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Christine Thomas 12/10/2015 EDU315-602

The Universal Design for Learning

The why, what, and how of learning for students of all abilities and levels has been
enveloped into a strategy by educations leading experts, researchers, and thinkers. The Universal
Design for Learning (UDL) was developed CAST, a non-profit research and development
organization (www.cast.org/, 2015) in order to "draw attention to a need to recognize that all
students are different and therefore have different learning needs" (www.cast.org/, 2015).
Through inclusion and comprehensive, diversified instruction, all students can learn.
The UDL has been narrowed down to be explained in three primary principles; the first
being Multiple Means of Representation (Hall, 2012). This allows educators to utilize a variety
of methods of information delivery. Different learners learn in different ways and deserve to be
taught in a way that they can retain the information with as much ease as possible. The second
principal is Multiple Means of Action and Expression (Hall, 2012). This means that learners
should be allowed to demonstrate their knowledge and ability in various ways. Just as all
students learn differently, it certainly stands to reason that they will require different methods of
demonstrating that learned information after the fact. The third principal is Multiple Means of
Engagement (Hall, 2012). Providing learners with options, especially when tailored to their
personal interests will greatly increase the chances of quality learning. Adjusting the level of
difficulty as needed will help educators to ensure that lower level students are not struggling and
that higher level students are not missing out on valuable opportunities. UDL provides a
blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for
everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be
customized and adjusted for individual needs (UDL Center, 2014). This collection of guiding

Christine Thomas 12/10/2015 EDU315-602

principles aid educators in classroom management and the implementation of the Common Core
Standards.
Evidence based practice is a vital component of UDL. As a noun an evidence-based
practice is an intervention that is based in science. As a verb evidence-based practice is the
disposition of a practitioner to base the selection of their interventions in science (Council for
Exceptional Children, 2014). While developing lesson plans, educators must keep those students
in mind that have physical, cognitive, or even sensory disabilities. How can they accommodate
these needs? Classroom technology is a main component in education now. Teachers depend on
it as much as everyone else, if not more. Advances in technology now provide teachers with
assistive devices such as Talk-to-Text apps, iPads, print magnification on Smartboards, and AAC
devices for students who are hearing impaired, verbally impaired, and visually impaired, to name
a few. The Council for Exceptional Children explains that evidence based practices use research
to prove that student outcomes are improving through technology, differentiated instruction, and
lesson plan modifications.
Because of inclusion, able-learners are exposed to peers that require these aids and can
benefit by the exposure socially. Classroom inclusion does not only benefit learners with special
needs; inclusion benefits students labeled or considered to be average and above average learners
as well. The social skills that are developed through inclusion in the classroom are incomparable.
Classroom inclusion will greatly benefit each and every student who is exposed to the practice
regardless of their learning levels.
Because of the UDL, through evidence based practices, advances in technology, and
classroom inclusion, students with special needs can succeed in modern classrooms at a rate
similar to their able-ability peers. Educators can deliver instruction to all students that aligns with

Christine Thomas 12/10/2015 EDU315-602

the Common Core Standards with more confidence, using the guidelines and strategies provided
by the UDL.

Christine Thomas 12/10/2015 EDU315-602

References

Evidence Based Practice Resources. (2015). Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Retrieved
September 25, 2015, from https://www.cec.sped.org/Standards/Evidence-Based-PracticeResources-Original
Hall, T. (Ed.). (2012, February 1). About UDL. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from
https://teal.ed.gov/tealGuide/udl
What is UDL? (2014, July 7). Retrieved September 24, 2015, from
http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl