What is UDL?
This image shows the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines as presented by CAST as a graphic organizer in three columns. In the left column of the graphic organizer are the guidelines for Providing Multiple Means of Representation in purple. Arrows follow down the column of guidelines leading to "Resourceful, knowledgeable learners". The middle column presents the guidelines for Providing Multiple Means of Action and Expression in blue. Arrows follow down the column of guidelines leading to "Strategic, goal-directed learners". In the right column of the graphic organizer are the guidelines for Providing Multiple Means of Engagement in green. Arrows follow down the column of guidelines leading to "Purposeful, motivated learners". To read the guidelines and checkpoints, go to http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a translational framework that relates the learning sciences to education design; in essence, a set of principles for curriculum development that, once implemented, should provide all individuals with increased opportunities to learn. CAST’s research and development efforts in UDL have focused on illuminating the potential impact of emergent technology — in instructional strategies and curricula — to lower barriers while improving opportunities to learn.
The basic premise of UDL is that barriers to learning occur in students' interaction with the curriculum — they are not inherent solely in the capacities of the learner. UDL ensures that the curriculum is designed to account for systematic human variability without lowering expectations. Three principles underlie the framework of UDL: 1) multiple means of representation, 2) multiple means of expression and action, and 3) multiple means of engagement. The principles of UDL facilitate the differentiation of demands and resources, as well as challenges and supports, for individual learners. The UDL framework enables curriculum designers to anticipate and reduce or eliminate barriers to learning by making the curriculum flexible.
To learn more, check out the National Center on Universal Design for Learning website: http://www.udlcenter.org/