Universal Design for Learning Information for Faculty

Universal design for learning is a curriculum design, development and delivery framework used to create accessible and inclusive learning environments. The three central principles of universal design for learning are:

  • Provide multiple means of representation – Provide content in multiple ways.
  • Provide multiple means of action and expression – Offer options that allow students to fully demonstrate knowledge.
  • Provide multiple means of engagement – Develop learning options to produce and sustain interest.

Research identifies universal design for learning as a “best practice” approach to curriculum design, development and delivery in all educational settings, including face-to-face, blended and online learning. You may have heard of alternate educational universal design frameworks, such as universal instructional design, universal design for instruction, as well as universal design for learning. These terms are often used interchangeably. While there are differences, all of these universal design frameworks focus on creating accessible learning environments.

UDL Standard

The UDL Standard for Mohawk College provides direction regarding UDL considerations for curriculum design, development, and delivery. You can access this Mohawk College’s UDL Standard using the links below:

Word iconAccess the UDL Standard as a Word document

PDF iconAccess the UDL Standard as a PDF document

Benefits of Universal Design for Learning

Universal design for learning has benefits for both learners and faculty. While the greatest benefits of universal design implementation are often felt by students with disabilities, there are numerous reasons to implement universal design for learning principles in a college environment.

Universal design can:

  • Limit, or proactively remove, learning barriers to improve learning for all students.
  • Reduce the need, and time required, to arrange individual accommodations.
  • Offer students an opportunity to more fully demonstrate their knowledge.
  • Help Mohawk College meet the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act legislative mandate.

Universal Design for Learning and You

Implementing universal design for learning can be quick and easy. Many faculty at Mohawk College have already added universal design elements to their courses. If you are not doing these already, consider the following:

  1. Provide multiple means of representation
    • Use a variety of media to deliver content.
    • Offer options to change how content is displayed.
    • Be explicit with instructions and offer clarification.
    • Provide context to support new concepts.
  2. Provide multiple means of action and expression
    • Employ multiple tools and media for communication.
    • Facilitate planning and goal setting for learning opportunities.
    • Organize course content and workload.
  3. Provide multiple means of engagement
    • Give choice and promote autonomy.
    • Ensure that learning is relevant and contextualized.
    • Support communication and collaboration.
    • Encourage self-reliance, reflection and personal assessment.

Take the UDL Course Assessment to determine the UDL elements currently in your course(s) and gain additional resources to support further UDL implementation.

 

Examples from Mohawk College Faculty

 

 

 

Universal Design for Learning and Us

In the future expect to see universal design for learning workshops, videos and implementation guides. Until then, check out these resources:

Contact Information

Darla Benton Kearney is a Universal Design for Learning Curriculum Consultant in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. While she will be in the college community supporting faculty to employ universal design for learning, you are also welcome to connect with her at ext. 3688 or darla.benton [at] mohawkcollege.ca

Word Document IconAccess UDL information for faculty as a Word document

PDF Document IconAccess UDL information for faculty as a PDF document