Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a teaching framework that brings together elements of student-centered, blended and flexible learning to help create active, engaged and creative learners. The principles of the UDL framework call for flexible curriculum options that offer students multiple representations of content, various means of action and expression, and diverse means of engagement.
A learning management system (LMS) can help districts implement UDL principles efficiently by putting their curriculum, instruction management, resources and communication tools all on one platform. This gives students direct access to the content they choose to consume and an efficient means of communication with teachers and peers, therefore promoting self-led learning and creating active and engaged learners.
Here is how an LMS can support the implementation of UDL principles across a district:
UDL Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Representation
Provide Options for Perception
- For students who learn best by lecture, text content can be converted to speech.
- Resources can be presented in a variety of media, including text, audio and video.
- Record demonstrations for students to watch or listen to on their own time.
- Use rich media to represent content, such as embedded graphics, visuals and animations.
Provide Options for Language, Mathematical Expressions and Symbols
- Use a visual editor to display mathematical expressions and symbols in a clear and understandable way.
- Show students how to access language settings and provide captioned video to help make students more comfortable consuming content.
Provide Options for Comprehension
- Before learning even begins, create a pre-reading survey, supply links and context for background information and share essential questions and goals.
- Students can communicate through discussion boards, video and audio messaging.
- Demonstrate how to submit work—whether responses are expected in text alone or integrated with rich media.
UDL Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression
Provide Options for Physical Action
- Discussion boards provide a place for students to communicate and collaborate with one another.
- Support student self-reflection and peer editing by using ePortfolios and blogs.
- Let students create communities around specific topics, ideas, areas of interest or academic clubs to promote collaboration and critical thinking about a wide range of interests.
Provide Options for Expression and Communication
- Use the LMS platform to plan and deliver engaging, standards-based lessons and assignments.
- With communication tools directly in the platform, get feedback from students, parents and teachers.
Provide Options for Executive Functions
- Help students learn how to set appropriate goals and objectives by encouraging them to be a part of planning and managing their own individual learning plans.
- Give students the ability to organize and plan their own events directly through the LMS platform.
- Use reports to help students learn how to evaluate their personal progress.
UDL Principle: Provide Multiple Means of Engagement
Provide Options for Recruiting Interest
- Give students pre-lesson surveys or polls to help connect important curriculum topics to something relevant or interesting to them.
- Allow students to choose projects to work on from a list of approved ideas.
- Give students choices for showing their mastery of a concept.
Provide Options for Sustaining Effort & Persistence
- Help students highlight their goals and learning objectives.
- Provide students with a variety of resources including interactive games, discussion boards, videos, podcasts and text.
- Use rubrics to give students actionable feedback for each of their goals and objectives.
Provide Options for Self-Regulation
- Use individual learning plans for students to create personal goals and track progress.
- Encourage the use of blogs and ePortfolios to self-reflect and watch their work grow and improve over time.
- Give students the opportunity to create personal and peer assessments for additional reflection and feedback.