Using Universal Design For Learning to Meet the Needs of All Students
Worried that your teaching isn’t reaching ALL of your students? Looking for strategies to meet the needs of students who struggle to learn for a variety of reasons without compromising the rigorous standards of a course? The key to helping all students succeed is to remove barriers from course design, teaching methods, and curriculum materials. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an effective pedagogical approach that removes such barriers and enhances learning for students with varied backgrounds, learning styles, abilities and disabilities. UDL is:
- the process of making our course concepts educationally accessible regardless of learning style or ability.
- a proactive approach to designing course instruction, materials, and content to benefit students of all learning styles so that you can avoid making needed adaptations as an afterthought.
Universal Design for Learning asks educators to:
- REPRESENT information in multiple formats and media,
- provide multiple ways to ENGAGE students’ interest and motivation, and
- provide multiple pathways for students to EXPRESS what they have learned.
Visit the ELIXR website (http://elixr.merlot.org/) to hear from an experienced professor about her utilization of the principles of UDL in order to remove barriers and better meet student needs. In the ELIXR Universal Design for Learning digital case story, you see examples of, and will learn strategies for, embracing the principles of UDL.
Given the central role of teaching and learning in our professional lives, faculty need concrete ways to enhance effectiveness in the classroom in support of greater student achievement. Explore the following resources on Universal Design for Learning and consider adopting principles of UDL to better meet your students’ needs.
Written by: Tasha J. Souza, Humboldt State University
Sonoma State University, Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology (EnACT)
Ohio State University, Faculty and Administrator Modules in Higher Education (FAME)
University of Washington, Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT)
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
Creating a More Accessible Course Syllabus