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The Forgotten Learner

Onboarding and role training for jobs in corporate America can look different based on the company you are working for, the culture of the company, how much money they invest in training, etc. But one thing is usually consistent across the board – the training you are completing was designed for the neurotypical learner.

Sure, training has come a long way in the last 10 years; there is no doubt about that. If it’s a good training program, it usually includes both self-paced eLearning and instructor-led, or virtual instructor-led, components. This is great because it solves for different types of learning styles: people who learn best asynchronously/at their own pace, people who learn best by engaging with others through things like roleplaying and real-life scenarios, hands-on learners, etc. But what about different learners? Solving for the styles is one thing, but solving for the PEOPLE is totally different.

Ask yourself this: What are you doing for your neurodivergent learners?

The term “neurodivergent” describes people whose brain differences affect how their brain works. This means that they have different strengths and challenges from those who don’t have these brain differences (neurotypical).

For many, they have struggled for years with things that seem easy for others, like taking tests or even participating in group assignments.

What many adults are learning about themselves is that they have undiagnosed learning disabilities, are on the autism spectrum, and/or have developmental disabilities like ADHD.

If you are an adult who has known this about yourself your whole life or someone who has just learned that you, yourself, are on the autism spectrum, it is probably obvious that corporate America is not doing its due diligence when it comes to creating learning experiences that fit each person’s learning needs.

We all bring different strengths to the table, and this is no different for the neurodivergent person entering the workforce. If all companies offered learning solutions for these types of learners, who knows what their talent benches could look like? If you look at the qualities of a successful employee, I think you will find the strengths that people with autism demonstrate align rather closely. A few examples of these traits are:

  • attention to detail
  • creative and artistic talents
  • mathematical and technical abilities
  • interests or expertise in ‘niche’ areas
  • character strengths such as honesty and loyalty


While we have stayed in our comfort zones as L&D professionals, catering to the majority of learners, we have left out an entire group of people who could potentially excel in many roles. By creating learning solutions for every learner, this can open doors for companies to hire and properly support neurodivergent individuals in their onboarding and continuous learning experiences.

As more and more companies are beginning to understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of their core values and culture, we can hope to see more accommodations in their training approaches as well.

At Lumious, we are doing just that–learning from the experts and getting firsthand insights into how we can provide inclusive learning solutions for everyone, including neurodivergent learners. If you or your company is looking for ways to expand your learning offerings in this way, let us help! As one of my favorite leaders used to say – “there shall be no learner left behind”!

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