Universal Design for Learning

What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

According to Tobin and Behling, “Universal design for learning (UDL) is a set of design principles based on the neuroscience of how humans learn. It advocates for lowering barriers to learning for everyone in three broad ways: 

  • Provide multiple means of learner engagement. 
  • Provide multiple means of representing information. 
  • Provide multiple means for learners to take action and express themselves.”

The video below from CAST, the organization that pioneered UDL, provides a brief introduction to these principles. (While the cartoons superficially reference K-12, the principles apply equally well to higher education.) As you continue to think about and develop an open pedagogy activity or assignment, keep these questions in mind:

  • How might you add multiple means of engagement (the why of learning) in your course, and specifically to your open pedagogy activity or assignment?
  • How might you apply multiple means of representation (the what of learning) to materials or information you provide your students?
  • How does your open pedagogy activity or assignment use multiple means of action and expression (the how of learning)?

As in other activities, you are encouraged to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions about UDL in the comments below.


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