According to researchers at the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, Universal design is defined as, “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for special accommodations.”
Universal Design for Learning or UDL can ensure equal access to the educational environment for all learners. It celebrates human differences and promotes an inclusion based approach to our culture; research shows that this approach helps increase GPA and retention for all students. UDL minimizes the differences in the student community.
UDL key elements include: Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Environment.
“UDL is important because of the variability that we have across learners. We often think about individuals with disabilities as individuals at the margins and then if we can develop or create learning environments for those individuals at either end of the bell curve we go a long way towards addressing the needs of everyone else in between.”
- Skip Stahl, Senior Policy Analyst, CAST
“When we have a classroom that’s built around one specific way of teaching, we’re leaving people out.”
- Jennifer Pusateri, Universal Design Consultant at University of Kentucky