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UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0: Research Evidence

Checkpoint 3.3: Guide information processing, visualization, and manipulation

I. Provide Multiple Means of Representation



Learning can be cognitively inaccessible when successful learning requires specific information processing strategies, and when there are no options for individuals who lack such strategies.  When presented with new concepts, experienced learners use prior knowledge and experience to facilitate their information processing. However, many students lack the experience and the skills that guide them in their learning. These students benefit from explicit instruction and practice on the strategies involved in the selection and manipulation of information so that it can be better summarized, categorized, prioritized, contextualized and remembered. The experimental and quantitative research listed here suggests that strategies such as explicit prompts, graphic organizers, concept maps, strategy instruction, and chunking information into smaller elements all serve to increase student achievement. The scholarly reviews and expert opinions provide a more classroom based perspective on effectively guiding students’ information processing.

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Experimental and Quantitative Evidence:

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

Blankenship, T. L., Ayres, K. M., & Langone, J. (2005). Effects of computer-based cognitive mapping on reading comprehension for students with emotional behavior disorders. Journal of Special Education Technology, 20(2), 15-23.

Block, C. C. (1993). Strategy instruction in a literature-based reading program. The Elementary School Journal, 94(2), 139-151.

Boon, R. T., Burke, M. D., Fore III, C., & Spencer, V. G. (2006). The impact of cognitive organizers and technology-based practices on student success in secondary social studies classrooms. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(1), 5-15.

Bulgren, J., Deshler, D. D., & Lenz, B. K. (2007). Engaging adolescents with LD in higher order thinking about history concepts using integrated content enhancement routines. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40(2), 121-133.

Bulgren, J. A., Schumaker, J. B., & Deshler, D. D. (1988). Effectiveness of a concept teaching routine in enhancing the performance of LD students in secondary-level mainstream classes. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 11(1), 3-17.

Carlson, R., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). Learning and understanding science instructional material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(3), 629-640.

Casteel, C. A. (1990). Effects of chunked text material on reading comprehension of high and low ability readers. Reading Improvement, 27(4), 269-275.

Dalton, B., Morocco, C. C., Tivnan, T., & Rawson Mead, P. L. (1997). Supported-inquiry science: Teaching for conceptual change in the urban classroom. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30(6), 670-684.

Dalton, B., Pisha, B., Eagleton, M., Coyne, P., & Deysher, S. (2002). Engaging the text: Final report to the U.S. department of education. Peabody: CAST.

Dole, J. A., Brown, K. J., & Trathen, W. (1996). The effects of strategy instruction on the comprehension performance of at-risk students. Reading Research Quarterly, 31(1), 62-77.

Englert, C., Raphael, L., Anderson, H., & Stevens, D. (1991). Making strategies and self talk visible: Writing instruction in regular and special education classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 28(2), 337-372.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Finelli, R., Courey, S. J., Hamlett, C. L., Sones, E. M., et al. (2006). Teaching third graders about real-life mathematical problem solving: A randomized controlled study. The Elementary School Journal, 106(4), 293-311.

Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Prentice, K., Hamlett, C. L., Finelli, R., & Courey, S. J. (2004). Enhancing mathematical problem solving among third-grade students with schema-based instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(4), 635-647.

Gajria, M., & Salvia, J. (1992). The effects of summarization instruction on text comprehension of students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 58(6), 508-516.

Gardill, M. C., & Jitendra, A. K. (1999). Advanced story map instruction: Effects on the reading comprehension of students with learning disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 33(1), 2-17.

Hamilton, S. L., Seibert, M. A., Gardner III, R., & Talbert-Johnson, C. (2000). Using guided notes to improve the academic achievement of incarcerated adolescents with learning and behavior problems. Remedial and Special Education, 21(3), 133-140.

Hannafin, R. D. (2004). Achievement differences in structured versus unstructured instructional geometry programs. Educational Technology Research and Development, 52(1), 19-32.

Herl, H. E., O'Neil, H. F. J., Chung, G. K. W. K., & Schacter, J. (1999). Reliability and validity of a computer-based knowledge mapping system to measure content understanding. Computers in Human Behavior, 15(3-4), 315-333.

Higgins, K., Boone, R., & Lovitt, T. (1996). Hypertext support for remedial students and students with disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(4), 402-412.

Hofman, R., & van Oostendorp, H. (1999). Cognitive effects of a structural overview in a hypertext. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30(2), 129-140.

Horton, S. V., Lovitt, T. C., Givens, A., & Nelson, R. (1989). Teaching social studies to high school students with academic handicaps in a mainstreamed setting: Effects of a computerized study guide. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(2), 102-107.

Idol, L., & Croll, V. J. (1987). Story-mapping training as a means of improving reading comprehension. Learning Disabilities Quarterly, 10(3), 214-229.

Jacobson, M. J. (2008). A design framework for educational hypermedia systems: Theory, research, and learning emerging scientific perspectives. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(1), 5-28.

Lederer, J. M. (2000). Reciprocal teaching of social studies in inclusive elementary classrooms. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(1), 91-106.

Lenz, B. K., Ehren, B. J., & Deshler, D. D. (2005). The content literacy continuum: A school reform framework for improving adolescent literacy for all students. Teaching Exceptional Children, 37(6), 60-63.

Liu, M., & Bera, S. (2005). An analysis of cognitive tool use patterns in a hypermedia learning environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(1), 5-21.

Lodewyk, K. R., Winne, P. H., & Jamieson-Noel, D. L. (2009). Implications of task structure on self-regulated learning and achievement. Educational Psychology, 29(1), 1-25.

Malone, L. D., & Mastropieri, M. A. (1992). Reading comprehension instruction: Summarization and self-monitoring training for students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 58(3), 270-279.

Mason, L. H. (2004). Explicit self-regulated strategy development versus reciprocal questioning: Effects on expository reading comprehension among struggling readers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2), 283-296.

McCormick, S. (1989). Effects of previews on more skilled and less skilled readers' comprehension of expository text. Journal of Reading Behavior, 21(13), 219-234.

Moreno, R., Mayer, R. E., Spires, H. A., & Lester, J. C. (2001). The case for social agency in computer-based teaching: Do students learn more deeply when they interact with animated pedagogical agents?. Cognition and Instruction, 19(2), 177-213.

Owen, R. L., & Fuchs, L. S. (2002). Mathematical problem-solving strategy instruction for third-grade students with learning disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 23(5), 268-278.

Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition & Instruction, 1(1), 117-175.

Paris, S. G., Wasik, B. A., & Turner, J. C. (1999). The development of strategic readers. In R. Barr, M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal & P. D. Pearson (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 609-640). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Pollock, E., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2002). Assimilating complex information. Learning and Instruction, 12(1), 61-86.

Puntambekar, S., Stylianou, A., & Hubscher, R. (2003). Improving navigation and learning in hypertext environments with navigable concept maps. Human-Computer Interaction, 18(4), 395-428.

Reinking, D. (1988). Computer-mediated text and comprehension differences: The role of reading time, reader preference, and estimation of learning. Reading Research Quarterly, 23(4), 484-498.

Reinking, D., & Schreiner, R. (1985). The effects of computer mediated text on measures of reading comprehension and reading behavior. Reading Research Quarterly, 20(5), 536-552.

Robinson, D. H., Katayama, A. D., Beth, A., Odom, S., Hsieh, Y. P., & Vanderveen, A. (2006). Increasing text comprehension and graphic note taking using a partial graphic organizer. The Journal of Educational Research, 100(2), 103-111.

Robinson, D. H., Robinson, S. L., & Katayama, A. D. (1999). When words are represented in memory like pictures: Evidence for spatial encoding of study materials. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 24(1), 38-54.

Rosenshine, B. (1997). Advances in research on instruction. In J. W. Lloyd, E. J. Kameenui & D. Chard (Eds.), Issues in educating students with disabilities (pp. 197-221). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Rosenshine, B., & & Meister, C. (1994). Reciprocal teaching: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 64(4), 479-530.

Shin, E. C., Schallert, D. L., & Savenye, W. C. (1994). Effects of learner control, advisement, and prior knowledge on young students' learning in a hypertext environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(1), 33-46.

Smolkin, L. B., & Donovan, C. A. (2001). The contexts of comprehension: The information book read aloud, comprehension acquisition, and comprehension instruction in a first-grade classroom. The Elementary School Journal, 102(2), 97-122.

Swanson, H. L., & Deshler, D. (2003). Instructing adolescents with learning disabilities: Converting a meta-analysis to practice. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(2), 124-135.

Van Meter, P. (2001). Drawing construction as a strategy for learning from text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93(1), 129-140.

Vye, N. J. (1990). The effects of anchored instruction for teaching social studies: Enhancing comprehension of setting information. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA.

Zydney, J. M. (2008). Cognitive tools for scaffolding students defining an ill-structured problem. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 38(4), 353-385.

Scholarly reviews and expert opinions:

Baker, S., Gersten, R., & Scanlon, D. (2002). Procedural facilitators and cognitive strategies: Tools for unraveling the mysteries of comprehension and the writing process, and for providing meaningful access to the general curriculum. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 17(1), 65-77.

Bockholt, S. M., West, J. P., & Bollenbacher, W. E. (2003). Cancer cell biology: A student-centered instructional module exploring the use of multimedia to enrich interactive, constructivist learning of science. Cell Biology Education, 2(1), 35-50.

Cawley, J. F. (1994). Science for students with disabilities. Remedial and Special Education (RASE), 15(2), 67-71.

Clark, F. L., Deshler, D. D., Schumaker, J. B., Alley, G. R., & Warner, M. M. (1984). Visual imagery and self-questioning: Strategies to improve comprehension of written material. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 17(3), 145-149.

Dalton, B., & Proctor, C. P. (2007). Reading as thinking: Integrating strategy instruction in a universally designed digital literacy environment. In D. S. McNamara (Ed.), Reading comprehension strategies: Theories, interventions, and technologies (pp. 421-439). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc Inc.

Duffy, G. G. (2002). The case for direct explanation of strategies. In C. C. Block & M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension instruction (pp. 28-41). New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

Dye, G. A. (2000). Graphic organizers to the rescue! helping students link - and remember - information. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32(3), 72-76.

Gardner, H. (1991). The unschooled mind: How children think and how school should teach. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Goldman, S. R. (1997). Learning from text: Reflections on the past and suggestions for the future. Discourse Processes, 23, 357-398.

Hall, T. (2002). Explicit instruction. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. Retrieved on June 12, 2009, from

Ives, B., & Hoy, C. (2003). Graphic organizers applied to higher-level secondary mathematics. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 18(1), 36-51.

Jones, B. F. (1986). Quality and equality through cognitive instruction. Educational Leadership, 43(7), 4-11.

Madigan, Hall, & Glang. (1997). Effective assessment and instructional practices for students with ABI. In A. Glang, G. H. S. Singer & B. Todis (Eds.), Students with acquired brain injury: The school's response (pp. 123-184). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co.

Marzano, R. J. (2007). What will I do to help students effectively interact with new knowledge? Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Nolet, V., & McLaughlin, M. J. (2005). Accessing the general curriculum: Including students with disabilities in standards-based reform. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2006). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct them. Pensacola, FL: Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Retrieved July 20, 2009, from

Osborne, R., & Wittrock, M. (1985). The generative learning model and its implications for science education. Studies in Science Education, 12, 59-87.

Palincsar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1989). Classroom dialogues to promote self-regulated comprehension. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Teaching for meaningful understanding and self-regulated learning (pp. 35-71). Greenwich, CT: JAI.

Pressley, M. (1990). Cognitive strategy instruction that really improves children's academic performance. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Pressley, M., Yokoi, L., Rankin, J., Wharton-McDonald, R., & Mistretta, J. (1997). A survey of the instructional practices of grade 5 teachers nominated as effective in promoting literacy. Scientific Studies of Reading, 1(2), 145-160.

Ritchhart, R., & Perkins, D. N. (2005). Learning to think: The challenges of teaching thinking. In K. J. Holyoak & R. G. Morrison (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of thinking and reasoning (pp. 775-802). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Roehler, L. R., Duffy, G. G., & Meloth, M. S. (1984). What to be direct about in direct instruction in reading: Content-only versus process-into-content. In T. E. Raphael (Ed.), The contexts of school-based literacy (pp. 79-95). New York, NY: Random House.

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.

Rosenblatt, L. M. (1978). The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press.

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1991). Higher levels of agency for children in knowledge building: A challenge for the design of new knowledge media. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 1(1), 37-68.

Schumaker, J. B., Denton, P. H., & Deshler, D. D. (1984). The paraphrasing strategy. Lawrence, KS: The University of Kansas.

Schumaker, J. B., Deshler, D. D., Zemitzsch, A., & Warner, M. W. (1993). The visual imagery strategy. Lawrence, KS: The University of Kansas.

Seidel, R. J., Perencevich, K. C., & Kett, A. L. (2005). From principles of learning to strategies for instruction: Empirically based ingredients to guide instructional development. New York, NY: Springer.

Singer, H., & Donlan, D. (1982). Problem-solving schema with question generation for comprehension of complex short stories. Reading Research Quarterly, 17(2), 166-186.

Swanson, H. L. (2001). Searching for the best model for instructing students with learning disabilities. Focus on Exceptional Children, 34(2), 1-15.

Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Paas, F. G. W. C. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), 251-296.

Tarver, S. G. (1996). Direct instruction. In W. Stainback & S. Stainback (Eds.), Controversial issues confronting special education: Divergent perspectives (2nd ed., pp. 143-165). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Wiener, D. (2005). One state’s story: Access and alignment to the GRADE-LEVEL content for students with significant cognitive disabilities. (Synthesis Report No. 57). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Last Updated: 02/01/2011

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