PODCAST – Equity, Privilege, and Diversity in eLearning

This is my first attempt at a podcast. It’s a little rough but I plan on improving and continuing to share with you my thoughts on instructional design, adult learning, learning trends, and anything related to language (I love it!).

Listen in and contribute to the discussion. I’m open to your suggestions, thoughts, and overall feedback about the podcast.

For this podcast, I’m talking about the need of resources for Spanish-speaking Hispanics and how it affects their access to health benefits and healthcare services. Click play and read along if you would like. Thanks for listening!

Music credit: Autumn Leaves by Axian & Jsan.

Hello, there, and thank you for listening to this podcast. I am Guillermo Holguin and as you may know, I work for a healthcare call center in Colorado where I help analyze performance gaps, and then design and develop solutions that respond to the organization’s learning needs. I’m also working on a master’s degree of Information Learning Technologies with a focus in instructional design and adult learning at the University of Colorado Denver.

I chose to create this podcast as a learning tool and challenge myself to improve my verbal communication skills.

For my E-Learning Trends course this semester, I was asked to take a critical stance on my own experience and view of equity, privilege, and diversity regarding e-learning trends.

I want to share with you a brief response to this task and start a discussion about the current state of resources for Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the United States.

Since I work in healthcare I wanted to talk about the lack of resources for Spanish-speakers regarding health benefits and healthcare services which has caused Hispanics to face more challenges that affect health and access to care.

Growing up in a low-income Spanish-speaking Hispanic family meant I had limited access to healthcare services. Private health coverage was not an option since most of the jobs my parents managed to get did not offer it, or when they did, it cost too much for a family of six. Fortunately, my parents learned about Medicaid, which we qualified for, but it came with its own challenges.

It is evident that Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the United States have difficulty accessing the health-care system and experience less continuity of care compared to most Americans. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation states that Hispanics, compared to Whites, are more likely to be uninsured.

Fortunately, the rate of uninsured Hispanics dropped from 34% to 22% under the Affordable Care Act from 2013 to 2016. However, the study also found that 26% of Hispanics have not had a health care visit in the last 12 months, and 22% of Hispanics went without care due to cost.

There are many resources about health benefits that can help with the cost of healthcare, however, most of these resources are inaccessible to Spanish-speaking Hispanics.

Many Hispanic families who don’t speak English have little to no education about health benefits or healthcare services, and often find themselves paying an expensive medical bill for visiting an urgent care or ER rather than a personal physician.

When looking for solutions, some people tend to say “Well, why don’t they learn how to speak English?” and although this solution will certainly increase access to many resources, it comes down to: time and money. So, there must be other ways to help this community.

Learning to speak a different language is not always easy. My mom has been working two, sometimes three jobs for as long as I can remember. If I were to measure her English proficiency today, I would say she knows about 5 to 10 percent of the language. And it’s not that she hasn’t tried. She hasn’t had the time to regularly attend classes because she’s usually working or exhausted from having multiple jobs. I have seen how frustrating it is for her when she’s unable to understand letters or any mail addressed to her, especially when it’s regarding legal documents, hospital or school forms that need attention.

Over the years, I have seen an improvement in resources for Spanish-speakers. Healthcare organizations like the one I currently work for, have targeted this population to increase their access to healthcare and lower unnecessary costs by educating them about preventive care with resources they can understand. Most Hispanic families don’t know about the many health benefit options out there, or how important it is to regularly get preventive exams with a primary care physician to avoid expensive hospital bills when unexpected things happen.

I also wanted to mention the use of interpreters as a solution to language barriers. Many healthcare organizations are finding that those who are assisted by an interpreter, most likely a staff person, family, or friend, don’t “fully” understand what the doctor is saying. My organization, and I imagine most other healthcare organizations, are now requiring trained Spanish-speaking medical interpreters. But there is a great unmet need for this profession. And can be quite expensive.

Although finding a perfect solution is ideal, I know it’s not realistic. I believe it’s important to address the needs of minority communities by putting an extra effort in diversifying our resources. As a learning content developer, and member of the Hispanic community, I can help educate Spanish-speaking Hispanics by creating instructional materials that are easy to access, in a language they’re comfortable with, that lead to better outcomes. And I hope others will follow and help create a society that is healthier, happier, and rich in culture.

What can you do to assist this community?

I’m interested to hear your thoughts about this topic and your ideas for diversifying our resources for Spanish-speakers. Does your workplace offer materials in other languages? Do you know someone who does that for a living?

Use the comment section below to continue this discussion. You can also connect with me via social media and follow my blog to stay up to date about new trends in instructional design and eLearning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s