Now that you have learned all about the three principles of UDL, try the following short quiz to review these concepts.
At the end of this first chapter, you should now be familiar with the 3 parts of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, and should be ready to start deliberately applying it to course design. This will help you to create equitable, inclusive, and accessible learning environments that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. Including UDL elements as the first step in curriculum, program, and/or course design (or redesign) is ideal because you can consider the needs of your learners, and yourself, and (re)design with inclusion, equity, diversity, and access in mind.
As you get ready to integrate the three principles of UDL with your course design, it’s important to remember that UDL means putting student needs at the center and recognizing that these needs will differ between students and even within students in predictable ways. Explained by CAST‘s co-founder David Rose, applying the UDL principles to course design is like packing for a trip and considering the different types of weather and activities you’re likely to encounter. If you know you’re in for a few rainy days, best to throw in a jacket and some pants, along with the swimsuit and sunscreen. UDL just provides a system for approaching these predictable scenarios by “packing” the course with three kinds of options before you embark.
Remember also not to feel overwhelmed, and to choose just those approaches that work best for you. If you have limited time to devote to preparation and implementation of UDL, you could look for strategies that require a lower time investment. Other times, you could invest more time in strategies with the potential for a huge benefit for all learners. Keep in mind the general philosophical approach of this book – that even taking “one small step” towards incorporating UDL principles into your course will improve the learning experience, and have a positive impact upon your students.
As you are looking for additional ways to apply UDL principles in your course design, refer to the following resources for additional strategies and ideas that can be applied in various contexts:
- UDL Guidelines from CAST. The interactive graphic organizer on this page links to additional information for each of the three Principles, with Guidelines underneath each Principle, and then is further broken down into Checkpoints for each of those Guidelines.
- Spin the interactive UDL Wheel for strategies and examples related to each of the three principles, along with links to additional resources.
Case Studies in Applying UDL Principles
The purpose of this Case Study activity is for you to practice application of the concepts presented in this book. Select one of the following case studies for your reflection and recommendations. As you are analyzing the case, look for opportunities to incorporate UDL into the design and delivery of the learning. Offer your suggestions and recommendations on barriers you identify, based on what you have learned about UDL.
If you prefer to analyze a different course (like one of your own), choose this template instead:
When reviewing your case study, you may want to keep these questions in mind (taken from Meyer et al., 2014, pg. 112):
- Think about how learners will engage with the lesson:
- Does the lesson provide options that can help all learners regulate their own learning?
- Does the lesson provide options that help all learners sustain effort and motivation?
- Does the lesson provide options that engage and interest all learners?
- Think about how information is presented to learners:
- Does the information provide options that help all learners reach higher levels of comprehension and understanding?
- Does the information provide options that help all learners understand the symbols and expressions?
- Does the information provide options that help all learners perceive what needs to be learned?
- Think about how learners are expected to act strategically and express themselves:
- Does the activity provide options that help all students act strategically?
- Does the activity provide options that help all learners express themselves fluently?
- Does the activity provide options that help all learners physically respond?
Feedback from peers is a powerful development tool in the application of UDL strategies. You may want to share this activity with a colleague, co-worker, or other person from your professional network. Perhaps there are other members of your institution who would like to join with you in a UDL Learning Community?
Look back to your initial How Do You Teach? Checklist and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is one change I can make create a learning environment where learners are challenged, excited and motivated about what they are learning?
- What is one change I can make to create a learning environment in which material and content are presented in a variety of ways?
- What is one change I can make to create a learning environment where students can express their comprehension in multiple ways?
A framework that guides the design of courses and learning environments to appeal to the largest number of learners.
Ensuring access to quality education for all learners by effectively meeting their diverse needs in a way that is responsive, accepting, respectful, and supportive.
Providing equal opportunity for learners to acquire information, engage in activities and interactions, demonstrate understanding, and enjoy the same services through proactive design approaches. This can also encompass practices of web accessibility, which is the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web (as examples, by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed).
Principles that inform accessible pedagogy and establish a framework for course planning and learning experiences. They are: 1. Multiple means of engagement, 2. Multiple means of representation, 3. Multiple means of action and expression.