The UDL Framework and Why You Should Use it for your Learning Solutions



  • Do you have a passion for creating learning that is user friendly? 
  • Do you believe that every learner should have an equal opportunity to acquire the learning objectives of your course? 
  • Lastly, do you create learning experiences with the learner at the heart of your design?

Potentially you answered ‘yes’ to some of these questions. Or, you may be inspired to create learning in this way. If this is the case, we think this blog series will be of great value to you. You will be happy to hear that ‘Universal Design for Learning’ (also known as UDL) achieves each of these things. At Belvista Studios we can’t get enough of it and as an Instructional Designer, HR Manager or L&D guru, you may find that you agree. If you want to design learning solutions that align with your learner’s needs, provide a seamless user experience and can be delivered to a diverse audience, then this learning design concept is for you.

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing our findings from each educational design principle of the framework, ‘Action and Expression’, ‘Engagement’ and ‘Representation’.





See us like your minions, sorting through information and finding you the most valuable parts of the framework. Step 1 is to educate you on what the UDL is, why it’s awesome and how you can confidently speak about the inclusive design framework to your peers, supervisor and clients (bring on the gold star stickers). Don’t worry we will keep it short and sweet, only including the ‘need to know’ information. Life gets busy but this blog should take less than 5 minutes to read and from our standpoint, the investment is worth your time.

Let’s get into it. 

The term ‘universal design’ was devised by architect, product designer, educator and disability advocate, Ron Mace, who wanted to design products that were able to be used by everyone, “regardless of their age, ability, or status in life” (Centre for Universal Design, 2008).

It is very likely that you have encountered universal design in your day-to-day life. Whether it was the option of a lift over stairs, the raised dots on toilet doors for the blind (also known as Braille) or captions on a video. Each of these additions are a result of universal design.



Best eLearning example: A lift, braille and closed captions - all examples of universal design.

Lucky for us as learning professionals, universal design principles have resulted in a UDL framework that enables us to design with concepts of equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusivity front of mind (Future Learn, 2017). As Learning Experience Designers we have stars in our eyes at what this framework enables us to do and we hope you do too.

So why is the UDL awesome?

A valuable and effective experience for each of your learners is important right? We also understand that this isn’t always easily achieved. Creating an experience that is perfectly aligned to the needs of each individual learner is extremely difficult. If you are tasked with designing a learning experience for 1,000 learners, how can you create an experience that aligns with the preferences of each of those individual learners?

As humans we each have different experiences, strengths, skills, interests, needs, wants and desires (Future Learn, 2017). This diversity means that we each need to be valued and recognised for our individuality. Much like accommodating everyone through providing a lift over stairs, the goal of the UDL is to utilise a variety of teaching methods that removes barriers to learning and provides learners with an equal opportunity to succeed (Morin, 2018). If you were tasked with organising an event for 1,000 people, you would consider accessibility through providing ramps, lifts and braille on toilet doors, so why not do the same for your learning solutions?





So, sit back, relax and keep an eye out for the next blog. Value is on it’s way!

If you are curious and want to get ahead of the game or even take this framework research into your own hands, check out the UDL guidelines here (CAST, 2018)

If you would like to discuss the UDL in more detail, contact our passionate founder, Kim Tuohy via kim@belvistastudios.com or through LinkedIn.

                                                                                        References

CAST. (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org

Centre for Universal Design. (2008). About the Center: Ronald L. Mace. Retrieved from 

Future Learn. (2017). Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Retrieved from https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/educational-design/0/steps/26422


You Might Also Like

0 comments

We'd love to hear from you. Send us a message and connect!