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10 diversity and inclusion educational courses you can take online right now

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Learning about diversity and inclusion is all but necessary for business. Not only are inclusive businesses more innovative, they are more profitable, making D&I training a value-add for any business or employee (on top of the interpersonal benefits).

D&I training is just one piece of the 10 trillion dollar global education market which includes a growing emphasis on courses in data science, coding and web design alongside other high-demand tech skills. But finding credible sources for your D&I training is just as important as vetting other types of learning because of the nuances, sheer variety and, ultimately, the impact of lessons available today when it comes to workplace inclusion.


Things to consider when looking for D&I training

Getting the right D&I training for you means a few different things. Namely, look for:

  • A reputable platform providing the course. This means well-known online sources like Coursera and edX, or the online equivalents at accredited educational institutions.
  • Credible source of information. While Coursera, for example, is a reputable platform, be sure to check the source of the information – usually, you’re looking for either nonprofit/community groups dedicated to the area you’re learning about or academic researchers who have spent their careers learning about the area.
  • Delivery of the course. Online courses can be a crapshoot. Ideally, you’ll want to look for D&I training that has a live learning component. If you select a course that doesn’t offer live online instruction or one-on-one time with a teacher, make sure it at least comes with modules, each offering a specific topic and clear set of learning outcomes. Many D&I training courses are actually consulting in disguise. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (and can be very impactful), but you’ll want to be sure you understand what you’re getting based on your – or your entire organization’s – learning needs.
  • Promises of the course. Avoid promises that seem to offer the moon – especially those that “guarantee” profits or more innovation. These promises don’t necessarily mean the course is bad, but be sure to check how they define success to see if it’s something that applies to your personal or organizational goals.


Overview D&I courses

    1. Centennial College + The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI): Leadership and Inclusion
      In conjunction with the CCDI, Centennial College in Toronto offers a four-course program, culminating in the Certificate in Leadership and Inclusion. Focused specifically towards business and people leaders, the course aims to teach people a new method of leadership – one that hinges on inclusion. Expect a strong balance between theory and practice in this course that’s focused on professional development.
    2. Udemy: Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity
      Taught by two human rights lawyers, their Udemy course takes a historical approach to inclusion education. The course looks at the ‘main landmarks and institutions’ that fought – and continue to fight – for gender equality and rights for people of different sexual orientations. Courses like these provide a base level overview of the facts and figures behind gender equality and sexual diversity, making it perfect for beginners or new learners.
    3. FutureLearn + Purdue University: Understanding Diversity and Inclusion
      The tagline for this D&I training course says it will help students develop attitudes, skills, and knowledge of cultural diversity. The goal of the course is to help students “create a more inclusive world”, meaning understanding of, and sensitivity to, different genders, appearances, religions, sexual orientations, and more. Looking holistically at diversity and inclusion, this course is taught by a Purdue University faculty member.
    4. Microsoft: Unconscious Bias
      Microsoft took a global stance on unconscious bias training over the past few years, and put their learnings into a free course online. The course looks at the definition of unconscious bias, how it influences behaviour, and how to mitigate its negative effects.
    5. Seneca College: Diversity and Indigenous Peoples
      Looking from a Canadian context, this diversity and indigenous peoples course will educate students on human rights legislations, mental health, and how indigenous peoples have been treated in Canadian history. Interestingly, Seneca College boasts its own student diversity as one of its strengths.


D&I training focused on the workplace

  1. Coursera + Essec Business School: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
    Coursera is an educational platform that partners with colleges and universities around the world to bring their learnings into the massive-open-online-course (MOOC) world. Taught by Essec Business School in France (course is in English), Professor Junko Takagi goes into an overview of diversity at work. Meant for beginners, this course introduces the concept of diversity, goes through its categorizations, and talks about how companies can get better by leveraging diversity.
  2. Coursera + UPenn: Optimizing Diversity on Teams
    For those with a team to lead, this course quickly introduces the concept of diversity then focuses in on how to optimize diversity for your team. Taught by two UPenn faculty members, the course looks at topics like conflict resolution, bringing diverse teams together, and more.
  3. Catalyst + edX: Inclusive Communication
    Looking at not only broad communication skills but also ensuring that the way you communicate is inclusive, this inclusive communications course will help people of all professional levels up-skill their communications game. Catalyst is an international think tank and advocacy group for women’s rights and women’s advancement in the workplace, and the instructor is their VP of their corporate practice and lead of research surrounding women of colour.
  4. Catalyst + edX: Inclusive Leadership
    Similar to Centennial College’s course, above, Catalyst partnered with edX on this inclusive leadership course. One key difference is that Catalyst uses their EACH framework – standing for Empowerment, Accountability, Courage, and Humility – as a baseline for teaching 21st century inclusive leadership. The course also helps students develop a personal leadership plan unique to their circumstances and goals.
  5. eCornell: D&I Certificate
    The D&I certificate program offered by Cornell is available both online and on campus. One of the first of its kind, the program looks holistically at how to build inclusive workplaces. The course starts with employee engagement and moves to the tools necessary to build an inclusive work environment where employees will remain engaged.

Research powered by CourseCompare, Canada’s marketplace for education.