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Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Principles

UDL is an educational approach to teaching, learning and assessment drawing on new brain research and new media technologies to respond to individual learner differences.

UDL Principle # 1


What options do teachers have for presenting content?

  • Video
  •  Audio
  •  Text Only
  •  Graphical
  •  Combinations

UDL Principal #1 supports recognition learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation

Recognition networks are specialized to sense and assign meaning to patterns and thus facilitates the identification and understanding of information, ideas, and concepts.

To support diverse recognition networks teachers should:

  • Provide information via multiple media types and formats
  • Provide multiple examples of the same concept
  • Highlight critical features
  • Support background context

UDL Principle #2


What options can teachers give students for responding to learning activities?

  •  Writing
  •  Drawing
  •  Reading
  •  Researching
  •  Designing
  •  Presenting
  •  Acting

UDL Principal #2 supports strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship.

Strategic networks are specialized to generate and oversee mental and motor patterns which enable the planning, execution, and monitoring of actions and skills.

To support diverse strategic networks teachers should:

  • Provide flexible models of skilled performance.
  • Provide scaffolded opportunities for students to practice and develop expertise.
  • Offer flexible opportunities for demonstrating proficiency such as: writing, drawing, designing, presenting, acting.
  • Provide timely, ongoing, relevant feedback to students. Immediate feedback is a major reason that gaming is so popular.

UDL Principle #3


What are some strategies teachers use to engage students?

  •  Learning Styles
  •  Self-selection
  •  Individualized learning
  •  Motivation

UDL Principal #3 supports affective learning, provide multiple, flexible options for engagement.

Affective networks are specialized to evaluate patterns and assign them emotional significance which promotes the engagement with tasks and learning.

To support diverse affective networks teachers should:

  • Offer adjustable levels of challenge; start teaching at a level that is slightly challenging level but one where the student can achieve success.
  • Offer choices of learning context to students.
  • Offer choices of tools to students to learn a skill or complete a task.
  • Offer choices of rewards.