Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Defined
The National Center on Universal Design for Learning defines UDL as a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.
If the curriculum and there for the material that makes up the curriculum are flexible and inclusive then the abilities or disabilities one experiences has less influence on the ability to access the information being conveyed. In other words address the accessibility of the material rather than 'blame' the disability. The issue of accessible material does not stop at that which relates to education but reaches beyond to include all material produced for general public consumption. Although in some cases individuals and organizations are not legally bound by laws requiring them to produce accessible material it would seem that as a matter of best practice both individuals and organizations would out of fairness consider using principles of UDL when creating material.
What Can Be Done?
The producers of materials can utilize principles of UDL and UDI to create highly effective material that communicates their message in the most efficient way. The following are examples of resource that have been developed to help in the creation of accessible and highly usable material.
Tools and Resources
Sample Support from University of Connecticut UDI
- Highlight Feature in MS Word
- Comment Feature in MS Word
- Summary Feature in MS Word
- Resource Template
- Inspiration is a software program that organizes information in a visual or outline form. It presents the “big picture”. You can use Inspiration to: make visual displays (diagrams, flow charts, concept maps) of course readings, notes or concepts; instantly switch back and forth between diagrams and outlines; use pre-existing templates to display concepts and notes; use signs, diagrams, and clip art to make visual displays easier to follow.
- Audacity a free downloadable software that allows you to record and edit speech. Audacity allows you to drop audio clips into PowerPoint slides or to record your voice as a reminder to students about dates for assignments, readings, and quizzes/tests.
- Power Point Notes
- Test Banks
- Ankiis a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it is a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.