Learning about diversity and inclusion: 10 free virtual courses

By Emma Esparza

Updated 27 October 2022 | Published 28 November 2020

Updated 27 October 2022

Published 28 November 2020

Emma Esparza is a career coach at Indeed with experience as a recruiter, university career adviser and senior technical career coach. She is passionate about guiding all jobseekers in their intersectional uniqueness towards a successful job search and fulfilling career.

When asked how to support traditionally underrepresented or marginalised groups (and in particular, the black community), LaFawn Davis, Indeed’s Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, says:

"The best work we can do is examine ourselves – all of us (now and always). We can listen and learn to make sure our actions in the workplace aren’t harming others.”

Davis emphasises the importance of doing the work to understand the causes and effects of intolerance, the experiences of those who are different from us and the necessity of educating ourselves. In this article, we’ll explore 10 free online resources you can use to learn about diversity and inclusion at work.

Related: The difference between diversity and inclusion

While some are tailored for HR managers to help build and lead diverse and inclusive teams, others are more general for anyone seeking to learn more about how to be a more inclusive team member at work. A few course descriptions also reference their usefulness for 'leaders' – it’s worth noting that leadership is a skill that anyone, not just managers, can learn and use to create inclusive environments. Also, many of the suggested courses take place over a period of several weeks and provide an opportunity to dig deep into the respective topic.

Related: How to talk about race, gender and social issues at work

So whether you’re a manager or leader, or simply interested in learning more, these virtual courses on diversity and inclusion can help build our understanding of diversity and inclusion for a better, stronger workplace.

Courses for everyone

1. Understanding Diversity and Inclusion, FutureLearn

Learn to develop your knowledge and understanding of diversity (including race, ethnicity, gender, age, appearance, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, education and political beliefs), and get tools to help you foster open environments that are welcome to all.

Related: 6 different types of diversity that exist in the workplace

2. Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, Coursera

This course explores a contradiction of diversity: we have to see and hear differences in order to benefit from diversity, but seeing and hearing differences also heightens discriminating reflexes and can even lead to discrimination. This class aims to help you understand, identify and effectively address these dynamics.

3. Gender and Sexuality: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, Coursera

In this course, instructors use a range of interdisciplinary concepts, tools and methods to help you understand how sex and gender identity shape our experiences in culture and in the workplace.

Related: How to create gender equality in the workplace in 10 steps

4. Diversity and Inclusion Microlearning Library, Grovo by Cornerstone

Grovo offers a free sampling of their two to five-minute micro-courses covering topics like finding your unconscious bias, how to confront discrimination and learning why diversity is an asset. The Microlearning programme emphasises a 'build over time' approach to learning so you can incorporate small and gradual changes into your workflows.

5. What Does It Mean to Identify as Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC)?, Coursera

This course examines the nature of gender, the process of gender affirmation and changing social dynamics. Learn about the unique challenges faced by the TGNC population and how to build inclusive spaces for the community.

Related: 5 interviewing tips for transgender and non-binary people

Courses for managers and leaders

6. Culture-Driven Team Building Specialization, Coursera

Work toward gaining the strategies and tools to help you form, join and lead teams more effectively in this comprehensive specialisation programme. It includes courses on how to build diverse teams and avoid groupthink in addition to other classes related to culture, handling conflict and motivating colleagues.

Related: How to develop an inclusion and diversity training program

7. Optimizing Diversity on Teams, Coursera

This course aims to help you define diversity and understand how to use it to maximise team performance, innovation and creativity. Instruction also includes how to handle conflict and overcome common biases faced in diverse teams.

8. Managing People: Teamwork and Diversity, FutureLearn

In this course, consider how teams are composed, why diverse teams (and workplaces) are important and management strategies for building productive teams.

9. Leading With Effective Communication (Inclusive Leadership Training), edX

Find out how to use specific approaches, frameworks and tools to communicate effectively as well as how that supports inclusive leadership. This course also covers strategies to create space for transparent and authentic communication, where people across differences feel safe to speak up and share ideas.

Related: What is inclusive leadership and why is it important?

10. Becoming a Successful Leader (Inclusive Leadership Training), edX

This course uses research and best practices in addition to stories from great leaders and everyday people to teach you how to develop and refine four key inclusive leadership skills: Empowerment, Accountability, Courage, and Humility, also known as the 'EACH' framework.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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