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Equity in Informal STEM Learning: Using the Equity Compass

Discover a new framework to help you support all learners and promote equity in informal STEM learning.

3,703 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Digital upgrade


Understand the importance of equity in STEM learning

There are ongoing inequalities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) sector, which has traditionally excluded people from minoritised communities.

This three-week course will help you reflect on and develop equitable and inclusive practice, to ensure that your organisation can effectively support diverse young people’s engagement with STEM.

You’ll gain a deeper understanding of equity issues, the factors influencing inequalities in STEM and what to do about it. By the end, you’ll have created a plan of action to make your practice more equitable and inclusive.

Use the Equity Compass to support social justice

You’ll be introduced to the Equity Compass – a practical, evidence-based tool that supports equitable practice – and learn how and why you could use it.

Using the Equity Compass framework, you’ll reflect on and develop your practice. Through case studies from informal STEM learning settings, reflective questions, and discussions, you’ll learn how to plan activities that are equitable and support all young people, particularly those from minoritised communities.

Learn from the specialists at University College London

Guided by the experts in informal STEM learning and equitable practice at the University College London (UCL), you’ll develop the knowledge to promote equity in informal STEM learning settings.

By the end of the course, you’ll have the confidence to take your skills into your own STEM learning environment.


  • Week 1

    Equity in informal STEM learning

    • Welcome to the course

      Find out more about the course, who you will be learning with and what you can expect from the next three weeks.

    • Why focus on equity in STEM?

      An introduction to the issue of inequalities in STEM participation and the key factors which influence engagement in informal STEM learning.

    • Inequitable experiences

      Follow the example of Phil and Nikki’s coding workshop to see how inequitable practices can compromise participant experiences.

    • Introducing the Equity Compass

      Overview of the Equity Compass framework, how it was developed, and who can use it.

  • Week 2

    Reflecting on practice

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Welcome to Week 2 of Equity in Informal STEM Learning: Using the Equity Compass!

    • Challenging the status quo

      Transforming power relations, prioritising minoritised communities, and redistributing resources. These are the three equity dimensions of the first Equity Compass area.

    • Working with and valuing minoritised communities

      Participatory working - with and taking an asset-based approach are the two equity dimensions of the second Equity Compass area.

    • Embedding equity

      Equity is mainstreamed - the equity dimension of the third Equity Compass area embedding equity.

    • Extending equity

      Long term and community/society orientation are the final two equity dimensions, relating to the fourth Equity Compass area.

  • Week 3

    Developing equitable practice

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome to Week 3 of Equity in Informal STEM Learning: Using the Equity Compass!

    • Mapping and developing Dr Bridges’ practice

      Bringing the eight Equity Compass dimensions together.

    • Small steps can make a difference

      Thinking further about how to develop more equitable informal STEM learning practice, starting with small steps.

    • Using the Equity Compass in your practice

      Use the Equity Compass to think about and plan your own work.

    • Taking the Equity Compass forward

      The Equity Compass is a tool for supporting socially just practice and now you know how to use it.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe key factors influencing inequalities in STEM participation and informal STEM learning
  • Explain the difference between equality, equity, social justice
  • Describe the components of the Equity Compass
  • Apply the Equity Compass to examples from informal STEM learning
  • Identify weak and strong examples of equitable practice
  • Reflect on and develop your own practice using the Equity Compass

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for informal STEM learning practitioners working in out-of-school organisations and roles such as science museums and centres, zoos, STEM clubs, festivals, community organisations and makerspaces.

The course is particularly relevant to informal STEM learning practitioners working in education roles, such as planning and delivering education programmes. The course will also benefit informal STEM learning practitioners working in other roles, such as exhibition design and management, as well as those working to support young people to engage with STEM outside informal STEM learning, such as teachers, funders, and policy makers.

Who will you learn with?

My work focuses on inequalities in education and equitable practices. I am a Senior Research Fellow at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society and a freelance consultant and evaluator.

My research focuses on educational identities, inequalities and equitable participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). I'm a professor of sociology of education at UCL.

I research science & society relationships with a social justice lens, with a focus on science learning, communication & engagement. I'm an Associate Professor in Science & Technology Studies at UCL.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

What's included?

UCL (University College London) are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible
  • Learning on FutureLearn

    Your learning, your rules

    • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
    • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
    • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

    Join a global classroom

    • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
    • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
    • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

    Map your progress

    • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
    • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
    • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

    Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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    Get a taste of this course

    Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

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