Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was inspired by universal design in architecture, a movement to design structures with all potential users in mind and incorporate access features such as ramps and elevators before building (Connell et al., 1997). Beyond providing access for individuals with disabilities, these features had unexpected benefits for the general population, providing more widespread usability. UDL applies this same strategy to curricula, considering the needs of all students at the design stage and building in features that support equal access to learning and to information. Teachers charged with delivering instruction to a diverse group of learners representing a variety of cultures, languages, learning styles, abilities, and disabilities, can use UDL principles to provide full access to all students. Universal Design for Learning (UDL):
- provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and
- reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient. [HEOA, P.L. 110-315, §103(a)(24)].
The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (effective July 7, 2009) defines the terms as follows:
"Universal design" has the meaning given the term in 3 of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended. 29 USC § 3002. The term "universal design" means a concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest possible range of functional capabilities, which include products and services that are directly usable (without requiring assistive technologies) and products and services that are made usable with assistive technologies. (34 CFR 300.44 and 8VAC20-81-10)
- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Using ARRA Funds Provided By Part B of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act To Drive School Reform and Improvement (PDF)
- Accessible Instructional Materials Center of Virginia (AIM-VA) – accessible core instructional material.
- Moving toward solutions: Assistive and learning technology for all students – National Center on Technology Innovation. (2006)
- The IDEA Partnership Universal Design for Learning Dialogue Guides – The Dialogue Guide resources are designed to help facilitate discussion around the topic of UDL.
- National Universal Design for Learning Task Force – The task force consists of over 35 national associations and organizations committed to advancing the understanding and infusion of UDL into practice.
- Training and Technical Assistance Centers (T/TACs) – funded by VDOE to improve educational opportunities and contribute to the success of children and youth with disabilities (birth - 22 years).
- Enhanced Scope and Sequence Plus – lesson guides featuring model differentiated lessons for SOLs
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL): Making learning accessible and engaging for all students – National Education Association (2008); National Education Policy and Practice Department, National Education Association, 1-4.
- State and National Organizations and Resources
- The Access Center: Improving Outcomes For All Students K – 8
- Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) Center The CAST website offers information related to Universal Design for Learning, including publications, products, and professional development resources.
- Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITed) CITed was created to support state and local education agency leadership to enhance the use of technology to support students in achieving positive education outcomes.
- National Center on Universal Design for Learning
- National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)
- Toolkit on Universal Design for Learning (U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs)
- Universal Design for Learning: Policy Challenges and Recommendations (PDF) (2009) – prepared by Project Forum at National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)