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UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 1.3: Offer alternatives for visual information

I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation



The experimental evidence supporting the provision of alternatives for visual information is the most extensive of all of the checkpoints under the guideline “Provide Options for Perception.” Evidence that illustrates the benefits of text-to-speech, audio-visual presentations, and Braille are listed below. The scholarly reviews and opinion pieces provide more classroom-based perspectives on the advantages of alternatives for visual information.

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Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

Aarnoutse, C. A. J., van den Bos, K.P., & Brand-Gruwel, S. (1998). Effects of listening comprehension training on listening and reading. Journal of Special Education, 32(2), 115-116.

Atkinson, R. K. (2002). Optimizing learning from examples using animated pedagogical agents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(2), 416-427.

Boyle, E. A., Rosenberg, M. S., Connelly, V. J., Washburn, S. G., Brinckerhoff, L. C., & Banerjee, M. (2003). Effects of audio texts on the acquisition of secondary-level content by students with mild disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 26(3), 203-215.

Brunken, R., Plass, J. L., & Leutner, D. (2004). Assessment of cognitive load in multimedia learning with dual-task methodology: Auditory load and modality effects. Instructional Science, 32(1), 115-132.

Carlisle, J. F., & Felbinger, L. (1991). Profiles of listening and reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Research, 84(6), 345-354.

D'Angiulli, A., D'Angiulli, A., Kennedy, J. M., Helle, M. A., & Heller, M. A. (1998). Blind children recognizing tactile pictures respond like sighted children given guidance in exploration. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 39(3), 187-190.

De Jong, M. T., & Bus, A. G. (2004). The efficacy of electronic books in fostering kindergarten children's emergent story understanding. Reading Research Quarterly, 39(4), 378-393.

Dolan, R. P., Hall, T. E., Banerjee, M., Chun, E., & Strangman, N. (2005). Applying principles of universal design to test delivery: The effect of computer-based read aloud on test performance of high school students with learning disabilities. The Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 3(7).

Ely, R., Emerson, R. W., Maggiore, T., Rothberg, M., O’Connell, T., & Hudson, L. (2006). Increased content knowledge of students with visual impairments as a result of extended descriptions. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(3), 31-43.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Eaton, S. B., Hamlett, C., Binkley, E., & Crouch, R. (2000). Using objective data sources to enhance teacher judgments about test accommodations. Exceptional Children, 67(1), 67-81.

Furnham, A., De Siena, S., & Gunter, B. (2002). Children's and adults' recall of children's news stories in both print and audio-visual presentation modalities. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16(2), 191-210.

Gerlic, I., & Jausovec, N. (1999). Multimedia: Differences in cognitive processes observed with EEG. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(3), 5-14.

John, D., & Boucouvalas, A. (2002). User performance with audio: The effect of subjects' cognitive styles. Educational Psychology, 22(2), 133-147.

Kalyuga, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2000). Incorporating learner experience into the design of multimedia instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), 126-136.

Koroghlanian, C., & Klein, J. D. (2004). The effect of audio and animation in multimedia instruction. Journal of Educational Multimedia & Hypermedia, 13(1), 23-46.

Leahy, W., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). When auditory presentations should and should not be a component of multimedia instruction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(4), 401-418.

MacArthur, C. A., Ferretti, R. P., Okolo, C. M., & Cavalier, A. R. (2001). Technology applications for students with literacy problems: A critical review. The Elementary School Journal, 101(3), 273.

MacArthur, C. A., & Haynes, J. B. (1995). Student assistant for learning from text(SALT): A hypermedia reading aid. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28(3), 150-159.

Matthew, K. (1997). A comparison of the influence of interactive CD-ROM storybooks and traditional print storybooks on reading comprehension. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 29(3), 263-275.

Mayer, R. E. (2003). The promise of multimedia learning: Using the same instructional design methods across different media. Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 125-139.

Montali, J., & Lewandowski, L. (1996). Bimodal reading: Benefits of a talking computer for average and less skilled readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(3), 271-279.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (1999). Cognitive principles of multimedia learning: The role of modality and contiguity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(22), 358.

Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2002). Learning science in virtual reality multimedia environments: Role of methods and media. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 598.

Mousavi, S. L. Y., Low, R., & Sweller, J. (1995). Reducing cognitive load by mixing auditory and visual presentation modes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87(2), 319-334.

Nugent, G. C. (1982). Pictures, audio, and print: Symbolic representation and effect on learning. Educational Communication and Technology: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Development, 30(3), 163-174.

Oakley, G. (2003). Improving oral reading fluency (and comprehension) through the creation of talking books. Reading Online, 6(7), 1-26.

Olson, R. K., & Wise, B. W. (1992). Reading on the computer with orthographic and speech feedback. Reading and Writing, 4(2), 107-144.

Pezdek, K., & Hartman, E. F. (1983). Children's television viewing: Attention and comprehension of auditory versus visual information. Child Development, 54(4), 1015-1023.

Piety, P. J. (2004). The language system of audio description: An investigation as a discursive process. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 98(8), 453-469.

Reitsma, P. (1988). Reading practice for beginners: Effects of guided reading, reading-while-listening, and independent reading with computer-based speech feedback. Reading Research Quarterly, 23(2), 219-235.

Sinatra, G. (1990). Convergence of listening and reading processing. Reading Research Quarterly, 25(2), 115-130.

Tabbers, H. K., Martens, R. L., & van Merriënboer, J. J. G. (2004). Multimedia instructions and cognitive load theory: Effects of modality and cueing. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(1), 71-81.

Tindall-Ford, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1997). When two sensory modes are better than one. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 3(4), 257-287.

Tinti, C., & Galanti, D. (1999). Interactive auditory and visual images in persons who are totally blind. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 93(9), 579-583.

Torgesen, J. K. (1987). Using verbatim text recordings to enhance reading comprehension in learning disabled adolescents. Learning Disabilities Focus, 3(1), 30-38.

Trushell, J., Maitland, A., & Burrell, C. (2003). Pupils' recall of an interactive storybook on CD-ROM: Inconsiderate interactive features and forgetting. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19(1), 80-89.

Wetzel, R., & Knowlton, M. (2000). A comparison of print and braille reading rates on three reading tasks. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 94(3), 146-154.

Xiaowen, F., Shuang, X., Brzezinski, J., & Chan, S. S. (2006). A study of the feasibility and effectiveness of dual-modal information presentations. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 20(1), 3-17.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Aarnoutse, C., & Brand-Gruwel, S. (1997). Improving reading comprehension strategies through listening. Educational Studies, 23(2), 209-227.

Balajthy, E. (2005). Text-to-speech software for helping struggling readers. Reading Online, 8(4), 1-9.

Banks, R., & Coombs, N. (2005). Accessible information technology and persons with visual impairments. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), Handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 379-391). Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin: Knowledge by Design, Inc.

Brinck, T. (2005). Return on goodwill: Return on investment for accessibility. In R. G. Bias, & D. J. Mayhew (Eds.), Cost-justifying usability (2nd ed., pp. 385-414). Boston, MA: Elsevier.

Brothers, R. J. (1971). Learning through listening: A review of the relevant factors. New Outlook for the Blind, 65(7), 224-231.

Caldwell, B., Cooper, M., Guarino Reid, L. & Vanderheiden, G. Web accessibility guidelines 2.0; guideline 1.1 Text alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language. Retrieved January 19, 2009, from

Cook, A. M., & Polgar, J. M. (2008). Sensory aids for persons with visual impairments. In A. M. Cook, & J. M. Polgar (Eds.), Assistive technology principles and practices (3rd ed., pp. 274-309). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Goldman, S. R. (2003). Learning in complex domains: When and why do multiple representations help? Learning & Instruction, 13(2), 239-244.

Holzberg, C. S. (2004). Web site accessibility. Technology & Learning, 24(3), 48.

Horney, M., & Anderson-Inman, L. (1999). Supported text in electronic reading environments. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 15(2), 127-168.

Kurze, M. (1999). TGuide: A guidance system for tactile image exploration. Behaviour & Information Technology, 18(1), 11-17.

McCall, S., & McLinden, M. (2001). Literacy and children who are blind and who have additional disabilities—the challenges for teachers and researchers. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 48(4), 355-375.

McKenna, M. C. (1997). Electronic texts and the transformation of beginning reading. In D. Reinking, M. McKenna, L. Labbo & R. D. Kieffer (Eds.), Literacy for the 21st century: Technological transformations in a post-typographical world (pp. 45-59). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Mckenna, M. C., Reinking, D., Labbo, L. D., & Kieffer, R. D. (1999). The electronic transformation of literacy and its implications for the struggling reader. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 15(2), 111-126.

McNear, D. (2004). Aligning braille literacy and assistive technology skills with ISTE educational technology standards. Closing the Gap, 23(5), 1-9.

O'Connor, B. C., & O'Connor, M. K. (1999). Categories, photographs & predicaments: Exploratory research on representing pictures for access. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science & Technology, 25(6), 17.

Petty, L. (2005). Listening to the printed page: Features and options in optical character recognition and reading software. Closing the Gap, 24(1), 4-6.

Pisha, B., & Coyne, P. (2001). Jumping off the page: Content area curriculum for the internet age. Reading Online, 5(4).

Rose, D. H., & Dalton, B. (2002). Using technology to individualize reading instruction. In C. C. Block, L. B. Gambrell & M. Pressley (Eds.), Improving comprehension instruction: Rethinking research, theory, and classroom practice (pp. 257-274). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass Publishers.

Snyder, J. (2005). Audio description: The visual made verbal. International Congress Series, 1282, 935-939.

Stahl, S., & Aronica, M. (2002). Digital text in the classroom. Journal of Special Education Technology, 17(2), 57-59.

Strangman, N., & Dalton, B. (2005). Using technology to support struggling readers: A review of the research. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), The handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 545-569). Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design.

Strangman, N., & Hall, T. E. (2003). Text transformations. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum.

WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (2009). Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books. Retrieved February 16, 2009 from

Wittenstein, S.H, & Pardee, M.L. (1996). Teachers' voices: Comments on braille and literacy from the field. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 90(3), 201-209.

Last Updated: 03/10/2011

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