Universal Design of Learning (UDL) comes from the architectural concept universal design, which aims to design buildings and other locations with EVERYONE in mind, which makes it universal! For example, these stairs don't have an accessibility ramp, therefore making it not universal.
The goal of UDL is to make learning accessible and effective for all students, which includes those who may be excelling, struggling, or with special needs. This aims to personalize the education for each individual student. How cool is that?!
When designing your lesson with UDL principles, it is important to remember 3 things: You need to offer multiple means of expression, multiple means of representation, and multiple means of engagement. We will take a look at what these might look like next.
One way teachers can provide multiple means of representation is to give the students various ways of learning the material. For example, it may be written on the board for visual learners, the teacher may read it aloud for auditory learners, and the teacher may provide some guided notes for students who struggle to find the important information.
When providing multiple means of engagement, it is important to eliminate distractions to provide an optimal environment for students to respond. While raising their hands to respond is always an option, it is important to include other options for students to respond, like providing individual white boards and having students write their answers, or putting students in teams to let students who may struggle and lack confidence still be able to participate!
Last but certainly not least, students need multiple means of expression. When assigning something, it is ideal to have many different options for how students can respond. For example, students may make a movie, write a paper, draw a picture, or write a song. By providing these options, students can play on their strengths to create something that would be more effective than another option.