Developing Customer-Centered Online Learning

Colleagues using sign language during a virtual meeting

While staff at federal agencies often understand what the law requires of them when providing customer service to customers with disabilities, they sometimes struggle to put policy into practice. AIR was approached by a federal agency looking to improve service delivery experiences and outcomes for customers with disabilities. We worked to assess the underlying cause and assisted the agency in applying key principles to make a positive service experience for individuals with disabilities.

Our Approach

AIR worked with a 27-person task force of disability and employment experts, frontline staff, and partners to assess the needs of learners and center the online learning solution around those needs. In partnership with the task force, we:

The structure and nature of the course modules were consistent and put the trainee at ease. I particularly appreciated the additional resources available to the trainee, and key were the scenarios that provided an understanding of optimal and subpar responses to customer inquiries. Thank you.

– eLearning Task Force Member

  • Identified high impact training topics: While partners noted a variety of struggles on the job, the task force narrowed the list to three key priority topic areas.
  • Designed a collaborative instructional design model: AIR recognized the value of task force feedback and built a design strategy to incorporate their reviews every step of the way.
  • Developed scenario-based, 508-compliant online learning: The best real-life scenarios come from real-life people. Task force members used their own experiences to suggest scenario subjects and create realistic decision points in the scenarios.
  • Created a grassroots promotional strategy: All members of the task force served as champions for the modules and led a promotional campaign to get the word out to their personal and professional networks.
  • Evaluated the training and identified future opportunities: Even the best training needs refreshing over time. AIR led an evaluation session with the task force team to evaluate our work and plan for future developments and additions.


Since their release in spring 2020, the modules have been shared far and wide and have reached over 10,000 views. Frontline staff learners appreciated the scenario-based approach to learning and noted and increase in their confidence serving customers with disabilities. The federal agency continues to receive positive feedback on the modules and is currently exploring the possibility of creating modules for a different program.