Universal Design for Learning

If you design curriculum and have not seen the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, you must take a look at cast.org.

The principles are organized into three sections

  1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation
  2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression
  3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

They make sense to me.  They also make sense to all types of students.

For a more compelling reason to incorporate UDL see this video created by South Central Community College in Washington.


2 Responses to Universal Design for Learning

  1. UDL – The Educational Design for the Digital age
    Thank you Lisa for sharing your post on universal design for learning. After reading your post and the links you shared I am totally convinced that amongst the many offspring of the universal design movement, ‘Universal Design for Learning’ (UDL) will be the most sort after design by 21st century educators. Apart from introducing me to UDL your post triggered my curiosity to learn more about role of technology in implementing UDL.
    In that process I identified some interesting resources and facts, which I would love to share with you. Hope you like it.

    I have expounded on implementing UDL from two perspectives:
    • UDL with Technology
    • UDL sans Technology
    UDL and Technology
    Even though the presence or absence of technology does not obstruct the path of a dedicated educator in anyway, the union of UDL principle with technologies renders easier and more effective customization of curricula for learners (CAST, 2011). On top of creating cost effective learning materials the advances in technology has eroded all the physical, cultural, racial barriers by providing built in supports, scaffolds, and challenges to help learners understand, navigate, and engage with the learning environment.

    UDL sans Technology
    While the framework of UDL is based on the neuroscience and technology of learning it has always kept me wondering if it is ever possible to apply UDL sans technology. That is when the article ‘UDL Unplugged -The Role of Technology in UDL’ presented by Rose, Gravel and Domings gave me a clear and deep insight about the principles of UDL (http://www.udlcenter.org/resource_library/articles/udlunplugged). Apart from breaking the myth that UDL is possible only with the support of technology, the article ascertained that a well-designed and well-executed lesson from the beginning could easily replenish technology in UDL.

    Though it is evident that UDL is not synonymous to technology the demands put forth by the 21st century learners is pushing it hard on the educators to inherit technology. Moreover the 2011 Horizon Reports, which focuses on emerging technology in higher education environment as, identified six technologies that are likely to have impact on education in the next five years.
    Timeframe next 1 year: Electronic Books and Mobile devices
    Timeframe next 1-3years: Augmented reality and Game-based learning
    Timeframe next 4-5 years: Gesture-based computing and Learning analytics
    (For more details check out Horizon Report 2011 http://www.nmc.org/horizon-project)

    From my inferences and the horizon report I would like to conclude that the advent of technology is moving teaching to a whole new level, and in order to cope up with this technological outbreak, educators are left with no other choice but to amalgamate a universal technology based design for learning.

    CAST, (2011). UDL and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/
    Horizon Report, (2011). Horizon-project. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/horizon-project
    Rose, D. H., Gravel, J.W., and Domings, Y. M., (2011). UDL Unplugged: The Role of Technology in UDL. Retrieved from http://www.udlcenter.org/

    • lkidder says:

      Thank you for the connections. I just had a conversation with another teacher, the one who introduced me to UDL, about online course design and Quality Matters (http://www.qmprogram.org). We were discussing how UDL does not focus on the technology. I do think technology make it easy to create accessible resources, but sometimes there is a push in designing online learning to put in more media without considering cognitive load and accessibility.

      Good practices are good practices and, I believe, should be universal whether you have the technology or not.

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