Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework we can use to design courses that are more inclusive and accessible. The framework, developed by CAST,  is quite extensive and there are many resources available that can help you implement UDL principles. In this blog post we will provide an overview of the three UDL guidelines and some ideas for how it can be implemented.

The Guidelines

CAST developed a set of three guidelines to help implement the principles of UDL. Each of these guidelines are based on extensive research and provide concrete examples for how they can be implemented. These guidelines are applicable across disciplines with the goal of “ensuring that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities.” (CAST)

The presentations below will take you through the basics of each guideline. You can access the full guidelines here

Multiple Means of Engagement

Read more on the CAST website.

Multiple Means of Representation

Read more on the CAST website.

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

Read more on the CAST website.

UDL Course Design Ideas and VIU Tools 

VIULearn, VIUTube and VIUBlogs can all be used in conjunction with course design decisions to support the implementation of UDL guidelines. Here are some course design ideas and the tools that support them.

Multiple Means of Engagement

CHECKPOINT 8.3: Foster collaboration and community

  • Course Design Idea: Have students work together in small groups to solve a problem as presented in a case study or scenario.
  • Tech Tool: Create discussion groups in VIULearn where the groups can either work together asynchronously, or track their thinking and resources while they work together synchronously. 

Multiple Means of Representation

CHECKPOINT 1.2: Offer alternatives for auditory information

  • Course Design Idea: Create short (5 min) videos that address concepts that students often struggle with, or that typically need further clarification.
  • Tech Tool: Use VIUTube to record you or your screen or both. The video will be automatically uploaded to VIUTube and can be shared with others via a link or embed code. Captions will be automatically generated for your video. However, they may not be 100% accurate so it’s always a good idea to review and edit your captions to ensure equitable access. 

Multiple Means of Action and Expression

CHECKPOINT 5.2: Use multiple tools for construction and composition

  • Course Design Idea: Provide choice for how students will complete and submit one or more assignments in your course.
  • Tech Tool: Students also have access to VIUTube and can use it to create, post and share video and audio files. This can be helpful for students who can best express what they have learned in ways other than writing. Students also have access to VIUBlogs and may wish to showcase their work in a more visual format via a blog or website.

What are you already doing? 

There are many ways that you can start to incorporate UDL principles into your courses and you may be doing some of them already. Here are a few of our previous blog posts which are not called UDL, but which contain strategies that can add elements of UDL into your course design. 

Want to Learn More? 

Check out these additional resources: 

And, as always, we encourage you to contact us for a conversation about this or any other teaching and learning topic.