FIU Online Insider is excited to announce the upcoming development of an in-depth series dedicated to all things UDL in Online Education, but first, this article will introduce the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.
What is the Universal Design for Learning?
The Universal Design for Learning framework was developed in 1984. The founders, Dr. David Rose and Dr. Ann Meyer, from the Harvard School of Graduation Education, worked on developing a framework that would support the needs of all learners.
From the UDL Framework, the UDL Guidelines were created in order to assist faculty in developing equitable courses. The Universal Design for Learning Guidelines are organized in three overarching networks within the brain: affective, recognition, and strategic network. These guidelines offer suggestions to create multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression:
Engagement: The Why of Learning
The area of student engagement and motivation allows faculty to recognize different approaches for improving student interest. It demonstrates different strategies that can improve student self-regulation and persistence.
Representation: The What of Learning
The representation of content within the course is crucial in student learning. UDL recognizes the need to have content that is not dependent on a single sense. It also recognizes the need for clear communication, and the generation of flexible content for all students.
Action and Expression: The How of Learning
The area of action and expression focuses on the opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding and mastery of objectives. Having multiple means of action in which students can demonstrate content comprehension gives students an opportunity to express themselves without obstacles.
Why is Universal Design for Learning so important?
Learners have different preferences, needs, and abilities. Naturally, this affects the student’s academic performance and overall learning experience. The UDL Framework is a powerful approach that provides support in building courses that are equitable to all learners. It allows instructors to remove barriers and provide flexibility for learning. Online courses can be challenging to develop, but the UDL framework allows professors to create an immersive and supportive environment for students to thrive.
The mini-series will go into more depth with instructional strategies, resources, and concrete suggestions that will assist you in developing an inclusive online course with a UDL framework in mind.
FIU instructors may request more information by opening case ticket through FIU Canvas Help.