Universal Design for Learning

globe with continentsUniversal Design for Learning is intended to create access for all learners to meet each student where they are rather than to implement a "one size fits all" approach to classroom learning. As a result of applying UDL principles, educators will create learning environments that are conducive to a wide variety of student learning styles, modalities, needs, etc. In the process of such implementation, educators will establish quality learning environments.


At the core of universal design is the opportunity to address disciplinary instruction, thinking, learning, and application in a blended (or interdisciplinary) approach that reflects 21st century teaching, learning, and work. By placing the learner at the center, the instructional planning focuses on the subject of the learning and develops all of the disciplinary tools necessary to effectively apply the learning for deep understanding and retention of transferable knowledge. After all, we are preparing today's students to do jobs that have not yet been invented.

We suggest keeping a journal to record the discussion prompts within the modules and videos, and your responses.

Watch this brief video

Introduction to Universal Design for Learning  


Module 1: Engagement

Engagement of students begins with interest and identity.

View this video to learn more about Interest (~ 18 ½ minutes)

JOURNAL: How do you learn about student interests? How do you adjust lessons to address student interest? 

View this video to learn more about Identity (~ 6 ½ minutes)


Chart titled engagment with the following pique student interest and motivation, draw on student identity and interest, provide opportunities to collaborate and to communicate in various ways (e.g., blog, podcast, Face-to-Face, presentation to authentic audience, etx.)


Module 2: Representation

A variety of learning styles requires various representations.

View this video to learn more about Representation (~ 19 ½ minutes)


Chart titled representation with the following utilization of multiple formats to present concepts, accessibility to cotnent for all students, mutliple modalities, i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, activate prior knowledge and/or provide common experience as a launching point

JOURNAL: Reflect on one class you currently have or recently had. What are the learning styles preferred by the students? Create an inventory of learning experiences that reflect the variety of learning styles. 

Module 3: Action and Expression

Providing students with voice and choice allows for action and expression of their learning.

View this video to learn more about Action and Expression (~ 5 ½ minutes)


Chart titled action and expression with the following provide for student voice and choice in demonstration of learning, varied tools of expression (e.g., technology-based, oral expression, written expression, etc.) and methods of expression (e.g., poster session, slide deck, writeen report, news cast, screen play, etc.)


The sky is the limit for student choice: menus, podcasts, blogs, poster sessions, PowerPoint presentations, dramatic plays, modeling, debates, etc.

JOURNAL: How might you incorporate some of these choices in your curriculum? Is there one you have not tried? 

Wrap it Up

Equitable access is achieved by implementing engagement, representation, action and expression.

View this video to learn more about Equitable Access (~ 4 minutes)



JOURNAL: Define equitable access as it has been explained through UDL. Explain how engagement, representation, action, and expression support equitable access. What is one step you can take to enhance equitable access in your teaching community? 

Now that you have completed Universal Design for Learning, please complete this short questionnaire to receive your contact hour certificate.

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