Page 1



UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING • A framework that can help you turn the challenges posed by high standards and increasing learner diversity into opportunities to maximize learning for every student. • Seizes the opportunity brought by rapidly evolving communication technologies to create flexible methods and materials that can reach diverse learners. • An integral component of improving student learning, compatible with other approaches to education reform.

VISION • UDL is an approach that ties together the work of other educational researchers and reformers who advocate a break from the traditional classroom model. • UDL supports differentiated instruction, teachers and coaches or guides, learning as process, cooperative learning, demonstrating learning in a wide variety of media. All these approaches represent aspects of a model where learners actively construct meaning and teachers participate and support learning rather than impart knowledge.

OBJECTIVES • Carefully conceived classwide learning goals, inclusive of all students. • Individualized approaches for reaching those goals, including customized supports that change as learners progress.

• Assessments that measure ongoing progress and provide teachers and students with useful feedback.

CHAPTER 1: EDUCATION IN THE DIGITAL AGE • In a time of greater student diversity, increased emphasis on standards and accountability challenges teachers to help all students achieve. • New insights into the learning brain shed light on learner differences and effective uses of technology. • Instilling flexibility into methods and materials maximizes learning opportunities not only for students with identified disabilities, but for all students. • The task for educators is to understand how students learn and use the technology available in this digital age to provide selected supports where they are needed and positions the challenge appropriately for each learner. In this way, we can engage more students and help every one progress.


Digital technologies can adjust to learner differences, enabling teachers to: • Differentiate problems a student may have using particular kinds of learning media from more general learning problems.

• Draw upon a student’s other strengths and interests that may be blocked by the exclusive use of printed text.

CHAPTER 2: WHAT BRAIN RESEARCH TELLS US ABOUT LEARNER DIFFERENCES • Learning is distributed across three interconnected networks: • Recognition networks are specialized to receive and analyze information (the “what” of learning) – specialized to sense and assign meaning to patterns we see – they enable us to identify and understand information, ideas, and concepts; • Strategic networks are specialized to plan and execute actions (the “how” of learning) – specialized to generate and oversee mental and motor patterns – enable us to plan, execute, and monitor actions and skills;

• Affective networks are specialized to evaluate and set priorities (the “why” of learning) – specialized to evaluate patterns and assign them emotional significance – enable us to engage with tasks and learning and with the world around us.

CHAPTER 2: WHAT BRAIN RESEARCH TELLS US ABOUT LEARNER DIFFERENCES • The activities of these networks parallel the three prerequisites for learning described by Vygotsky: •

Recognition of the information to be learned

Application of strategies to process that information

Engagement with the learning task

• These three networks share two common characteristics that have particular significance for learning: •

Processing is distributed laterally across many brain regions operating in parallel (enabling, for example, simultaneous processing of color and shape)

Processing is hierarchical, enabling simultaneous processing of sensory information entering low in the hierarchy (“bottom-up”) and contextual influences entering high in the hierarchy (“top-down”).


• Learners’ capacities are not inherent; capacities are defined by the interplay between learners’ abilities and the tools they use. • Traditional classroom materials and media, like books and speech, come in “one size” for all, but they do not fit everyone. Inflexible media actually create barriers to learning. • New classroom media, like digital text, sound, images, and the Internet, can be adjusted for different individuals and can open doors to learning. • Particular qualities of speech, text, and images differentiate their respective communicative power and influence their suitability for various expressive purposes. Each medium’s characteristics drive how the brain understands it and how effective it can be in instruction.

Recognition Network Strategic Network Affective Network Advantages Disadvantages Speech Rely on distributed, parallel Requires heavy participation In order to remember what they Expressive power; Transience, reliance processing to interpret many because of the memory demands hear, listeners must stay actively emphasize or clarify on audience kinds of complex stimuli, while imposed by transience. To gain engaged. Appealing to their words through memory simultaneously processing meaning we must actively interests, fears, hopes, and senses physical cues, facial individual sounds, words, phrases, remember what we hear. of humor. Emotional content that expression, gestures, and intonation. Required both Organizing long, continuous is carried by words, but is distinct motion, posture; bottom-up (interpreting meaning stream of speech into meaningful from the worlds themselves. interactive. from the flow of sounds) and top- segments, placing these segments Interpreting emotional cues. down processing (using prior in context with prior knowledge, knowledge and context to predict and engaging tactics to remember what words will come next and to new concepts presented in the make sense of what we are speech. hearing.) Text

Making connections between letter forms and letter sounds. Decoding text - recognize several levels of complex patterns (letter, letter-sound correspondences, words, phrases, and sentences) and a variety of forms (essays, newspaper stories, poems) bottom up. Determining word meaning - top-down.

Comprehension - recognizing the To access emotion through text, meaning of text, constructing that readers must interpret these cues meaning thought interpretation and conventions and "add back" and analysis. Requires set goals, the expressive nuance of speech create and execute plan, generate and sound. This requires tophypothesis, test textual cues, down affective processing - using constantly monitor, reread when context to infer the correct comprehension falters, evaluate emotional tone. whether goal has been achieved.

Image Interpreting images requires Requires the analysis of parts and visual acuity and ability to wholes. Create viewing strategies recognize the part in relation to according to their own purposes each other - in size, depth, and nature of the image. Topmovement, and many other ways. down processing: inspection is Images are processed in parallel more firmly anchored to the by multiple modules. Images meaning or knowledge they seek, require the ability to see the and they are skilled at tying what overall ideas it's communicating. they see to what they already know.

Reduces memory Lacks demands; expressiveness, overcomes large number of transience; support conventions memory, attention required to and comprehension; understand. supports fidelity.

Crucial to deciding the important Communicate Complex images elements of images and everything at once. governed by understanding them. Share the Ability to convey conventions that can directness and emotive power of emotion and feeling be quite complex. spoken language and permanence more directly than Not ideal for of text. Present everything at text. conveying once rather than sequentially, Representational conceptual, giving viewers the opportunity to images don't require philosophical, and examine the information in decoding. Simplify abstract images in their own preferred complex information. sequence. information.

CHAPTER 3: WHY WE NEED FLEXIBLE INSTRUCTIONAL MEDIA • Digital media represents information through text, sound, and images, but also provides flexibility. Digital media is also versatile, transformable, can be marked, and can be networked. It gives education the opportunity to offer content in a variety of ways and reduce barriers. • Incorporating digital media into the classroom is an important step that requires thoughtful consideration. Accessing their flexibility requires a shift in how educators think about instruction … helping teachers understand the process of integrating digital media into the curriculum to engage diverse learners in meaningful educational progress.


The key to helping all student achieve is identifying and removing barriers from our teaching methods and curriculum materials. Drawing from brain research and using new media, the UDL framework proposes that educators strive for three kinds of flexibility: •

To represent information in multiple formats and media.

To provide multiple pathways for students’ action and expression.

To provide multiple ways to engage students’ interest and motivation.

The central practical premise of UDL is that a curriculum should include alternatives to make it accessible and appropriate for individuals with different backgrounds, learning styles, abilities, and disabilities in widely varied learning contexts. The “universal” does not imply one optimal solution for everything. Rather it reflects an awareness of the unique nature of each learner and the need to accommodate differences, creating learning experiences that suit the learner and maximize his or her ability to progress. UDL provides a framework that helps teachers differentiate their instruction through carefully articulated goals and individualized materials, methods, and assessments.

CHAPTER 4: WHAT IS UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING? (UDL) • UDL originated from an architectural movement originally formulated by Ron Mace at North Carolina State University. The idea behind the universal design in architecture is to create structures that are conceived, designed, and constructed to accommodate the widest spectrum of users, including those with disabilities, without the need for subsequent adaptation or specialized design. • Addressing the divergent needs of special populations increases usability for everyone. UDL hit two key ideas: applies the idea of built-in flexibility to the educational curriculum and it pushes it one step further by not only improving access to information within classrooms, but also improving access to learning.


Access to information vs. access to learning:

Access to information: getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible with the least amount or strain/ “wear and tear” by using multiple tools and resources to help.

Access to learning: Seeking opportunities to improve and using tools that selectively support areas of weakness.

Three principles of the UDL framework: •

To support recognition of learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of presentation.

To support strategic learning, provide multiple, flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship.

To support affective learning, provide multiple, flexible options for engagement.

The UDL framework can guide these pedagogical steps, helping teachers to (1) set clear goals, (2) individualize instruction, and (3) access progress.


• To best serve our students, we need to understand the strengths and limitations of standards as they are currently designed so that we may interpret and apply them effectively and contribute o their improvement. • Pursuing goals involved the whole brain – most learning goals do tend to fall primarily into the domain of one brain network, one kind of “knowing”: •

Recognition network – “what” of learning

Strategic network - “how” of learning

Affective network – “why” of learning

• Deriving clear goals from standards requires teasing out the central purpose of a standard by separating the goal from the means for attaining it, restating the goal in a way that is attainable for all students, and then individualizing the pathways to the goal and performance criteria for measuring success.


Designing Instruction to Support Recognition Learning: •

Providing multiple examples.

Highlighting critical features.

Providing multiple media and formats.

Supporting background knowledge.

Designing Instruction to Support Strategic Learning: •

Provide flexible models of skilled performance.

Provide opportunities to practice with supports.

Provide ongoing, relevant feedback.

Offer flexible opportunities for demonstrating skill.

Designing Instruction to Support Affective Learning: •

Officer choices of content tools.

Provide adjustable levels of challenge.

Offer a choice of rewards.

Offer a choice of learning context.

CHAPTER 7: USING UDL TO ACCURATELY ASSESS STUDENT PROGRESS • Digital curricula with embedded assessment can track progress and provide ongoing feedback to help students improve performance while they are learning. • Barriers to accurate assessment: •

Individual learning differences

Media constraints

Lack of appropriate supports

Lack of integration with curriculum

• Increasing assessment accuracy and accessibility through UDL •

Flexibility in presentation

Flexibility in expression and strategic supports

Flexibility in engagement

CHAPTER 7: USING UDL TO ACCURATELY ASSESS STUDENT PROGRESS • The obvious value of embedded, flexible UDL assessment is its ability to adjust to many individual differences and focus the questions on exactly what teachers are trying to find out. With flexibility in presentation, expression, supports, and engagement, we can reduce the common errors introduced by single-mode fixed assessments. It also allows teachers to align assessment more closely with teaching goals and methods and thus, to assess students more accurately. • Assessments in our digital age should be dynamic and universally designed. When we provide a full range of customizations and adaptations as pat of assessments, we are able to more accurately evaluate both student performance and the processes that underlie that performance.

CHAPTER 8: MAKING UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING A REALITY • The major components necessary to implement UDL at the local level within a district are technology infrastructure, administrative support, teacher training and support, redefined roles for special and regular education teachers, a new curriculum planning model, parent and community involvement, and creative funding. • To be practical on a larger scale, UDL requires systematic changes in the following key arenas: policy, curriculum design, teacher training and preparation, consensus building, and parent involvement. • UDL does require change, and change requires activism. Although educational reform efforts are most visible in classroom where they are being practices, the most successful ones extend beyond teachers and outside classrooms to involved administrators, parents and politicians.

CRITIQUE & RECOMMENDATIONS • Great framework for using technology in education • Providing all students the access to information and the access to learning • Variety of theories and ideas • Transferability • Provides more than an idea, but a system that can be put in place • New edition - outdated

CORRELATIONS • Meeting diverse needs • Equal access • Bridging the gap & paying back the educational debt • Increasing student achievement for all students • Differentiation for all students/Individuality

APA CITATION Rose, D. H., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the Digital Age: Universal design for learning. Alexandria, VA.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Teaching every student in the digital age