What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?
UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development and delivery that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
It provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone; not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. (CAST, 2014.)
UDL at a Glance
RDC Learner Centeredness Connection
UDL incorporates and supports many current research-based approaches to teaching and learning including, learner centered practice. The Principles of UID, can help to provide a learner-centered reference point for adapting curriculum and instruction.
Principles of Universal Design for Learning
The three primary principles of Universal Design are:
Provide Multiple Means of Representation
Provide Multiple Means of Expression
Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
|“The What of Learning”
Presents information and content in different ways
|“The How of Learning”
Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know
|“The Why of Learning”
Stimulate interest and motivation for learning
|Provide options for:
||Provide options for:
||Provide options for:
Getting Started With UDL
Provide options for perception
- Offer ways of customizing the display of information
- Offer alternatives for auditory information
- Offer alternatives for visual information
Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols
- Clarify vocabulary and symbols
- Clarify syntax and structure
- Support decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols
- Promote understanding across languages
- Illustrate through multiple media
Provide options for comprehension
Provide options for physical action
Provide options for expression and communication
- Use multiple media for communication
- Use multiple tools for construction and composition
- Build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance
Provide options for executive functions
Provide options for recruiting interest
- Optimize individual choice and autonomy
- Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity
- Minimize threats and distractions
Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence
- Heighten salience of goals and objectives
- Vary demands and resources to optimize challenge
- Foster collaboration and community
- Increase mastery-oriented feedback
Provide options for self-regulation
Universal Instructional Design (UID)
Universal Instructional Design is a process that involves considering the potential needs of all learners when designing and delivering instruction.
UID means identifying and eliminating unnecessary barriers to teaching and learning while maintaining academic rigor.
UID is about truly universal thinking – it goes beyond mere accessibility to reflecting on how to maximize learning for students of all backgrounds and learner preferences while minimizing the need for special accommodations.
Seven Universal Instructional Design Principles
- Accessible – be accessible and fair
- Flexible – provide flexibility in use, participation, and presentation
- Consistent – be straightforward and consistent
- Explicit – be explicitly presented and readily perceived
- Supportive – provide a supportive learning environment
- Minimize Effort – minimize unnecessary physical effort or requirements
- Learning Space – ensure a learning space that accommodates both students and instructional methods
Source: University of Guelph
UDL for Online Development and Teaching
Implementing UDL principles when designing and developing for online material is important to help meet the diverse learning needs of students.
Achieving UDL for online learning environments often begins with the UDL principle Multiple Means of Representation, however, actively seeking to incorporate all three UDL principles is important as well.
Learn more about UDL and Online Learning:
Accessibility to E-Learning for Persons With Disabilities: Strategies, Guidelines, and Standards. (An eCampus Alberta and NorQuest College resource)
Burghstaler, S. (2012). Universal design in postsecondary education: Process, principles, and applications. Retrieved Feb 4, 2013 from http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/ud_post.html
CAST. (2014). Transforming education through universal design for learning. Retrieved Feb 4, 2015 from http://www.cast.org
eCampusAlberta and NorQuest College, (2008). Accessibility to e-Learning for persons with disabilities: Strategies, guidelines, and standards. Retrieved February 21, 2015 from https://www.norquest.ca/NorquestCollege/media/pdf/centres/learning/Accessibility-to-E-Learning-for-Persons-With-Disabilities-Strategies,-Guidelines-and-Standards.pdf
Roberts, K., Park, H., Brown, S. & Cook, B. (2011). Universal design for Instruction in postsecondary education systematic review of empirically based articles. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24(1), p.5-15.
Updated August 21, 2018
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