Universal Design for Learning: A Practical Guide

Section 1.2: UDL: A Quick Start

UDL stands for Universal Design for Learning.

UDL is a framework for designing curriculum. It can also be thought of as a disposition or lens that you can take on creating inclusive learning activities.

UDL seeks to include the maximum number of learners in instruction by offering multiple paths to get to the same learning outcomes.

By designing for choice and flexibility in activities, UDL supports learner engagement with the goal of creating expert learners. Expert learners are well-acquainted with their strengths and weaknesses. They know how they learn best, and they know when to ask for help. Expert learners are able to identify why they have been successful, why they might be struggling, and how to make changes.

Instructors who design activities and curriculum according to UDL principles build in methods not only for conveying content knowledge, but in developing students who have the ability to reflect on their learning preferences and goals.

UDL uses components of design thinking: using empathy to understand learner needs and goals, identifying gaps, working iteratively, and using feedback for steadily improving response. Maintaining a process-orientation and attitude of steady improvement is a key aspect of UDL.


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A Comprehensive Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Seanna Takacs; Junsong Zhang; Helen Lee; Lynn Truong; and David Smulders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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