Universal Design for Learning
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Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments that can accommodate individual learning differences. Recognizing that the way individuals learn can be unique, the UDL framework, first defined by the Center for Applied Special Technology(CAST) in the 1990s, calls for creating curriculum from the outset that provides: * Multiple means of representation to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge, * Multiple means of expression to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know, and * Multiple means of engagement to tap into learners' interests, challenge them appropriately, and motivate them to learn. Curriculum, as defined in the UDL literature, has four parts: instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments. UDL is intended to increase access to learning by reducing physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers to learning, as well as other obstacles. UDL principles also lend themselves to implementing inclusionary practices in the classroom. Universal Design for Learning is referred to by name in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 (Public Law 110-315). It is also mentioned in the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which in turn refers to a legal definition of the term in the Assistive Technology Act of 1998. The emphasis being placed on equal access to curriculum by all students and the accountability required by IDEA 2004 and No Child Left Behind legislation has presented a need for a practice that will accommodate all learners.
Origins of UDL
The concept and language of Universal Design for Learning was inspired by the universal...