“ … barriers to learning are not,
in fact, inherent in the capacities of learners, but instead arise
in learners’ interactions
with inflexible educational materials and methods.”
Rose & Meyer, 2002
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is about more than accessibility or the notion of making environments accessible for learners with disabilities. It gets at the heart of design – whether it’s design of a building, design of learning materials, design of a classroom environment, or design of a system. UDL is about the decisions we make in the design and development of learning systems, materials, and environments and whether those decisions unnecessarily constrain learners.
This online tutorial has been designed for a variety of audiences. Click to see how this tutorial is beneficial for:
Administrators (any environment)
Universal Design is a way of thinking about the individuals who inhabit the spaces and places we build. It is a way of thinking about the inherent diversity of any given group of learners and applying a set of principles that will maximize access to learning – for all ages, modalities, life styles and life structures.
Barriers to learning may result from the inflexibility of the materials and methods, or the learning environment or system, be it in a classroom or online or a self-paced environment, or the inflexibility of the educational system itself, to include policies and procedures.
Universal Design is also a way of thinking about design – rather than being an add-on or afterthought, it is a starting point in the design process. Using a set of principles for design, it takes diversity of the learner population into account from the start and builds features into the learning materials, environment, and system that allow a broad set of learners to access the learning (both the content and the instructional strategies) and accomplish learning goals. These features have to be consciously built, or designed, into the materials, strategies, environment and system – they will not occur by chance, and they can become clunky, burdensome, and overbearing as add-ons.
In this tutorial in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), we’re going to look at the concept of Universal Design (UD), its history and fundamental principles, examples of UD and UDL in application (both in education and in other areas of life), and explore some case studies. This tutorial will feature multiple types of representation – text, pictures, narrated animations, and pictures – one of the fundamental aspects of Universal Design for Learning. It has also been purposefully designed so that you can go directly to the part(s) of the tutorial you want (flexibility of design) and can be easily adapted for you to use for in-house training.
By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to:
© 2007 National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities, University of Northern Colorado
Developed by Stephanie L. Moore, Ph.D.