Experts in Learning
Film is a fantastic medium for helping spark debate and open conversations around issues that may feel awkward or uncomfortable to broach, and we’re experts in using the power of film to promote positive behaviour change within organisations in an ever-evolving world.
Over the course of three decades, we’ve developed specialised expertise in creating learning content that encourages better conversations around vital issues at home and within the workplace.
Whether it’s as a one-off film for a wider campaign or an interactive learning course, we’re always trying to inspire critical thinking in the audience. We focus on developing content that will help audiences get into a space where they can question their own assumptions, misconceptions, and biases as a starting point to attitude change.
It’s why we work with companies and organisations of all kinds, using our experience to deliver learning content that brings important issues to light, including disability awareness.
Disability Awareness: An Overview
‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’.
We think it’s a pretty good ethos to live by no matter who you are, but we think it’s apt when acknowledging and supporting people with disabilities, in terms of understanding both the various impacts that disabilities have, and the day-to-day challenges that people with disabilities face.
Disabilities are many and varied, both physical and mental.
Some present in visible ways; others do not.
Similarly, the way we perceive disability has a real impact on how we frame our understanding of the barriers that disabled people face, and our response both as individuals and as a society.
Disability charities like Scope subscribe to the social model of disability (as opposed to the medical model) which asserts that ‘people are disabled by barriers in society, not by their impairment or difference’ – and it’s the model we at Team Edge advocate.
It’s worth acknowledging that people in disabled communities sometimes refer to ‘able-bodied’ people as ‘not disabled yet’. Again, the way we frame issues matters.
Whilst progress is being made towards greater awareness of disabilities, and a more inclusive, supportive, accessible, fair society for everyone, we’re still a long way from where we should be – whether we’re talking about the UK or around the world.
The statistics show that over 14m people in the UK have a disability – that’s almost 20% of the population. In effect, for every 5 people you meet today, 1 of them is likely to be affected by some form of disability. Likewise, people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed, and often due to negative stereotyping and stigma towards disabilities.
Simply put, awareness and understanding of disability is incredibly important – and it’s worth all of us trying to be more aware of the barriers that society places in the way of disabled people.
To that end, the importance of increasing awareness, and continuing to push for the changes needed to reach genuine equality, couldn’t be clearer.
Raising Awareness: Why Film Works
As we discuss here, film is one of the great learning tools. As an audio and visual medium, it can help drive positive change in a way that many alternatives can’t – particularly in terms of delivering learning around disability awareness.
It can also be adapted to be as accessible as possible for a wide range of audiences, such as incorporation of subtitles or sign-language assistance.
We’re probably all familiar with the idea of ‘walking a mile in someone else’s shoes’, of developing empathy and compassion for other people by removing ourselves from our own point-of-view and trying to imagine life from another’s perspective.
To that end, film can come to the fore here as it can literally show the world from different perspectives – and it’s a great learning tool in exploring disability awareness.
As viewers, it doesn’t just tell us, but it shows us, making it an effective medium in helping us experience how others see the world.
This could be from a 1st-person perspective, e.g. using visual effects to show how the world looks to someone with a visual impairment, or it could be combining a visual story with clever use of the audio mix to present the perspective of someone with hearing impairments.
Similarly, it can be a 3rd-person presentation, such as showing a story focused on someone struggling with mental disabilities or impairments, and how they engage with the world around them.
There are many more examples, but hopefully these demonstrate how film can both show and tell in a way that immerses the viewer and promotes effective learning engagement in a way that other learning tools are unable to.
At this point, it feels appropriate to bring in an example of our work in action and showcase how we can create effective, engaging learning content focused on vitally important social issues – and spark conversations that change perspectives for the better.
OUR WORK IN ACTION: ‘Disability Matters’
We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with Network Rail, and no more so than when we look at our work in the disability awareness space with the organisation.
As the UK government’s owner and infrastructure operator of most of the country’s railway network, Network Rail has a key responsibility in keeping the nation moving.
It’s a responsibility the organisation takes very seriously, and disability awareness is a vital part of how Network Rail meets that responsibility, for both staff members and customers alike.
Given the importance of the UK rail network to daily life across the country, it’s vitally important that Network Rail staff are disability-aware.
Network Rail required an eLearning course that would deliver on their commitment and compliance to the Office of Rail & Roads’ Accessible Travel Policy.
As well as meeting the principles of the ATP, Network Rail also has its own internal policy, ‘Equality Matters’, which covers a wide range of aspects regarding disability awareness, from ensuring colleague comprehension of the social model of disability through to inclusive communications concerning treating disabled passengers correctly, and much more.
A media-rich learner experience was required to deliver an extensive list of training outcomes, as well as accessibility provisions for subtitles and British Sign Language where required – and that’s where we came in.
Shaping Our Response
We needed to develop a course that covered the ORR’s policy list and would ensure that all Network Rail staff would be able to understand, recognise, and explain the mandatory training outcomes upon completion of the programme.
Simply put, everyone who took the course should come out of it being able to recognise and treat disabled passengers as individual people with the same need to get from A to B as anyone else.
The fact is that every member of the travelling public, disabled or not, is an individual with their own challenges, likes, and dislikes.
Providing great customer service to everybody and treating disabled passengers properly overlap to a great degree. They require empathy and understanding, thinking about things from another person’s perspective, and not just one’s own.
This would serve as our design principle in how we would create the course, emphasising the human element and framing the course from the perspective of the individual passenger.
What We Delivered
Given our approach and our desire to frame the learning from the perspective of the individual passenger, we chose to anchor the course with a guide: a disabled video presenter speaking from a position of experience who talks directly to the learner, making the content feel direct, personal, and human. They feature throughout the course in short segments, introducing and rounding off sections as appropriate, and giving the course a human framing throughout.
We then created a range of short films that would sit at key junctures during the course. Primarily, these take two forms: scenario videos and interviews.
The scenario films focused on dramatic re-enactments featuring actors which would give the learner a sense of how it feels to be a disabled passenger, showing both the difficulties faced and best practice from the point of view of Network Rail staff. These were developed with client insight to ensure authenticity, as well as presenting a range of different experiences, so they would resonate across the organisation.
The interview films were conducted with real people with disabilities talking about their experiences, both relating to travelling on the railway as well as within society in general.
We wanted to give voice to the authentic experiences of disabled people within the course so that learners would hear human stories from the source, and not think about ‘disabled people’ in abstract terms: these are real people, individuals who should be respected and treated as such.
The ‘connective tissue’ of the rest of the course takes the form of interactive screens featuring click-through content such as multiple-choice questionnaires. These presented questions and scenarios that demand the learner submit responses, designed so that progress can’t be achieved without a clear demonstration of the required learning outcomes.
The final product is an eLearn we’re incredibly proud of, both in terms of the content and the subject at hand, and the video below is a greater showcase of the course in action:
Get in Touch
We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality learning content that focuses on important subjects like this, and we hope this has provided you with a clear idea of our learning expertise in action.
Increasing disability awareness is one of many vital social issues close to our heart that we’re committed to supporting through our films; if you’re looking to create similar content to promote positive change within your organisation, we’re here to help.