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Universal Design for Learning

"Individuals bring a huge variety of skills, needs, and interests to learning. Neuroscience reveals that these differences are as varied and unique as our DNA or fingerprints." 1

Conceived in the field of architecture, Universal Design was originally applied to create environments that are accessible to all individuals. As a strategy applied to learning, Universal Design strives to meet each individual’s unique set of skills, needs, and interests through the creation of instructional methods, materials, and activities that don’t need to be adapted in order to accommodate all learners. In contrast to a one-size-fits all approach, Universal Design guides the development of flexible learning environments that:

Adapted from National Center on Universal Design for Learning. For a breakdown of these 3 principles and more detailed guidelines use the UDL Guidelines 2.0 - Educator Checklist  

Universal Design and Accessibility

Disability is one of many characteristics a learner may possess. Providing equal access to instructional materials is a component of Universal Design as well as a requirement for accessibility.

Key Principles of Universal Design include:

  • Equitable use
  • Flexibility in use
  • Simple and intuitive
  • Information is easily perceptible
  • Low physical effort required
 1   Center for Applied Special Technology,