The modern classroom is an incredibly diverse and dynamic place. Traditional lesson design focuses on creating instructional presentations to a group of students, in one static way for everyone involved in the lesson. The students have to shift and adjust to fit into the expectations of the presented lessons. Asking the students to adjust their learning to fit the lesson is counterintuitive to the learning process. Effective teachers put the students’ needs first and design their lessons to meet those needs. This is the theory behind Universal Design for Learning or UDL. In a field of acronyms, UDL is an opportunity for ALL student needs to be addressed.
UDL uses a flexible, step-by-step process, with defined learning objectives, that consider learner variability and is designed to address it within the context of classroom instruction. Universal Design for Learning can be applied from kindergarten through twelfth grade without compromising the curricular objectives of the subject matter.
The UDL framework accommodates for ALL learners in three key ways:
Engagement: The “why” of learning
Representation: The “what” of learning
Action and Expression: The “how” of learning
By creating lessons that are designed for all learners, the teacher has opened the door for everyone to benefit from the instruction presented in that classroom.