I know from experience that an instructional design will appear exclusive and disinterested in the learners when it's "covering the material". The premise of working at content to deliver or expertise to transfer sets up a closed system. Opening it up for any kind of involvement will slow down the pace, drop out some of the material or give the wrong impression by drifting "off message". Formal content and recognized expertise are presumed to already be right, finalized and authoritative. It appears senseless to make the content wrong, incomplete or questionable when considering "how to cover the material".
Inclusion makes all the sense in the world when we start from a different premise. Here's an array of different premises and how each leads to more inclusive structures:
- What if the content is a "beta release / work in progress" getting refined or finalized by incorporating varied user experiences. The design needs to be open to learners inputs that can further the progress, refine the upgrades or redirect an unresponsive approach.
- What if comprehending the material cannot be done heroically, in isolation or by independent study. The design needs to allow for the comprehension to emerge from the complexity of varied voices, viewpoints and frames of reference among the social network included in the design.
- What if the structure is an experiment that uses the learners subjects to study the effects of the content on their mood, motivation, initiative, creativity or other responses. The structure then needs to include the subjects as the real subject matter in order to experiment with different versions of the content to realize the best effects.
- What if the tutoring of individual learners outside of the scheduled times is too time consuming to be feasible. The design needs to scale the tutoring by arranging for peers to help each other with requests for additional examples, restatements of the original idea, clarifications, feedback on trial formulations, working through sample test questions, etc.
- What if the content is known to produce confusion in the minds of most learners. The design needs their input to explain their confusion, tryout alternative clarifications and get feedback on the degree of success with each attempt at alleviating the confusion.
- What if the content is inherently useless until learners take the initiative to apply it in a personal context. The structure needs to be open to contexts provided by the learners where uses can be made of the content, questions about adapting the abstract principles/skills in pragmatic ways and practice thinking through the content in realistic scenarios.
- What if the content is a solution to the learners' particular problem that will get perceived by them as valuable, easy to remember and worth doing well. The structure needs to include the learners as the customers who will takeaway the value, put the ideas to work and test their viability as solutions to problems they face right now.
- What if the content can be learned, but it cannot be taught. The design needs to tell stories, play games and and solve mysteries to see if the learners "get it" without being told something abstract that "isn't really it".
Of course this is only a partial list in beta release that's known to generate lots of confusion when crammed with heroic efforts. :-)