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Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all. UDL mirrors the universal design movement in architecture and product development. Think of speakerphones, curb cuts, and close-captioned television, all universally designed to accommodate a wide variety of users, including those with disabilities. Embedded features that help those with disabilities eventually benefit everyone. UDL uses technology's power and flexibility to make education more inclusive and effective for all.

UDL recognizes that every learner is unique and processes information differently. UDL is based on CAST's research related to three primary brain networks (recognition network, strategic network, and affective network) and the roles they play in understanding these differences. UDL provides a framework to create and implement lessons with flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that support learning for all students. UDL provides a blueprint for creating flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that accommodate learner differences. UDL addresses the need for multiple approaches to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Universal Design for Learning is an educational approach with three primary principles : 

  • Multiple means of representation, to give diverse learners options for acquiring information and knowledge,
  • Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners options for demonstrating what they know,
  • Multiple means of engagement, to tap into learners' interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation

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