What advice would you give instructional designers like me for creating self-paced and…
Tony Kim

Hi Tony, thanks for generating this question. In short, I have two responses. 1) If you are designing self-paced learning opportunities, the best way to make it culturally relevant is to make it learner centered. I am a huge champion of student-power which allows students the freedom to connect their studies to to their sociopolitical context. Through this independence, THEY will make learning relevant. You just need to honor their instructional/learning choices. 2) Another way to make learning culturaly relevant is to become saturated in the culture of your learners. When you offer students a shared sociopolitical frame of reference, cultural relevance becomes automated in your design choices.

My book, “Empowerment Starts Here: Seven Principles to Empower Urban Youth” may give you ideas. While it is written for the K12 learning community, the tenets of student-power are relevant to adult learners. Specifically, you should find great interest in Chapter 2 which outlines my approach to project based learning (a self-directed, student learning platform for integrated studies). There you will see how students were able to bridge the gap between their studies and thier personal lives… this is really at the heart of culturally relevant instruction. I tend to shy away from telling others HOW to be “culturally relevant” (as though cultural relevance can be controlled by teachers). True relevance is located in the hands of learners. And with true power, students can drive the process. We just need to honor what authentically comes from them!