Integrating UDL into your classes works best when you design it in from the start. Building UDL into the design of your content, activity, or assessment, instead of trying to retrofit it after the fact, is the best way to take all learners’ needs and abilities into consideration.
UDL focuses on designing for everyone, instead of differentiation between those who need special support, and those who do not. There isn’t a single, step-by-step guide for implementing UDL practices in an individual piece of content, activity, or assessment. Instead, UDL is a framework for thinking about how to make your classes more accessible to everyone, whether they have learning or physical disabilities, or simply like to learn things visually.
UDL is guided by three basic principles:
The team at CAST (the Center for Applied Special Technology) provide an excellent, visual guide to these principles of UDL. This guide simply and visually breaks down each of these principles into simple, actionable, task-oriented guidelines. They even provide specific guidelines for applying UDL principles to creating assessments.
It’s important that you do not try to redesign your entire class at one time to apply the principles of UDL! Instead, start small. Pick one activity, assessment, or class session and put the principles to work. Learn what works for your students, and for you, and build UDL into more of your classes.
Fortunately for faculty at JHU, the University has built a UDL Ambassador program to assist you in the journey of making UDL a part of the daily practice of education. Learn more about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Ambassador Program at JHU.