Designing accessible lessons

General issues

Skill levels: within any group, skill levels will vary. Your planning will need to recognise and accommodate the variations in skill levels across the group as far as possible.

Motivation: the most effective learning takes place when it is based on real needs and placed within authentic contexts. Try to optimise relevance and timeliness, for example by basing the session on a forthcoming assignment.

Learning styles

  • Try to appeal to different learning styles by offering a choice of activities.
  • Different formats such as worksheets or online tutorials can also cater for different preferences.
  • You can cater for a number of learning styles within the same session. You could use a mixture of methods, including PowerPoint slides, discussions, videos and practical exercises.

Disability support needs

  • Check with the School’s disability contact to find out if there are learners with additional support needs and, if necessary, seek advice on how best to include them.
  • The Equality Act 2010 requires us all to ensure the services we offer are fully inclusive. When designing activities, consider the demands on all learners’ capacities such as vision and hearing, concentration and stamina, social skills and awareness.
  • General principles for planning accessible teaching sessions include:
    • Creating a logical structure
    • Making handouts available in advance, either electronically or in paper form.  Also refer to our guidelines on producing accessible handouts.
    • Using multiple modes of communication
    • Varying methods of presentation
    • Planning mini-breaks or changing activity types
    • Incorporating checks on learner understanding so you can monitor the effectiveness of your communication
    • Ensuring your plan is flexible so you can offer options to learners


In the next chapter we will look at preparing lesson resources.