The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 defines UDL as a scientifically
valid framework for guiding educational practice that:
Provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways
students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways
students are engaged; and
Reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate
accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high
achievement expectations for all students, including students with
disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. (National
Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2011)
Universal design (UD) is a
concept that was originally
developed in the field of
architecture. It arose from
the need to provide greater
accessibility in buildings
and public spaces for
everyone. A building
reflecting the universal
design would allow
someone with physical
disabilities to get in and
maneuver as easily as
someone without a
Examples in the Physical
Ramps, elevators, escalators,
electric doors, closed
captions, curb cuts, tactile
paving, and shower/bath tub
Principle 1: Provide Multiple Means of
Principle 2: Provide Multiple Means of
Action and Expression
Principle 3: Provide Multiple Means of
Providing information through multiple modalities
(vision, hearing, touch); and
Providing information in an adjustable
Hands-on activities, visual organizers; and
Activate prior knowledge highlight
key ideas and relationships, define
vocabulary, and illustrate key concepts.
Providing alternative ways for students to express what they
Providing multiple options and tools for communication; and
Provide support for planning, managing and
Illustrations, podcasts, blogs, storyboards, music;
Word prediction software, story webs,
concept mapping, math manipulatives,
web applications; and
Use scaffolding, modeling, think-aloud.
Provide alternative ways to recruit learner interest;
Provide varied instruction to promote student interest; and
Provide options for setting personal goals.
Vary levels of challenge, rewards, authentic activities, active
participation, make problems and activities relevant;
Differentiate degree of difficulty, provide multiple tools, promote
collaboration and cooperative learning, school-wide behavior
Model ways to manage frustration, develop coping skills, relate to
Promotes differentiated instruction;
Fosters collaboration and community
Empowers students to take control of
their own learning;
Allows opportunities for the teacher to become the
Increases student motivation, effort, and creativity;
Builds environments in which students are provided
with the maximum opportunities to increase learning;
Increases digital and traditional
literacy skills of learners by
Rose and Meyer (2002) suggest that learning takes place between three
different areas of the brain that affect the “What”, the “How” and the “Why” of
learning. These areas are known as the Recognition, Strategic, and Affective
The Recognition Network: Strategies that support the recognition of information
to be learned.
Providing multiple examples;
Highlighting critical features;
Providing multiple media and other formats; and
Support background context.
The Strategic Network: Strategies to process the information to be learned.
Providing flexible models of skilled performance;
Providing practice with support;
Providing ongoing relevant feedback; and
Providing flexible opportunities to demonstrate skills.
The Affective Network: Strategies to promote learner engagement with the tasks.
Offering choices of content and tools;
Providing adjustable levels of challenge;
Offering a choice of learning context; and
Offering a choice of reward. (Rose & Meyer, 2002)
UDL addresses learner variability by suggesting flexible
goals, methods, materials, and assessments that empower
educators to meet these varied needs. (National Center on
Universal Design for Learning, 2011);
Uses multimedia tools so that all cultures, genders, and
races have the optimum learning experience; and
Provides a variety of technology to support
Advances in technology are assisting and providing
students with learning opportunities that are adaptable
to their special learning needs and requirements.
Technology applications can simultaneously provide
contexts for affirming diversity, facilitating problem
solving and creativity, and enhancing student learning.
With hard work and persistence, teachers can leverage
technology to design and locate content, materials, and
resources that are interesting and effective for students
at all levels of experience, interest, and ability.
CAST: UDL Lesson Builder - http://lessonbuilder.cast.org/
This website provides educators with tools and models to create and adapt lessons to
increase access and participation for all types of learners in a general education
curriculum. This tool can be used to assist teachers to generate lessons and instruction
incorporating technology, materials, and assessments for a diverse group of learners.
CAST: UDL Book Builder - http://bookbuilder.cast.org/
This free online tool enables educators to develop their own digital books to support
reading instruction for children aged 3 and up. Terry, an animated character, guides
educators as they write text, choose images, and develop scripts for the prompts, hints, and
models that will help build young readers' skills. Teachers can use this tool to create,
edit, and save resource-rich texts.
CAST: UDL Studio - http://udlstudio.cast.org/
This is a free web-based tool that enables anyone to author and publish educational
materials that use the universal design for learning framework to flexibly respond to the
needs of all learners. Authors can create their content using text, video, audio, images,
and/or animation. Projects created can be stored privately or shared with groups or in the
studio public library.
Kingsley, K. V. (2007). Empower diverse learners with educational
technology and digital media. Intervention in School &
Clinic, 43(1), 52–56. Retrieved from the Walden University Library
using the Education Research Complete database.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Program
twelve: Universal Design for Learning. [Video webcast]. Reaching
an engaging all learners through technology. Baltimore, MD: Author.
National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (2011, March
15). UDL guidelines–Version 2.0. Retrieved from
Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age:
Universal design for learning. Retrieved from