Universal Design for Learning
Since the beginning of education, the classroom has been created based on ‘one size fits all’, we now know that this is not the case, but we keep on trying to fit our children into a one-size- fits-all classroom. The challenge of individual differences faces every teacher, principal, and curriculum researcher. To meet that challenge, teachers are typically equipped with media and materials that are ‘one size fits all’ and that have been designed primarily for a narrow and elusive group of ‘regular’ students, we now know that no one child learns in the same way. Rather than seeing the problem within the student, we need to change how we deliver the curriculum to suit how students learn. In other words, rather than ‘fixing’ the pupil’, we should instead fix the curriculum and its delivery, to take account of learner differences in our classes. Universal Design for Learning creates curricula and learning environments that are designed to achieve success for a much wider range of student abilities and disabilities, by choosing effective methods and materials and by selecting the best way to assess their students’ progress.
Through innovative uses of modern multimedia technology and contemporary research in the cognitive neurosciences, Universal Design for learning has developed a new field of teaching methods. In this course we look at the resources and adaptations that can be made for a diverse student group and how they can be designed into the classroom and the curriculum which not only benefits children with special needs but all students. When a teacher understands their students through the UDL lens, they create a flexible learning environment and provide opportunities for learner voice and choice. When lessons are designed using the UDL model, the lesson includes goals, methods, materials, tools, and assessments to reach and support the maximum amount of learners in the classroom.