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The principles of Universal Design for Learning help educators create learning experiences that suit all students.

Friday 5: Universal Design for Learning


The principles of Universal Design for Learning help educators create learning experiences that suit all students

Key points:

In a nutshell, Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, is a framework that urges educators, policymakers, and all education stakeholders to think about teaching and learning in a way that gives all students–regardless of ability or need–equal opportunities to reach their full potential.

Let’s take a look at how Universal Design for Learning can benefit students:

What best describes Universal Design for Learning?

The UDL framework can help teachers shape inclusive learning environments and can support K-12 leaders in implementing new programs. UDL is not another program that teachers have to shoehorn into their already-crammed day–rather, it is a process and framework to help educators ensure they are reaching all learners.  Think of Universal Design principles as an operating system of sorts for your classroom, school, or district. The goal of this system is deceptively simple: make education work for as many students as possible. Learn more about UDL in action.

What is the focus of Universal Design for Learning?

If you are a teacher looking to create a more inclusive learning environment in your classroom, understanding Universal Design for Learning principles can give you an edge. While many educators who are interested in working effectively with diverse groups of students go on to obtain a masters degree in education or seek other formal training, there are a few steps you can take today to make your classroom a more nurturing and equitable space. Here are five ways you can start implementing inclusivity into your classroom today.

What are the 3 principles of Universal Design for Learning?

The three underlying principles of UDL are Multiple Means of Representation, Multiple Means of Action and Expression, and Multiple Means of Engagement. Multiple means of Representation: The intent is to present information in various formats like text, images, graphic organizers, video, audio, or practical activities.  Multiple Means of Action and Expression: An essential element of UDL is offering students a variety of ways to express their knowledge. Multiple Means of Engagement: Engaging students in multiple ways is an excellent incentive for sparking motivation to learn. These principles help guide UDL strategies in classrooms.

What is an example of a UDL goal?

Looking at UDL examples and resources, one example is using AI and UDL to make computer science education accessible to all students. UDL uses fundamentals from neuroscience to give educators a framework to empower all learners. UDL is a process, not a product, and requires that teachers rethink their planning and delivery of instruction. Though this is not necessarily asking for teachers to do more, it is absolutely asking them to do something different. As teachers wrestle with transforming their teaching practice, generative AI offers robust opportunities. Pairing a tested, research-based framework like UDL with AI brings educators a step closer to the goal of true inclusion of all learners in computer science classes. Here’s more on that goal.

What is one example of Universal Design in a classroom?

Certain principles guide teachers in how to customize instruction to meet the individual needs and preferences of each student. An effective, research-based framework for personalizing instruction is Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Universal Design for Learning examples and principles guide teachers in how to customize instruction to meet the individual needs and preferences of each student. Fostering student and teacher connections is essential for developing social relationships and moving lessons forward, and technology is natural for enhancing engagement. During the pandemic, with online instruction, technology was indispensable. Lessons and materials were distributed digitally, and human interactions occurred through a computer. Classrooms are up and running again, and technology still provides us a means to communicate. Example: Teachers can run polls via computer and instantly gain feedback on classroom task design. Teachers can communicate instructions audibly or visually. Students and teachers can share socially or give or receive feedback on classwork. Certain technology allows teachers and students to annotate lessons or respond to assignments. Discover more examples of UDL in a classroom.

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Laura Ascione

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