Teaching Resources

Universal Learning Design

 

 

Overview of Universal Learning Design

 

According to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning, “Universal Design for Learning (UDL) 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.”

 

Embedded in UDL are three principles:

  1. Provide Multiple Means of Representation

    Provide learners with different ways to acquire information and knowledge.

  2. Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression

    Provide learners with different ways to demonstrate their knowledge.

  3. Provide Multiple Means of Engagement

    Use learner’s interests and provide challenges of an appropriate level to increase motivation.

 

 

Ultimately, by anticipating the needs of diverse learners and designing our courses to adapt to these needs, UDL helps to remove barriers to student learning.

 

 

The following resources will help you learn more about Universal Learning Design.

 

 

Online Resources



Print Resources

 

The following books and articles can be found in the CTL Resource Room:

 

Burgstahler, S., & Cory, R. (2013). Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice. Harvard Education Press. Cambridge, MA.

 

Universal Design in Higher Education is a comprehensive guide for researchers and practitioners on creating fully accessible college and university programs. As greater numbers of students with disabilities attend postsecondary educational institutions, administrators have expressed increased interest in making their programs accessible to all students. This book provides both theoretical and practical guidance for schools as they work to turn this admirable goal into a reality, thereby making a crucial contribution to the growing body of literature on special education and universal design. It looks at the design of physical and technological environments at institutions of higher education; at issues pertaining to curriculum and instruction; and at the full array of student services. It concludes with a thorough consideration of how to institutionalize universal design at higher education institutions.

 

 

Edyburn, D. (2010). Would You Recognize Universal Design for Learning If You Saw It? Ten Propositions for New Directions for the Second Decade of UDL. Learning Disability Quarterly, 33 (1), 33 – 41.

 

As I read the latest issue of the Learning Disability Quarterly, I was appreciative of the essay by King-Sears (2009) high lighting the value of universal design for learning (UDL) to the learning disability community. The allure of UDL has captured the imagination of many educators and policy makers. The recent reauthorization of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-315, Section 202, I, A), for example, requires colleges of education that receive federal funding for teacher quality partnership grants to report on the outcomes of UDL training within their preservice preparation programs. King-Sears' efforts to encourage the learning disability community to dialogue about UDL are noteworthy and timely. Given that the King-Sears piece was featured as a "Commentary" article designed to spark conversation about contemporary topics, I would like to take this opportunity to extend the conversation and highlight nuances associated with translating UDL theory into practice. As someone who has been involved in helping individual teachers as well as schools, states, provinces, and policy makers translate UDL theory into practice, I am concerned about the ability of the profession to implement a construct that it cannot define.

 

 

Orr, A., & Bachman Hammig, S. (2009). Inclusive Postsecondary Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Literature. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(3), 181 – 196.

 

One out of every 11 postsecondary undergraduates report having a disability, and students with learning disabilities are the largest and fastest growing subgroup of this population. Although faculty are becoming more comfortable with providing students with learning disabilities accommodations as mandated by federal law, many instructors are using inclusive teaching strategies to better meet the needs of all students. Principles of universal design, borrowed from architecture and manufacturing, are increasingly influential on postsecondary pedagogy. This review of the literature examined 38 research-based articles related to universal design and inclusive practice at the postsecondary level. Five primary themes are identified and discussed in relation to their supporting literature: backward design, multiple means of presentation, inclusive teaching strategies and learner supports, inclusive assessment, and instructor approachability and empathy.

 

 

Meyer, A., Rose, D., & Gordon, D. (2014). Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice. CAST Professional Publishing. Wakefield, MA.

 

Universal Design for Learning: Theory & Practice includes: • New insights from research on learner differences and how human variability plays out in learning environments • Research-based discussions of what it means to become expert at learning • First-hand accounts and exemplars of how to implement UDL at all levels and across subjects using the UDL Guidelines • “Dig Deeper” segments that enrich the main content • Dozens of original illustrations and access to videos and other online features at http://udltheorypractice.cast.org

 

 

Orr, A., & Bachman Hammig, S. (2009). Inclusive Postsecondary Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities: A Review of the Literature. Learning Disability Quarterly, 32(3), 181 – 196.

 

One out of every 11 postsecondary undergraduates report having a disability, and students with learning disabilities are the largest and fastest growing subgroup of this population. Although faculty are becoming more comfortable with providing students with learning disabilities accommodations as mandated by federal law, many instructors are using inclusive teaching strategies to better meet the needs of all students. Principles of universal design, borrowed from architecture and manufacturing, are increasingly influential on postsecondary pedagogy. This review of the literature examined 38 research-based articles related to universal design and inclusive practice at the postsecondary level. Five primary themes are identified and discussed in relation to their supporting literature: backward design, multiple means of presentation, inclusive teaching strategies and learner supports, inclusive assessment, and instructor approachability and empathy.

 

 

Rapp, W. (2014). Universal Design for Learning in Action: 100 Ways to Teach All Learners. Paul H. Brooks Publishing. Baltimore, MD.

 

Need creative ideas for moving universal design for learning from theory to practice? Get this must-have quick guide, ready for any teacher to pick up and start using now. The author walks you step-by-step through 100 UDL strategies that strengthen student engagement, learning, and assessment. Based on the latest research, these highly effective ideas will help you address diverse learning needs and increase all students’ access to the general curriculum.

 

Note: Many of the strategies need to be adapted for the higher education environment.

 

 

Rappolt-Schlichtmann, G., Daley, S., & Rose, L.T. (2012). A Research Reader in Universal Design for Learning. Harvard Education Press. Cambridge, MA.

 

This book considers the major research areas that underlie UDL and call out for further exploration in the years ahead. Each of the book’s six chapters includes a groundbreaking article that is centrally related to the larger UDL project, along with reflections on that article by contemporary researchers. As David H. Rose notes in his afterword, “the authors of this collection have set out to do more than revitalize and illuminate the foundations of UDL. They have set out also to prepare the field—to set the context—for the kind of research that needs to come now.”

 

 

Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2011). A Practical Reader in Universal Design for Learning. Harvard Education Press. Cambridge, MA.

 

The authors offer insights on learner differences, the capacities of new media in the classroom, and effective teaching and assessment practices. The volume also includes lessons from teacher professional development workshops, classroom-based research, and UDL practitioners themselves.

 

 

 

Other Resources

 

Centre Faculty and Staff respond to an article about Active Learning activities on students with learning disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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