The Office of Faculty Development

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework, grounded in neuroscience, that embraces learner variability and optimizes teaching. The framework is organized into a series of principles for lesson planning and implementation that when applied, removes barriers and provides access to learning for all. The UDL principles encourage educators to; 

  • Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
  • Provide Multiple Means of Representation
  • Provide Multiple Means of Action & Expression

Each principle includes guidelines and checkpoints that educators can apply to their planning and implementation to maximize access. The UDL framework is not prescriptive, rather the principles, guidelines, and checkpoints are designed to be customized to meet individual needs and can be adjusted as learning and teaching evolve.

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    Examine selected research on UDL in higher education:

    Roberts, K. D., Park, H. J., Brown, S., & Cook, B. (2011). Universal Design for Instruction in Postsecondary Education: A Systematic Review of Empirically Based Articles. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 24(1), 5–.

    Schelly, C. L., Davies, P. L., & Spooner, C. L. (2011). Student Perceptions of Faculty Implementation of Universal Design for Learning. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability24(1), 17–.

    Black, R. D., Weinberg, L. A., & Brodwin, M. G. (2015). Universal design for learning and instruction: Perspectives of students with disabilities in higher education.  Exceptionality Education International25(2). in new window)

    Rao, K., & Tanners, A. (2011). Curb Cuts in Cyberspace: Universal Instructional Design for Online Courses.  Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability24(3), 211–.


    Ready to apply UDL to your teaching? Here are some ideas and strategies to get you started:

    1. Set learning goals at the start of every lecture and conclude by reviewing the learning goal with your students.
    2. Offer learning materials in multiple formats (e.g., auditory, visual, text, or digital formats)- embed charts, pictures, movies, and audio clips.
    3. Provide checklists, graphic organizers, or templates to assist students with comprehension. 
    4. Provide students options to demonstrate knowledge and promote the use technology, resources, and tools to support assessment. 
    5. Provide meaningful feedback and encourage students to reflect on their learning.






Explore  CAST’s UDL Guidelines(opens in new window) webpage!

Explore CAST’S UDL in Higher Education (opens in new window)webpage!

Interested in joining the UDL movement in Higher Education? Visit the UDLHE Network(opens in new window) webpage.

Explore and get involved with UDL research! Visit the  UDL-IRN(opens in new window) to learn more.

Explore the UDL slides (Google Slide)

Have 15 minutes? Get tips on teaching all learners by listening to UDL in 15 Minutes(opens in new window) by Louie Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

Stay up to date with research on UDL by listening to the UDL Research in 15 Minutes(opens in new window) podcast by Louie Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D.

Learn more about UDL in Higher Education by listening to the  Think UDL(opens in new window) podcast.

Watch UDL video overview(opens in new window)

Watch The Myth of Average(opens in new window)

Watch How to Read the UDL Guidelines(opens in new window)

Learn more about the foundations and application of UDL with these quick reads: