1.5 UDL Principle 3: Multiple Means of Action & Expression

Challenge

Continue your work on the How Do You Teach? Checklist that you started earlier.

This time, complete the third (and final) section of the checklist, in order to consider the ways that you already create a learning environment in which students can demonstrate their learning in multiple ways.

What does Multiple Means of Action and Expression mean?

Multiple means of action and expression encourages students to demonstrate their learning through various forms (e.g., exams, multimedia, concept maps, papers, projects). This principle highlights executive functioning, where students apply what they learn strategically. That is, it involves finding, creating, using, and organizing information. This process can include graduated levels of support, and using tools and technology. Students may find that they are able to express themselves more proficiently in one medium than in another. It may be possible to incorporate graded assignments into a course that allow students to select alternative formats. Other opportunities for multiple means of action and expression include notetaking, in-class assignments, and feedback from different sources. In a learning environment that applies this principle, learners can act upon and express their comprehension in multiple ways.

The following short video from the Southern Illinois Professional Development Center offers an overview of this UDL principle.

What might “Multiple Means of Action and Expression” look like in the classroom?

This table provides some examples for implementing multiple means of action & expression in a postsecondary classroom. Categories are listed on the left, with ideas for implementation on the right.

Examples for implementing multiple means of action & expression in a postsecondary classroom
Multiple Means of Action & Expression Putting it into Practice
Assignments and demonstration of skills
  • Use a variety of assessment strategies to allow students to express what they know in multiple ways (e.g., using formative quizzes, case studies, model building, and an oral presentation rather than just a traditional midterm and final exam).
  • Presentations in class or online
  • Different methods of demonstrating skills, such as roleplay, debate, discussions
  • Provide opportunities to develop skills in real settings
Exams
  • Variety of question types on exams: multiple choice, matching, short answer, fill in the blank, equations, label a diagram
  • Exam questions that assess various ways of understanding: remember/ comprehend, analyze/ apply, and evaluate/ create (Bloom’s Taxonomy)
  • Incorporate graphics into some questions
Opportunities for interaction and feedback
  • Incorporate technologies that facilitate class communication and participation
  • Use discussion boards, podcasts, or blogs to allow students who need more time to reflect on a topic.
  • Use polling software to allow all students to participate without feeling “called out”
  • Use question sets from the textbook as practice
  • In-class peer feedback
  • Use rubrics
  • Student-led study groups
  • Cumulative assignments with feedback at various stages
  • Office hours
Student choice
  • Give students options to demonstrate mastery of the course learning outcomes
  • Choice of assignment format: research paper, presentation, website, poster, video, podcast, etc.
  • Choice of due date or topic
  • Incorporating social media as a communication tool
  • Offer tools and technologies to support learner needs and reduce barriers (assistive technology, spelling/grammar checkers, dictation software, typing vs. writing by hand)
Assessment anxiety
  • Help students develop deliberate strategies for learning
  • Engage in goal setting and support strategic competency development
  • Facilitate learner capacity for monitoring progress and development
  • Use assignment guidelines to outline your expectations
  • Provide templates or outlines if appropriate
  • Option to write final exam as a take-home exam if appropriate
  • Give sample assignments showing feedback and how they were graded if appropriate

 

Web Resources

For more resources on how to provide multiple means of action & expression, see the guidelines and checkpoints from CAST at: Principle: Provide multiple means of Action & Expression

Reflection: One Small Step

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 Action and Expression:

  • What opportunities exist to incorporate multiple means of expression in assignments?
  • How might you incorporate multiple means of expression on exams?
  • How might you provide more opportunities for feedback?
  • What choices might you offer students regarding assignments, communication, and content delivery?
  • What course design decisions can you make to mitigate student anxiety regarding assessment?

 

License

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Universal Design for Learning: One Small Step by Sara Dzaman; Derek Fenlon; Julie Maier; and Toni Marchione is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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