In today's classrooms, students enter with varying levels of background knowledge, interests, strengths, skills, and needs. Despite all of this, they have been traditionally expected to acquire and master materials in a "one size fits all" way of learning. Universal Designs for Learning look at the make up of a student as well as the necessary curriculum and designs an educational program geared to maximize strengths and overcome needs so that all students learn. It often involves presenting curriculum information in a variety of ways; offering various modes for students to express what they have learned; and providing different modes of engagement to tap into the different interests of the students and challenge all of them. Multimedia use often assists with this type of instruction.

Instruction for students should be adapted to the needs and abilitites of each student. Thus constant assessment of skills (formal and informal) must occur. Four areas that can be adapted/differntiated include:
1. Content - the curriculum that must be taught. The degree of complexity of the material and concepts can be adjusted to accomodate the differnt needs of your students. Ideas for adaptation or differentiations.
2. Process - how students gain the content information. This can include various activities which are designed to ensure that students use key skills to acquire and make sense of content information. Ideas for adaptations/differentiations.
3. Product- how students demonstrate their comprehension of the content material.
4. Learning Environment -


Learn about UDL on CAST Lesson Builder
This link has several parts. There are video clips explaining how students have different learning styles and needs. It overviews Universal Designs for Learning (UDL). There is a narrative section with FAQs about UDL. There is also a really fun and informative link which takes you through several tasks to see what type of learner you are. It is quite enlightening. As you continue on, or redo tasks, you become more aware of different ways to look at information. Finally, there are sample lesson plans to help adapt your lessons for the various types of learners. You can also develop your own plans.

www.cast.org

All children have a right to an education regardless of race, socioeconomic status, academic need, or disability. The Universal Design for Learning principle considers the vast diversity of our students and constructs the classroom to support every one of them.
The UDL provides students access to multiple ways of learning with a variety of educational tools to accommodate the many different learning styles. One example of these tools are technical devices like the computers with a CD Rom, speech output devices, touchscreens, alternative keyboards and different types of switches. Another example is providing students with an array of written expression in order for them to find a genre to connect to and on many different levels. It is extremely important for an educator to ensure all students are supplied with the tools they need for success in their academic career.

Nine Principles of the Universal Designs of Learning
Principle 1: Equitable Use: Instruction is designed to be useful to and accessible by people with diverse abilities
la.Provide the same means of use for all students: identical whenever possible, equivalent when not
• Plan and deliver instruction and assess learning in ways that
anticipate diversity in learners in the classroom as opposed to
reliance on retrofitted accommodations
• Maintain the same standards and high expectations for all
students
1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any students
1c. Make provision for confidentiality and safety available for all
students
1d. Make the instructional process beneficial to and productive for
all students
Principle 2: Flexibility in Use: Instruction is designed to accommodate a wide range of individual abilities
2a. Provide choice in methods of use
• Plan instruction to proactively take into account a wide range
of individual preferences and abilities for acquiring and
expressing knowledge
2b. Provide for multiple means of engaging in learning tasks
2c. Facilitate the user's accuracy and precision
• Design instruction with flexibility in methods of evaluating
learning outcomes
• Provide clear and on-going feedback about performance and
progress
2d. Provide adaptability to the student's pace.
• Includes delivery of instruction, self-paced components, and
assessment



Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive: Instruction is designed in a straightforward and predictable manner, regardless of the student's experience, knowledge, language, skills, or current concentration level
3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity
• Plan instruction with clear expectations regarding learning
objectives, learning outcomes, student responsibilities, methods
of evaluation, and specific time lines for completing course
requirements. This allows the student to clearly understand the
learning process, but does not compromise course objectives
or course outcomes
3b. Be consistent with user expectations and intuition

• Deliver instruction using clear and straightforward methods that
relate to learning outcomes
• Provide conspicuous strategies for approaching learning
3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills that
are not essential to course requirements
3d. Arrange information consistent with its importance
• Emphasize important information, skills, or competencies
3e. Provide effective prompting during instruction and deliver feedback immediately
after task completion
Principle 4: Perceptible Information: Instruction is designed so that necessary information is communicated effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities
4a. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for multiple presentation of essential information
• Use multi-sensory methods of instruction
• Use active learning techniques in class or outside class
4b. Make instructional tools available to all students in alternate formats
4c. Deliver instruction in ways that eliminate ambiguity for learners, emphasizing the essential elements of the course and content



4d. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations, allowing for the use of assistive technology (AT) in and out of the classroom


Principle 5: Tolerance for Error: Instruction anticipates variation in individual student learning pace and prerequisite skills
5a. Plan instruction to account for diversity in students' rate of learning and levels of prerequisite skills or background knowledge while maintaining academic standards
5b. Include opportunities for practice and feedback based upon a mastery model of learning
5c. Apply scaffolding methods of instruction
5d. Incorporate opportunities for review of material, including structured opportunities to recall or apply previously taught information
Principle 6: Low Physical Effort: Instruction is designed to minimize nonessential physical effort in order to allow maximum attention to learning.
NOTE: This principle does not apply when physical effort is integral to essential requirements of a course
6a. Provide a classroom environment that is comfortable to allow the student to focus on cognitive tasks
6b. Use reasonable operating forces
• Provide or allow supports in and outside of class to minimize
physical demands of learning that can, for some students,
consume concentration and distract from the cognitive task
6c. Minimize repetitive actions
• Allow use of technology to minimize physical task demands
6d. Minimize sustained physical effort that is not essential to the class

Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use: Instruction is designed with consideration for appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulations, and use regardless of a student's body size, posture, mobility, and communication needs
7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any
seated or standing user 7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or
standing student
7c. Accommodate variation in hand and grip size 7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices, accommodations, or personal assistance


Principle 8: A Community of Learners: The instructional environment promotes interaction and communication between students and faculty
8a. Provide time and opportunity for frequent student-faculty contact
8b. Consider the importance of making a personal connection with students and incorporating student motivation strategies
8c. Develop collaboration, cooperation, and respect among students in class as well as outside of class
Principle 9: Instructional Climate: Instruction is designed to be welcoming and inclusive. High expectations are espoused for all students
9a. Communicate high expectations for achievement for all students
9b. Promote integration of learning or meta-cognitive strategies to enhance higher level cognition
9c. Establish a climate of comfort with diversity and a respect for diverse talents