Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

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Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

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Created by CAST, a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a robust framework that recognizes the need to support learning in variable ways:

PrincipleNetwork of LearningGuidelines
(the why of learning)
interest, effort and persistence, and self regulation
(the what of learning)
perception, language and symbols, and comprehension
Action & ExpressionStrategic
(the how of learning)
physical action, expression and communication, and executive function
Summary of Universal Design for Learning Framework

Using the UDL Framework, faculty use the principles and guidelines above to guide the curriculum design process from the beginning. Each guideline provides multiple checkpoints for faculty to support variable student experiences and needs in their curriculum. The framework is not prescriptive, but it does provide faculty knowledge to guide their own curriculum development process by considering the needs of our students.

Below are some of my quick pros and cons to help you decide if this is the universal design model that will be best for you:

UDL Framework: Pros

  • integrates connections to the why, what, and how of learning.
  • guidelines and checkpoints provide concrete guidance for faculty.
  • structured framework for in-depth understanding of variability needs of our students.

UDL Framework: Cons

  • Robust framework can feel overwhelming.
  • May be misperceived as a “to-do-list.”
  • Nested framework may require more cognitive effort to understand and follow.

UDL Resources

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