Exploring the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework
The UDL framework can appear overwhelming on first view as it is extremely comprehensive covering three core principles; nine guidelines and numerous checkpoints. The framework is designed to offer support for your teaching and learning incrementally over time, not as a checklist to complete in one sitting (CAST, 2021).
A really useful concept to draw upon when exploring the framework is the 'Plus-One Mindset', a concept developed by Thomas Tobin and Kirsten Behling (2018). This approach has two steps:
Step 1: Identify 'pinch points' for your module/programme.
- Where do my students always have questions?
- Where do students struggle with assessments?
- Where do students need additional support for engaging with module content?
Step 2: Keeping in mind that UDL is all about offering choice for students, explore the UDL framework with a view to adding just one more choice for students to support their learning. For example, provide one more way that students can access materials. Provide a video resources in addition to text resources.
When exploring the framework, keep in mind that you may already be engaging with the UDL principles and guidelines. Use the framework to extend your engaging with the principles of UDL over time, to build on your inclusive teaching, learning and assessment practice.
CAST (2021) Universal Design for Learning Guidelines Retrieved from version 2.2. Retrieved from https://www.cast.org/impact/universal-design-for-learning-udl
Tobin, T.J., & Behling, K.T. (2018). Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education. Morgantown: West Virginia University Press.
The Google slides presentation below offers an overview of the UDL framework.