Applying Universal Design
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal Design for Learning is 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 (Center for Applied Special Technology,
Three primary brain networks come in to play during learning:
- Recognition Networks—The "what" of learning
How we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear, and read. Identifying letters, words, or an author's style are recognition tasks.
- Teaching approach: Present information and content in different ways
- Strategic Networks—The "how" of learning
Planning and performing tasks. How we organize and express our ideas. Writing an essay or solving a math problem are strategic tasks.
- Teaching approach: Differentiate the ways that students can express what they know
- Affective Networks—The "why" of learning
How learners get engaged and stay motivated. How they are challenged, excited, or interested. These are affective dimensions.
- Teaching approach: Stimulate interest and motivation for learning
Copyright © Center for Applied Special Technology, Harvard University
For more information:
- UDL Guidelines—From the National Center on Universal Design for Learning
- UDL Educator Checklist
- UDL Online Modules—Two free modules that introduce UDL and provide information about applying the UDL framework to lesson development.
- UDL on College Campuses—Examples of implementing UDL in the classroom and in online courses.
Universal Design for Diversity
- Assess the prevalence of these characteristics in your organization, potential constituencies, audiences, and/or markets.
- Create a diverse advisory group or several diversity affinity groups to help with planning.
- Provide on-going briefings on diversity for organizational leaders and online training for others in the organization.
- Evaluate and modify practices, based in significant part on internal feedback, as well as feedback from constituencies, audiences, and/or markets.
Universal Design for Event Planning
Universal design builds in the legal requirements gracefully and takes a broader approach—not “accommodations” but rather “designed-in” as routine elements of an event. Those planning events with universal design in mind routinely budget possible accommodation costs (e.g. sign language interpreter); routinely confirm accessibility, easy availability of assistive listening devices, etc.; and routinely use an accessibility checklist.
Additional Applications of Universal Design
The University of Washington’s DO-IT program provides additional information applying Universal Design in the areas of education; instruction; physical spaces and the technological environment; distance learning; libraries; student services; projects, conference exhibits, and presentations. Learn more about these additional applications of Universal Design.