Universal Design for Learning (UDL)


Universal Design for Learning provides a blueprint for creating flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that accommodate learner differences.
Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.

Universal Design for Learning provides opportunities to bring a variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints.

reference: http://www.udlcenter.org/

Workshop Learner Objectives:

1. Gain an overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) components and how it impacts educators, para-professionals and students regarding assistive, instructional and educational technologies.
2. Identify and explore district strategies and plans for success to incorporate into the elementary and secondary educational environment.
3. Acquire knowledge to support and implement a variety of strategies, technologies and web-based tools to build flexibility into classroom instruction and set a UDL stage for learning and accommodation for all students.
4. Explore and review various strategies and resources to promote student engagement and positive behavior.
5. Capture, identify and use a variety of resources for further education, training and resource

Discussion Questions
  • What ways can you build in flexibility into your curriculum and/or lesson plans?
  • How are you able to share what you know about Universal Design for Learning?
  • Which technology tools can support you in making your lesson plans and bring about individual student success?

Poll -- click here or on the navigation to go to a poll question. (resource: survey gizmo)

Additional Materials:

Guided notes: Inclusion Works - UDL for All
Special Connections - UDL Lesson plan (University of Kansas)
UDL Guidelines (CAST) or

AT in the IEP flowchart
UDL Guidelines 2,0 - Educator Checklist (CAST) or

UDL Guidelines 2.0 online version- http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines

Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology -- UDL page

UDL Wheel - Maryland State Department of Education and Howard Co. Public Schools

National Center on AIM, "Curriculum Access for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities: The Promise of UDL"

Building Inclusive Schools Initiative (BISI) (Region 4 ESC) Live Binder resource:

Sharing your information and resources:

ACTIVITY: http://www.todaysmeet.com/ATUDL
Note: use TINY URL or bit.ly to make URL addresses shorter.

Setting the Stage:

Video links:

CAST Video presentations:
  • Diversity of Learners
  • Universal Design and Universal Design for Learning
  • The Brain Research
  • Principles of UDL

Captioned version on CAST Video Site:

UDL Center video presentations: http://www.udlcenter.org/screening_room/udlcenter

UDL Center Learning Series: http://udlseries.udlcenter.org/
VIDEO: Learner Variability and Universal Design for Learning [15:36 minute presentation]
see "Examples Template" and "the Future is in the Margins" article.

"Clearing A Path for People with Special Needs, Clears a Path for Everyone!"

2002 Michael F. Giancregco, Illustration by Kevin Ruelle Peytral Publications, Inc.


1. How do you learn best?
2. How does your colleague learn best?
3. How can you build in flexibility to aid in your partner's learning?

Post your answers on TitanPad

The "WWWWWH" of UDL:

WHO -- ALL students including Special Ed, 504, ELL, disadvantaged, gifted/talented, struggling learners, educators -- to name a few categories
WHAT -- UDL is the process of designing and delivering curricula, materials, and environments in a manner that makes them accessible and usable to all students.
WHERE -- Learning happens in a variety of environments, not just in the classroom. e.g. on the bus, at home, lunchroom, place of worship, gym, dinnertime...
WHEN -- Learning can happen now, later, beforehand, afterward, synchronously, asynchronously, in real-time, online time... etc.
WHY -- Education is changing; Working environments are changing; society is changing -- our students have changed and are digital natives.
HOW -- Hopefully this wikipage will give you some exploring ways to utilize Universal Design for Learning.

Components of Universal Design for Learning...

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines ...

  1. Multiple Means of Representation - how materials are delivered/presented and what students know
  2. Multiple Means of Action & Expression - how students demonstrate knowledge
  3. Multiple Means of Engagement - how students will learn



1. Personally think about what strategies you already use in your class and where does it fall under the UDL principles?
2. As a group, share and brainstorm possible strategies in each above principle.
3. Share your strategies by clicking here: Google spreadsheetor

I. Multiple Means of Representation:

I. **Provide Multiple Means of Representation:**
  1. Provide options for perception
1.1 Offer ways of customizing the display of information
1.2 Offer alternatives for auditory information
1.3 Offer alternatives for visual information
  1. Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols
2.1 Clarify vocabulary and symbols
2.2 Clarify syntax and structure
2.3 Support decoding of text, and mathematical notation, and symbols
2.4 Promote understanding across language
2.5 Illustrate through multiple media
  1. Provide options for comprehension
3.1 Activate or supply background knowledge
3.2 Highlight patterns, critical features, big ideas, and relationships
3.3 Guide information processing, visualization, and manipulation
3.4 Maximize transfer and generalization
You can make your own word cloud using http://www.wordle.net
Or you can try http://www.tagxedo.com

Wordle: UDL 2 another example of a word cloud

Voice Thread example

II. Multiple Means of Action and Expression:
Provide Multiple Means for Action and Expression:**
4. Provide options for physical action
4.1 Vary the methods for response and navigation
4.2 Optimize access to tools and assistive technologies
5. Provide options for expression and communication
5.1 Use multiple media for communication
5.2 Use multiple tools for construction and composition
5.3 Build fluencies with graduated labels of support for practice and performance
6. Provide options for executive functions
6.1Guide appropriate goal setting
6.2Support planning and strategy development
6.3Facilitate managing information and resources
6.4Enhance capacity for monitoring progress

Using UDL in High School Biology to provide options for physical action. Link to video here.

III. Provide Multiple Means for Engagement:
  1. Provide options for recruiting interest
7.2 Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity
7.3 Minimize threats and distractions
  1. Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence
8.1 Heighten salience of goals and objectives
8.2 Vary demands and resources to optimize challenge
8.3 Foster collaboration and community
  1. Provide options for self-regulation
9.1 Promote expectations and beliefs that optimize motivation
9.2 Facilitate personal coping skills and strategies
9.3 Develop self-assessment and reflection

Bookbuilder by CAST

Source: Wikis in Plain English by CommonCraft

Brain/Learning Networks

“Because all three brain networks are involved in learning, teachers cannot literally "teach to" students' recognition, strategic, and affective networks as separate entities. However, thinking about these networks individually helps us remember that learning is multifaceted and that barriers in the curriculum can arise in a number of places. “ Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age, CAST http://www.cast.org/teachingeverystudent/ideas/tes/chapter4_3.cfm

A. Recognition networks -- "what of learning"
Gathering facts. How we identify and categorize what we see, hear, and read. Identifying letters, words, or an author's style are recognition tasks—the "what" of learning.
B. Strategic networks -- "how of learning"
Planning and performing tasks. How we organize and express our ideas. Writing an essay or solving a math problem are strategic tasks—the "how" of learning.
C. Affective networks -- "why of learning"
How students are engaged and motivated. How they are challenged, excited, or interested. These are affective dimensions—the "why" of learning.

Region_4_Vertical_Color_Logo_jpg.jpgRegion 4 Education Service Center believes...

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework or "habit of mind" for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides flexible and rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all.

Region 4 ESC's action plan:
  1. Establish an Education Services Division-wide vision of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  2. Establish goals and objectivesfor:
    1. individual products/services (consultants)
    2. department based professional development (consultants)
    3. division-wide implementation of UDL
  3. Develop a mechanism for delivery of "Habit of Mind" philosophy of UDL
  4. Integrate UDL principles with RTI, PBS and other school-based initiatives

Region4UDL wiki

Behnke, Kirk, M.Ed., ATP
Senior Education Specialist, Special Education Solutions
Region 4 ESC
Region 4 Website