thoroughly enjoyed working and collaborating with Harper Learning and look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Nicole Diakite, Executive Director, Nunavummi Disabilities Makinnasuaqtiit Society