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UDL

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) 

What is UDL?

According to CAST, "Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL 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." Retrieved from
http://www.cast.org/udl/index.html March 20, 2013.

Why should we consider UDL? 

According to the Assistive Technology Act 1998 (Sec.2.(a).10, "The use of universal design principles reduces the need for many specific kinds of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services by building in accommodations for individuals with disabilities before rather than after production. The use of universal design principles also increases the likelihood that products (including services) will be compatible with existing assistive technologies."

What do I need to know about Universal Design for Learning?
What are the basic assumptions of a Universally Designed Curriculum?

The goal of instruction is to create "expert learners". We want students to be strategic, goal-directed learners; resourceful, knowledgeable learners, as well as purposeful, motivated learners. To do this we must focus on the learning goal and realize there may be more than one way to show students how to do something or for them to show us what they know. All learners are diverse and learn in different ways, there is not one path to success.

What are the three main principles of UDL?
  • Multiple means of Representation - The What of Learning - Refers the many ways teachers can present information to students
  • Multiple means of Action and Expression - The How of Learning - Refers to the many ways students can show us what they know and understand
  • Multiple means of Engagement - The Why of Learning - Refers to fact there are many ways to keep students engaged and motivated to become expert learners.
What makes UDL different from differentiated instruction?

A universally designed curriculum has flexible strategies frontloaded.  With UDL, we focus on making strategies available to all students rather than designing accommodations for individual students after the planning process.  Differentiated instruction focuses on each individual student one at a time, while UDL plans for a variety of learners from the beginning.