One Size Doesn't Fit All
Supporting Deaf Workers to Learn During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The success of any change and adoption project rests in people interacting with the training. So naturally, it's important to make training accessible to everyone with the appropriate adaptations as required. Hazel Gregory, Change Consultant at Inoapps discusses her experience of making adaptations for a deaf member of staff at a recent public sector change project.
Earlier this year I was made aware that a member of staff at a customer we were working with was deaf, and required some extra support to be ready to use the new system. Of course, we endeavor to make adaptations for anyone who needs it, but being deaf in one ear myself, I was especially well-placed to ensure they received the right sort of support.
The first step was to meet with the staff member and their interpreter to discuss the specific needs for training. The line manager and the project lead were also present to be sure that all who would be involved had the same understanding of needs. Having gained the necessary understanding, I got to work adapting the standard training materials appropriately for the staff member’s role.
This became a particularly unique challenge with the decision to take all of our training online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the first training session went ahead on Zoom, a week before the Go-Live date. The session covered employee self-service and managing assignments, and involved the staff member and two signing interpreters – one to sign and another to take notes. The session was well received and the second session went ahead a week later. This time covering adding new hires into Oracle Cloud directly, as well as through ORC and internal moves from ORC.
Rather than approach this as a full day of continuous training, I made the decision to split the training in to two half-day sessions. This was done not only to optimize the staff member’s focus and information take-up, but also my own and that of the interpreters. As many of us have learned over the past year, meetings over video conferencing can be very energy-intensive, and I took the view that splitting the sessions would allow us all to be on our best form and provide the best support possible.
The main challenge I came across personally was progressing the training at the best speed for the interpreters to sign to the staff member, as well as to take notes. Although I am partially deaf myself, working with interpreters was a new experience for me. But I also came away from the experience having learned to use the Zoom annotate function, which was invaluable during the sessions, and while it was tiring due to the concentration required it was an extremely rewarding experience.
If you’d like to get in touch to discuss how I ran the training in more detail, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.