Universal Design for Learning word cloud
Introduction to Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning Introduction

Universal Design for Learning is a framework designed to improve and optimise teaching and learning by removing barriers in the environment

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a widely used framework to improve and optimise teaching and learning by removing barriers in the environment (Cast Symposium: UDL for Social Justice 2017). 

In a word, UDL is all about offering choice to students;

  • choice in why to learn and engage with learning
  • choice in what to learn
  • choice in how to learn and express learning

Drawing on research in the fields of education, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, the UDL framework is a useful structure for those in teaching roles to ensure inclusive education when designing teaching, learning and assessment. The framework consists of three core principles which connect to offering choice for students:

  • Multiple means of engagement 
  • Multiple means of representation
  • Multiple means of action and expression 

The work of the Teaching Enhancement Unit (TEU) is underpinned by the principles of Universal Design for Learning, reflecting the commitment by DCU to using the framework to support an inclusive educational experience as outlined in the University's Strategic Plan 2017-2022:

"To enhance the inclusivity of the learning experience, we will promote the principles of UDL in the design and delivery of all our programmes."

Dublin City University’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022, strategic goal 1.1: Curriculum Reform. Teaching and Learning Constituent Strategy, p.4

The animated video from AHEAD below, offers a short introduction to UDL. AHEAD is an independent non-profit organisation working to create inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities.