Universal Design for Learning: Strategies for Blended and Online Learning

Section 3.1: UDL Strategies for Blended and Online Learning

Here is the list of strategies for blended and online learning adapted from teaching resources at Oakland University.


1. Build in opportunities for learners to provide their input on how tasks are designed.


  • Create space (e.g. survey or poll) for periodic, informal feedback during synchronous or asynchronous learning.
  • Let students decide whether certain tasks (e.g. group discussions) will occur online or offline.
2. Integrate learners’ experiences, identities, backgrounds and cultures.
  • In example scenarios or problems, use a variety of names, settings, or cultural references.
  • Design assignments or activities in a variety of social, professional or cultural contexts.
3. Build activities that ask learners to engage with the real world.
  • Ask students to interview a community leader or attend public events (e.g. court proceedings) in an online course.
  • Ask students to identify the potential real-world audiences or applications they see in their work.
4. Divide long-term course or assignment goals into smaller short-term objectives.
  • Break final projects into a few stages over the semester with diminishing support from the instructor.
  • Ask students to create a manageable timeline for their projects.
5. Require learners to reframe course objectives and set their goals
  • Set up an online journal where students could create their learning goals based on the course description and objectives.
  • During and at the end of the course, ask students to reflect (in writing, in discussion, or video) on their progress, strategies, and goals.
6. Construct linked tasks with varying degrees of difficulty that require learners to work toward similar learning outcomes.
  • Build small (e.g. activities) and large (e.g. papers, exams) tasks that address course outcomes.
  • Provide different levels of difficulty with the same assignment.
  • Offer optional challenges and provide relevant incentives (e.g. extra credit).
7. Provide opportunities for frequent and timely feedback
  • Provide feedback using rubrics – this may expedite assessment while clearly indicating students’ progress.
  • Stagger assignments’ due dates if possible to reduce feedback load.
  • Pair students to provide formative peer feedback based on a rubric or task guidelines.
8. Give learners resources to help them cope with “subject phobias.”


  • Share support resources such as writing center, library help, and online resources.
  • Emphasize a growth mindset, replacing “I’m not good at X” with “I’m still learning about X.”
  • Share concrete, discipline-specific examples of how past students have coped with challenging learning situations or experiences.


1. Pre-teach key vocabularies or concepts
  • Design interactive key words exercise at the beginning of each unit or module.
  • Offer a searchable glossary of key terms.
  • Link to online resources where students can find definitions of key terms.
2. Support learners in accessing and using multiple representations of the same information.
  • Use a variety of representations to demonstrate a complex concept (e.g. map, video, graphics, stories).
  • Provide links to resources that address the same ideas for varying levels of learners.
3. Give learners videos or animations with control in sound and speed
  • Record welcome videos via Kaltura.
  • Record live lectures and send students the link for review.
  • Ask students to find and share helpful online resources.
4. Provide transcripts for video clips.


  • Transcribe videos when possible; review automatically-generated transcripts and correct errors.
  • Upload PDF transcripts for videos when possible.
5. Map the relationships between important components or ideas.


  • Use a concept map to highlight relationships between course ideas.
  • Provide short videos that emphasize or highlight relationships between course concepts, especially when introducing new ideas.
  • Have students connect key ideas or themes in discussion forums.
6. Chunk information into smaller pieces to help learners process information
  • Use dividers to break online course content into shorter pieces.
  • Release course modules adaptively to prevent information overload.
7. Provide a high-level checklist for content, activities, and assignments


  • Design checklist so students can easily map the course structure for the day or the week.
  • Assign a group each week to create a checklist for the class.

Action & Expression

1. Build opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge in different formats.


  • Create tasks that can be done entirely or partly in writing or through presentation (e.g. online or video presentations).
  • When appropriate, ask students to come up with ideas on how they want to demonstrate their learning.
2. Provide learners with examples of ways to solve problems with real-life and/or academic examples.
  • Offer instances of disciplinary knowledge being used to solve real issues.
  • Pose problems and ask learners to identify ways that others have solved them.
  • Ask students to write or speak about how they might apply knowledge in the real work.


3. Give feedback in different formats (audio, video, written).


  • Provide feedback using free screen capture tools like Jing or Screencast-o-matic.
  • Record audio feedback via your phone or computer.
  • Offer synchronous sessions to meet with students to discuss progress.
4. Provide samples that learners can refer to for content organization and assignment
  • Design templates for content organization and assignments.
  • Share student work samples (with permission) to illustrate course outcomes.
6. Pose questions for learners to reflect and self-monitor progress.


  • Ask students to reflect on their learning at the end of each class.
  • At key points, prompt students to consider how they have met course outcomes.
  • Create a task that asks students to regularly reflect on their learning, such as a reflection journal.
7. Wrap up courses with activities or interactive assessments
  • Have students to summarize key take-aways and share with each other.
  • Create low-stake short quizzes as a way to summarize key concepts and assess learning.


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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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