Universal Design for Learning

No matter what class you teach, you can improve outcomes for students with LDs by applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), throughout the learning and assessment processes. Secondary classrooms typically include learners with diverse abilities and backgrounds, including students with physical, sensory, communication and learning disabilities, differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds, varied learning styles, and so on. UDL can be integrated into regular instructional planning as a means to make diversity the norm. UDL provides learning activities that expand students’ opportunities for acquiring information and demonstrating learning; additionally, UDL provides enhanced opportunities for social participation and inclusion.

Students and Speech Bubbles and School Icons Representing Learning Styles and Education Needs and PreferencesAt its core, UDL supports teachers’ efforts to meet the challenge of diversity by providing flexible instructional materials, techniques, and strategies that help teachers differentiate instruction to meet these varied needs. It does this by providing options for:

  • Presenting information and content in different ways (the "what" of learning)
  • Differentiating the ways that students can express what they know (the "how" of learning)
  • Stimulating interest and motivation for learning (the "why" of learning) 

(CAST, 2018)


Click here to watch a brief video on how teachers can use UDL in the classroom: UDL at a Glance.

UDL supports the acquisition and demonstration of knowledge by emphasizing (Province of British Columbia, 2011):

  • Multiple means of presentation to provide various ways of acquiring information and knowledge, e.g. buddy activities, use of concrete manipulatives, video, computer technology, audio texts
  • Multiple means of expression to provide students with alternatives for representing learning beyond written work, e.g. video, teaching a peer, information booth, presentation drawing, sculpture and drama
  • Multiple means of engagement to tap students’ learning styles and personal attributes while still focusing on the required learning outcomes

Click here to view the UDL Guideline, on the CAST website.