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Introduction to Universal Design for Learning

What is UDL?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework that utilizes a set of principles to drive curriculum planning and optimize teaching and learning for all learners. According to CAST, “UDL aims to change the design of the environment rather than to change the learner. When environments are intentionally designed to reduce barriers, all learners can engage in rigorous, meaningful learning." 

The UDL framework is grounded in three principles:

CAST principles of UDL with graphics: Provide multiple means of engagement (the why of learning), representation (the what), action and expression (the how)

Why Use UDL?

Every learner is different. UDL helps educators move away from the one-size-fits-all approach and offers a flexible pedagogical framework that provides learning experiences that will be accessible to all. It can improve how students interact, how information is presented, and how knowledge is demonstrated. It aims to allow every student to succeed without sacrificing rigor or academic excellence. Embracing UDL also improves student satisfaction, retention, and persistence.

Getting Started with UDL

Incorporating UDL into a course may seem daunting at first; however, there are many small steps you can take to make course design and materials more inclusive. Try incorporating UDL into one activity, assessment, or class session to start. Look to CAST’s UDL guidelines for suggestions that will help you reach and support more learners in more ways, so that your students can be purposeful, motivated, resourceful, knowledgeable, strategic, and goal-directed.

Key Resource

Getting Help with UDL

Learn about the Hopkins Universal Design for Learning (HUDL) Initiative and its Ambassador program. Please contact the Bloomberg School's ambassador, Celine Greene.

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