The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework values diversity through proactive design of an inclusive curriculum, thereby eliminating or reducing barriers to academic success. Initially proposed as a means for including students with disabilities in the general-education classroom, it is now better understood as a general-education initiative that improves outcomes for all learners.
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.
The four interrelated components of the UDL curriculum require further explanation.
- Goals are typically described as learning expectations. They represent the knowledge, concepts, and skills students need to master and are usually aligned to state standards. Recent national discussions have heightened the critical importance of linking goals in Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) with state standards and classroom expectations.
- Methods are generally defined as the instructional strategies used by educators to support student learning. Methods should be evidence-based and supported by an analysis of learner variability. UDL methods are flexible and adjusted through consistent monitoring of student progress.
- Materials are the media used to present content and demonstrate learning. UDL materials offer multiple media options and include embedded supports.
Assessment within the UDL framework refers to the process of gathering information about a learner’s progress using a variety of methods and materials. UDL assessments are particularly concerned with accurately measuring learner knowledge, skills, and engagement by maintaining construct relevance and reducing or eliminating irrelevant or distracting elements that interfere with the assessment’s validity.
The purpose of UDL curriculum implementation is to create expert learners — learners who can assess their own learning needs, monitor their own progress, and regulate and sustain their interest, effort, and persistence during a learning task. Many students learn within traditional classrooms with a traditional curriculum. However, most need support and/or scaffolds to become expert learners. TECHAiDE’s UDL solution is our Makerspace. To find out more check out, makerspace.techaide.global.
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