Universal Design for Learning takes the ideas behind Universal Design and applies them to the learning environment. The goal of UDL is to design curriculum that can be used and understood by everyone and to eliminate barriers in the learning environment to create learning experiences that are accessible to all people regardless of their differences.
The UDL approach is different than providing accommodations for individual students because the UDL approach is proactive. Using the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines, we design learning experiences that are accessible to ALL learners right from the start, so in many cases, it's not necessary to make accommodations for individual students. Strengths, weaknesses, and disabilities are dependent on the environment. When we change the environment, we change what learners can do.
Universal Design for Learning is based on scientific research about how the brain works.
The guidelines for Universal Design for Learning include three networks:
For an overview of UDL, please view the video, "Universal Design for Learning" (4:35).
If you're interested in learning more about UDL, the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) is a valuable resource. CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning.
The UDL on Campus website is geared towards higher education and offers information on course design, media & materials, accessibility and policy.
You can review a graphical representation of the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (Links to an external site.) on this CAST webpage.