Advanced Strategies

Promote Accessible Learning Spaces

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a teaching approach intended to make learning environments more accessible for all students, who have a wide range of physical, cognitive, emotional, and psychological abilities. UDL encourages educators to create a learning environment where information is presented in a variety of ways. This encourages students to remain engaged and gives them multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

The three principles of UDL suggest that educators:

  • Provide different means of representation. Based on the premise that learners access information differently, this principle encourages multiple, flexible ways to present information. For example, sometimes students cannot process information without a visual element. Using slides to supplement your lecture provides an alternate means of representing course content.
  • Provide options for student expression. Learners demonstrate their understanding in different ways. Consider providing different ways to allow students to express their knowledge or demonstrate their skills. For example, give students choices for responding to specific assessment prompts, or give them opportunities to either write an essay or prepare a project. You may also incorporate flexible deadlines. Ask yourself: “What does this deadline mean for learning in this class?” Sometimes deadlines are firm for important reasons, but at other times they can be adjusted without harming the learning objectives. 
  • Vary student engagement. Students vary in the types of learning activities that keep them engaged. Consider ways to allow students to quietly connect with content and process problems, actively engage in group work, and silently listen and observe during class. Incorporating these different modalities can effectively address different student needs.