Listen to this page:
Continue your work on the How Do You Teach? Checklist that you started earlier.
Complete the second section of the checklist to consider the ways you currently create a learning environment in which ideas and information are represented in multiple ways.
What does Multiple Means of Representation mean?
Multiple means of representation is about providing learners various ways to access and engage with course materials and information. In its simplest form, this could mean offering textbooks in audio or multimedia formats. This principle also refers to how students comprehend information in different forms, such as decoding syntax, vocabulary, notation, symbols, and disciplinary language. The goal is to support students in using multiple representations and developing fluency in traversing across them. Offering flexibility in presenting information also acknowledges differences in how learners comprehend and perceive information. For example, students with visual impairment may find print materials inaccessible, and students with diverse language, cultural backgrounds, and access needs may encounter barriers to information when educators assume common backgrounds. In a learning environment that applies this principle, material and content are presented in a variety of ways at the outset.
The principle also includes pedagogical approaches to a topic or concept. An educator could decide to give a concept overview (lecture) followed by an example and an application of the concept through an in-class exercise. Other examples of approaches include statistics, case studies, and expert opinion. If one approach is ineffective, a different approach may work better.
“I understand memorization and retaining concepts specifically is a really large aspect of learning, but to integrate a concept really fully you have to be able to connect it to other ideas. I would like to see more of an emphasis on making sure that the connections between different units in course material are presented really clearly to students, because that provides a really good line for them to start drawing their own connections and contribute to their own retention and learning over the course.”
-Student testimonial from the Wellness Strategy Report
Utilizing multiple means of representation is one way to ensure that “connections between different units … are presented really clearly to students”. Multiple means of representation provide all students with the opportunity to access, engage, and make sense of concepts.
The following short video from the Southern Illinois Professional Development Center offers an overview of this UDL principle.
What might “Multiple Means of Representation” look like in the classroom?
This table provides some examples for implementing multiple means of representation in a postsecondary classroom. Categories are listed on the left, with ideas for implementation on the right.
|Multiple Means of Representation||Putting it into Practice|
|Accessible course materials||
|Multimodal sources of information||
|Comprehension and key concepts||
|Check for understanding||
For more resources on how to provide multiple means of representation, see the guidelines and checkpoints from CAST at: Principle: Provide multiple means of Representation
What UDL strategies would you like to try when designing (or redesigning) your next course?
Use the following questions for considering this principle in more depth as it might apply to your course (and remember – start with just one small step!).
Questions for Considering Multiple Means of Representation:
- How can you ensure your course materials are accessible to as many students as possible?
- How might you present main course concepts in more than one format?
- Does your course offer opportunities to encourage student agency?
- What learning activities could emphasize comprehension of key concepts?
- How might you informally gauge student understanding of course concepts?