Inclusive Classrooms

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it, and show what they know.

The basics

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): What You Need to Know
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed. This approach offers flexibility in the ways students access material, engage with it and show what they know. Developing lesson plans this way helps all kids, but it may be especially helpful for kids with learning and attention issues.

5 Examples of Universal Design for Learning in the Classroom
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching aimed at meeting the needs of every student in a classroom. It can be helpful for all kids, including kids with learning and attention issues. But UDL takes careful planning by teachers. Here are just a few examples of how UDL can work in a classroom.

Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Students
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides the opportunity for all students to access, participate in, and progress in the general-education curriculum by reducing barriers to instruction. Learn more about how UDL offers options for how information is presented, how students respond or demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and how students are engaged in learning.

Accessible Materials for Students with Print Disabilities
Many struggling and special needs students have a print disability. Teachers can meet these students’ needs by translating the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into practice. Learn about the seven features of and how to select these materials for your school and classroom.

The UDL Guidelines

National Center on UDL Director David Rose walks us through the UDL Guidelines, a detailed framework of principles, guidelines, and checkpoints for creating curriculum that supports all learners. The UDL Guidelines were developed over the past decade with federal and private support. (National Center on Universal Design for Learning)

UDL: Principles and Practice

National Center on UDL Director David Rose explains how UDL helps meet the most pressing issues facing educators today. Drawing on brain research and the latest learning sciences, Dr. Rose describes the three UDL principles and what they mean for classroom practice. (National Center on Universal Design for Learning)

UDL in Action in the Classroom

Watch how Eric Crouch, a fifth-grade teacher and Understood Teacher Fellow, incorporates UDL into his daily classroom practice — from how he sets up his classroom to how he presents a lesson and engages all students. Then learn how you can get started with UDL in your classroom. (Understood)

More resources on UDL

The Difference Between Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Traditional Education
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching that aims to give all students equal opportunities to succeed, no matter how they learn. While some teachers in traditional schools may use UDL principles and practices on their own, traditional and UDL approaches to education are very different. This chart highlights some of te differences (Understood)

The UDL Guidelines
The UDL Guidelines can be used by educators, curriculum developers, researchers, parents, and anyone else who wants to implement the UDL framework in a learning environment. These guidelines offer a set of concrete suggestions that can be applied to any discipline or domain to ensure that all learners can access and participate in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities. (CAST)

Tips, Tricks and Tools to Build Your Inclusive Classroom Through UDL
UDL is not a special ed thing or even a general ed thing. It’s just an ed thing. It is a way to connect every student to the learning experience, and a way at looking at learning that is fully inclusive and promotes success for all learners, regardless of ability. Let’s dig deeper into the three principles and discuss some real world classroom applications to lead to a more inclusive learning experience for all students. (Ed Surge)

Universal Design for Learning: Creating a Learning Environment that Challenges and Engages All Students
This module examines the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and discusses how to apply these principles to the four curricular components (i.e., goals, instructional materials, instructional methods, and assessments) Estimated completion time: 2.5 hours. (IRIS Center/Vanderbilt University) 

In the media

The Myth of Average: Todd Rose

This TED video explores "The Myth of Average". High school dropout turned Harvard faculty member,Todd Rose, takes the metaphor of "adjustable seats" and applies it to the UDL principles of education.

News stories

A New Approach to Designing Educational Technology
Slate Magazine

Marrying Umiversal Design for Learning and Digital Literacy
International Literacy Association Daily

Reading Rockets (2019)

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"A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom" —

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