Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

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Background

What is Universal Design for Learning?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the brain-based brainchild of Harvard educators David Rose and Anne Meyer.  A UDL curriculum builds in supports for diverse student needs as part of the original design, rather than adding these supports in afterwards.  UDL uses multiple means of representation in teaching to support the brain’s recognition networks.  Students in a UDL classroom use multiple means of expression in demonstrating their learning, which supports the brain’s strategic networks.  UDL classrooms also stress the importance of multiple means of engagement, which support the brain’s affective networks.  Digital materials, which are highly flexible, current, and engaging, are used extensively in UDL classrooms.  For further information, visit the CAST website at http://www.cast.org/.

How did the BC Universal Design for Learning Project originate ?

With the emergence of UDL as a promising theory in education, SET-BC initiated a UDL meeting in March 2006 to survey and discuss current UDL practices in BC school districts.  An outcome of the meeting was the development of a proposal to the Ministry of Education for an initiative to advance UDL-based practice in BC.  The project has been funded for two years.

What are the goals of the BC UDL Project?

The goals of the BC UDL project are:

  • To assist pilot school districts in developing  UDL infrastructure, training teachers, and  implementing principles of UDL in classrooms
  • To develop UDL lessons and resources to be shared provincially
  • To increase awareness of UDL in the pilot schools, districts and in the province
  • To evaluate effectiveness of UDL principles in education