New guide explains benefits of UDL as a framework for creating learning-driven environments and how districts can put theory into practice
The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for K-12 education specifically endorses Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a set of principles that require teachers and students to shift roles as they collaborate around student-driven learning paths. It’s a significant departure from the traditional classroom approach, and transforming a learning environment doesn’t happen overnight.
To help schools navigate the sea of change to more personalized learning, itslearning, developer of the itslearning learning management system, has published a new guide titled “How To Make Personalized Learning a Reality in Your District.”
The 18-page PDF explains the stages and steps to creating a learner-driven environment powered by the UDL approach, how technology can support the integration, and questions to ask when considering which learning platform to choose. It likewise includes examples and tips from school districts that have successfully implemented a comprehensive plan to transition to student-driven learning.
“How To Make Personalized Learning a Reality in Your District” begins by explaining the distinction between “personalized” and “individualized” learning, and the benefits of encouraging students to be co-designers of their own learning paths and curriculum. It discusses the UDL model of “access, engage, express,” and provides educators with a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meet the needs of all learners. Finally, it provides tips to transition UDL from theory to practice, and examples of how learning management systems such as itslearning can be used to provide a streamlined, user-friendly learning environment that simplifies student-centered learning.
“We started our journey with universal design for learning because we felt it provided the best possible way for us to reach our students to improve their performance as well as make sure they were engaged in their learning,” said Mike Jamerson, director of technology at Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation in Columbus, Indiana. “With itslearning, we saw a platform where we could truly implement the three principles of UDL. It helps ensure all teaching objects across our district are aligned, which enables teachers to accurately measure and compare student progress and performance. As a result, they can personalize their teaching by selecting resources that cater to their students’ differing needs.”