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Universal Design for Learning

SERC's UDL Initiative

Universal Design for Learning

What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL): The term "universal design for learning" is a framework for guiding educational practice that a) 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 b) 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 (www.cast.org)

UDL as "a research-based set of principles that together form a practical framework for using technology to maximize learning opportunities for every student" (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Preface). When UDL is applied, curriculum designers create products to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities, learning styles, and preferences. The UDL curriculum "reflects an awareness of the unique nature of each learner and the need to address differences" (www.cast.org)

UDL at a glance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4
The myth of average: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4

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Multimedia Presentation

Powerful Instruction: Culturally Responsive, Universal Design for Learning & Differentiated Instruction

View this presentation to learn some background information on the concepts of Universal Design, Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Differentiated Instruction, and how they integrate into powerful, engaging instruction for a diverse range of learners.

Launch the Presentation (opens in a separate window)

Recent Trainings:

Common Core of Teaching: Understanding and Aligning UDL & Differentiated Instruction

This learning opportunity covers the components of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the planning and instructional approaches of Differentiated Instruction (DI), and how they both support elements in the Common Core of Teaching (CCT) and teacher evaluation.

UDL and DI are research-based principles that assist teachers in creating inclusive learning environments that provide access and reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities as well as students with learning differences. This session will help general and special educators determine how well they are currently incorporating the three guiding principles of UDL and the four elements of DI into their daily practice, and refine or develop lesson plans accordingly.

Participants will use UDL and DI to examine and address potential barriers in curriculum and instruction; make connections between UDL and DI and how both meet the requirements of CCT and teacher evaluation; learn how to use UDL and DI to design lessons that meet the needs of most learners from the outset; and explore UDL & DI resources.

As a result of their participation, educators will better understand how to develop a more inclusive learning environment for all students in the classroom.


UDL: Connecting The Dots

Do you have a child with difficulty engaging with learning the traditional way? A student who might work better with manipulatives than with words or numbers on paper? The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework supports all students in the same setting by ensuring access to a variety of tools for learning.

In this interactive forum, educators and families will build their understanding of how UDL connects to other initiatives to support their students’ success in the classroom. Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI), the CT Core Standards, new assessments, culturally relevant pedagogy -- UDL is woven through all of them in a system designed to serve students’ diverse needs.

This free event is an opportunity to explore the value of UDL through concurrent sessions facilitated by SERC consultants, vendor displays, a tour of resources at the SERC Library, and networking. Participants will leave with new tools to help ensure all their students, from struggling to high-performing, have access to a UDL framework that plays to their strengths and allows them to progress further within the general education curriculum.

Contact us today to learn about upcoming professional learning opportunities in the area of UDL!


  • Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) (www.cast.org) offers extensive UDL resources and strategies on its website.

  • Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) (http://www.washington.edu/doit) offers supports for incorporating UDL principles into the postsecondary setting and experiences of students with disabilities.

  • Teaching Every Student (http://www.cast.org/teaching every student) is a CAST website that includes a multimedia version of the book, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002). This website is designed for kindergarten through grade 12 teachers but can be informative for adult education teachers.

  • UDL Guidelines (http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines) from the National UDL Center provide a set of strategies for implementing UDL along with practical suggestions.

  • Universal Design for Learning Implementation and Research Network (UDL-IRN) (http://udl-irn.org/) supports the design of equitable, beneficial, and meaningful learning environments for all learners. The focus of our work is to support the purposeful integration of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and iterative design-based thinking to support the learner variability that exists in all learning environments.

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