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Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Universal design for learning (UDL) is an innovative approach to teaching and learning that “designs to the edges.” No longer the average, but a tapestry woven into the uniqueness of the individual. Breaking free from the “myth of average,” standardized c

Universal Design for Learning

This guide is designed for those who would like to create a course based on the Universal Design for Learning framework.

Universal design for learning (UDL) is an innovative approach to teaching and learning that “designs to the edges.” No longer the average, but a tapestry woven into the uniqueness of the individual. Breaking free from the “myth of average,” standardized courses become personalized learning objects for student success. (Rose, 2018).  Essentially; for Rose (2016), “context” trumps “traits.” (p. 105)   Universal design for learning eliminates one-dimensional thinking to embrace diversity and the uniqueness each individual. Think scaffolding, to leverage talent, intelligence, character, and creativity.  Thus, when given options to express what they know, the students’ choices fuel their interest and autonomy.  This is where universal design for learning becomes a cross-dimensional, user-focused, structured, flexible, engaging, and authentic framework for social justice.

To illustrate, Gordon, Myer, and Rose (2014) considered a brain scan of an individual with autism. Using the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Intelligence measure, the brain of an individual with autism showed an area of the brain that was highly active and very different from a normal person.  Counter-intuitively, the tasks performed by the person with autism far exceeded the performance of the normal person. So, what one might consider to be a “Dis-ability” was actually a “Vari-ability.” (p. 50)

We have been taught to think everyone is the same, but according to Rose, “average destroys talent.”  (Rose, 2018)  We can address learner variability and flexibility with simple solutions: digital learning objects, language translation, support for reading and translation including digital learning objects that move the students’ self-regulated learning comprehension to a higher level.  Equally important, we can minimize barriers and maximize learning for all.  Offering pathways for the disenfranchised and the optimization of human potential, we as educators must develop learners who are “purposeful and motivated, resourceful and knowledgeable, and strategic and goal-directed.” (CAST, 2018)

 

References

CAST. (2018). Retrieved from Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2: http://udlguidelines.cast.org/

Gordon, D., Meyer, A., & Rose, D. (2014). Universal design for learning: theory and practice. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Rose, T. (2016). The End of Average: How we Succeed in a World that Values Sameness. New York: Harper Collins.

Rose, T. (2018). Deviant Thinking . Retrieved from Deviant Thinking: https://deviantthinking.com/todd-rose-the-myth-of-average/