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Photo of the capitol building Policy Foundations of Universal Design for Learning

Increasingly Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has been included in federal policy, such as the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA). In this paper, Hehir discusses some of the historical policy foundations of UDL, tracking its development from the 1970’s to NCLB and IDEA. It also discusses some policy considerations and other policies that support UDL.

Articles from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning

Read an ArticleScaffolding English Language Learners and Struggling Readers in a Universal Literacy Environment with Embedded Strategy Instruction and Vocabulary Support

Proctor, Dalton, and Grisham discuss a 4-week study that used supported digital text to assist ELLs with reading comprehension. They found that embedding features did help promote learners’ use of comprehension strategies.

Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning in Postsecondary Education

In this paper the teaching staff of T-560: Meeting the Challenge of Individual Differences, a course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, discuss their experiences implementing UDL in their course. It also includes specific examples from their class.

Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning

In this article the UDL guidelines are summarized along with the current status of their research and application.

Read an ArticlePlato Revisited: Learning through Listening in the Digital World

Rose and Dalton argue that traditional definitions of literacy are too narrow, and must be expanded to include listening. It concludes with recommendations on how to include listening in the classroom.

Read an ArticlePolicy Foundations of Universal Design for Learning

In this paper, Hehir discusses some of the historical policy foundations of UDL, tracking its development from the 1970’s to NCLB and IDEA. It also discusses some policy considerations and other policies that support UDL.

Read an ArticleCurriculum Planning for All Learners

In this paper, Meo discusses how to integrate Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into the curriculum planning process to include all students from the start. She uses a high school level reading comprehension program as an example.

Read an ArticleReading as Thinking

Dalton and Proctor discuss the variety of supports that could be included in designing a “Universal Literacy Environment” for students “in the margins”. In particular, they focus on how to help build learners’ comprehension.

Read an ArticlePerspectives on UDL and Assessment

Robert Mislevy, a leading expert in educational assessment, technology, and cognitive science, shares his insights on the integration of UDL and assessment.

Read an ArticleUDL Unplugged

This paper examines the question of whether technology is central to the foundations of UDL or whether UDL is useful as a pedagogical framework that goes beyond technology.

Read an ArticleThe Future is in the Margins

This paper suggests that when new technologies in education meet the needs of students “at the margins,” those students for whom present technologies are least effective, all students will benefit.

Read an ArticleGetting from Here to There

This article draws playful and important parallels as it explores the features of the GPS through the lens of the UDL guidelines.

Read an Article 2020's Learning Landscape

Written by David Rose and Ge Vue in 2010, this article imagines the future by “pre-creating” the Presidential Address at the IDA Annual Conference in 2020.

Articles from the Field


Read an ArticleAccess for all: Six principles for principals to consider in implementation CCSS for students with disabilities

In this article published in Principal, a publication of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Dr. Maggie McLaughlin identifies Universal Design for Learning as the best way to meet the needs of students, particularly in regard to implementing the Common Core State Standards for students with disabilities.

Read an ArticleAnalyzing a College Course that Adheres to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework

In this article, Dr. Smith shares the results of a 4-semester case study that explored the reflective practice of one faculty member that applied the UDL framework to the design and delivery of an introductory graduate research methods course. Findings note that goals were more clearly aligned with instructional practices; there was a positive relationship to student interest and engagement; and students were positively engaged in the course. Citation


Read an ArticleCurricular Opportunities in the Digital Age

Gravel and Rose discuss how new digital technologies can be used to design flexible curricula that work for ALL learners.

Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Students

In this issue of the ASHA Leader, a publication of the American Speech-Hearing-Language Association, Dr. Patti Ralabate describes the UDL framework and offers examples using a case scenario approach. Dr. Ralabate is CAST Director of Implementation and a former UDL postdoctoral fellow. Citation

Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning

In this issue of Practice Perspectives, Dr. Elizabeth Hartmann describes the basics of UDL and how it applies to students who are deaf-blind. Dr. Hartmann is a faculty member at Lasell University and a former UDL postdoctoral fellow. The article helps educators, parents, and individuals with deaf-blindness better understand UDL so that they can actively participate in the development of UDL practices to improve education for all students. Citation


Read an ArticleA Comprehensive Approach to RTI: Embedding Universal Design for Learning and Technology

Basham, et. al. discussed the concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Response to Intervention (RTI), and how they can intersect in the classroom. Citation

Read an ArticleThe Design and Application of the Digital Backpack

Basham, Meyer, and Perry discussed the effects of providing students with a "digital backpack". They found that allowing students to use and access multiple technologies was advantageous. Citation

Read an ArticleWould You Recognize Universal Design for Learning If You Saw It?

Edyburn "highlights the nuances associated with translating UDL theory into practice" and offers ten propositions to move the field of UDL forward. Citation

Read an ArticleRecommendations for ESEA Authorization

The National UDL Task Force, comprised of 38 national education and civil rights organizations, strongly recommends inclusion of UDL in the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (formerly No Child Left Behind).

Read an ArticlePutting Universal Design for Learning on the Higher Ed Agenda (Subscription required)

Gradel and Edson talked about how UDL can be integrated into higher-education, and makes some specific recommendations for practice. Citation

Read an ArticleIncorporate Technology into the Modern Language Classroom (Subscription required)

Castleberry and Evers discussed integrating technology into the modern language classroom with the principles of UDL in mind. They made 20 recommendations for what technologies can be used by teachers in the classroom. Citation


Read an ArticleUDL: Policy Challenges and Recommendations

Project Forum of NASDSE convened a working group in late 2008 to examine the state of UDL. This document summarizes their findings. Citation

Read an ArticleUnderstanding How Adolescents with Reading Difficulties Utilize Technology-Based Tools (Subscription required)

This article examines how adolescent students with reading difficulties utilized technology-based tools embedded into a UDL middle school science curriculum. Citation

Read an ArticleSetting the Direction toward System Redesign: Discussion Guide

This discussion guide reveals a burgeoning UDL movement underway in Alberta, Canada. Citation

Read an ArticleA Dance with the Butterflies: A Metamorphosis of Teaching and Learning Through Technology (Subscription required)

McPherson discussed the principles of UDL as applied to the Pre-K-4 science curriculum, and the positive impact it had on student learning. Citation


Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning: Implementation in Six Local Education Agencies

This report, prepared for Project Forum, summarized the implementation of UDL at the school level in six different locations. It included the benefits, challenges, and recommendations for schools that wish to implement UDL. Citation

Read an ArticleAccess to the General Education Curriculum for Preschoolers with Disabilities: Children's School Success (Subscription required)

 Lieber, Horn, Palmer, and Fleming discussed a pre-school curriculum called "Children's School Success" that is based around the principles of UDL. They found that students with disabilities had increased levels of academic and social success when their teachers used this curriculum. Citation

Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning: A Look at What Algebra and Biology Students with and without High Incidence Conditions are Saying (Subscription required)

Kortering, McClannon, and Braziel examined high-school students' perceptions of classes that implement interventions based on the principles of UDL. They reported that students with and without disabilities found classes implementing UDL interventions were more satisfactory, and expressed the desire for additional UDL interventions in the future. Citation

Read an ArticleThe Faculty Perspective on Universal Design for Learning  

Izzo, Murray, and Novak summarized two studies that were completed to evaluate whether or not training teachers in UDL was effective in helping to integrate students with disabilties into the college level classroom. They found that faculty that were trained in UDL felt that were more prepared to flexibly meet the needs of all of their learners. Citation

Read an ArticleNEA Policy Brief: UDL

The National Education Association provides an overview of the UDL framework and ways in which UDL can help teachers better reach and teach all learners. Citation


Read an ArticleEffects of Training in Universal Design for Learning on Lesson Plan Development (Subscription required)

Spooner et al. looked to find out the effects of UDL training on college level instructors. They found that even a brief introduction to UDL helped teachers design a lesson plan that was more accessible to a variety of students in their classrooms. Citation


Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Students

Howard described her attempt to answer the following question: how can I figure out how to make the curriculum accessible to each student? She then discussed her practice in relation to UDL. Citation


Read an ArticleUniversal Design for Learning: Four State Initiatives

This report, prepared for Project Forum, discussed Kentucky, New York, California, and Ohio's efforts to implement UDL in their schools, and the different approaches they took to implementation of UDL into the classroom. Citation

Last Updated: 12/16/2013

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