Think back to when you were a student. What specific challenges or barriers have you faced in your learning experiences, and how would you like to have seen those addressed? What would your ideal experience look like?

What is UDL?

As educators, we are responsible for creating inclusive learning environments that enable every student to succeed. One approach that has gained popularity in recent years is Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework that provides educators with tools to design flexible and accessible instruction that meets the diverse needs of all learners.

UDL was developed by CAST based on the idea that all students learn differently and that educators can design instruction to accommodate these differences. By providing multiple ways to engage with content, multiple ways to represent information, and multiple ways to demonstrate knowledge, educators can increase the accessibility and inclusivity of their instruction.

CAST introducation to UDL.

In the March 03, 2023 Digital Toolshed, we introduced the core principles of UDL, how they can be applied in the classroom, and the benefits they can bring to students and educators. Damien Miles, Instructor, Electrical Program, VIU Trades and Applied Technology, inspired and facilitated the discussion. Damien received the 2022 VIU Access and Inclusion Award for his teaching practices. The VIU Access and Inclusion Award recognizes individuals who have made our VIU university community more accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities, by:

  • Removing or challenging physical, social, attitudinal, and other forms of barriers.
  • Creating opportunities for inclusion – social, academic, professional, athletic, artistic.
  • Improving physical access to buildings, infrastructure, public spaces, events.
  • Connecting persons with disabilities from our campuses to services, information, resources and supports.
  • Educating, advising, motivating, and inspiring others.
  • Cultivating a culture of inclusion at VIU for everyone.

Want to Learn More?

How might you apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning in your own teaching practice to meet the diverse needs of students?

To learn more about UDL, check out the CIEL Blog and join a conversation with colleagues facilitated by CIEL via Zoom, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, on Friday, March 10, 2023 (Zoom). Sign up through InVIU.

Additional Reources

CAST UDL Guidelines and Tools  [Website]

UDL Checklist: use this checklist to (1) Identify the UDL practices you already use, (2) Add the ones you would like to use, and (3) Determine the strategies you would like more training on [9 page PDF]

VIU Accessibility Services [Website]

VIU Disability Access Services: What Instructors Need to Know


Exploring the Potential of Universal Design for Learning with Regards to Mental Health Issues in Higher Education [Journal Article]