“ The concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the intersection where all our initiatives—integrated units, multi-sensory teaching, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, use of computers in schools, performance-based assessment, and others—come together.”
Universal design is a concept 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 universal design principles, for example, would allow someone with physical disabilities to get in and around as easily as those without physical challenges. (Laureate Education, 2009)
The complex organization and unique structure of the brain is different in every learner. A large network of brain tissue links with many smaller networks to perform particular kinds of processing and managing particular learning tasks. Three primary networks, structurally and functionally distinguishable but closely connected and functioning together, are equally essential to learning. We identify these networks by terms that reflect their functions: the recognition, strategic, and affective networks. (Rose & Meyer, 2002)
UDL’s three principles parallel to these three brain networks to determine a learner’s strengths and weaknesses.
Description of the relationship between the 3 Principles of UDL vs 3 Brain Networks
UDL support cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and academic diversity?
From pre-kindergarten to graduate school, classrooms include learners with diverse abilities and backgrounds, including students with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities, differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds, varied preferences and motivations for learning, students who are unusually gifted, and many others.
Universal Design for Learning supports teachers’ efforts to meet the challenge of diversity by providing flexible instructional materials, techniques, and strategies that help teachers differentiate instruction to meet these varied needs.
This free online tool enables educators to develop their own digital books to support reading instruction for students. Teachers create, edit, and save resource-rich texts. 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 readers' skills.
The UDL Guidelines, an articulation of the UDL framework, can assist anyone who plans lessons/units of study or develops curricula (goals, methods, materials, and assessments) to reduce barriers, as well as optimize levels of challenge and support, to meet the needs of all learners from the start. They can also help educators identify the barriers found in existing curricula.